What is Consent?
Consent means agreeing with the other person that you both want to engage in sexual activity together. There are many ways to give consent, and some of those are discussed below.
The video on the right explains consent in an easy to understand way.
Consent is about communication and it must happen every single time you engage in sexual activity.
Keep communicating throughout
- If you agree to hold someones hand that doesn't give them permission to kiss you.
- If you kiss someone doesn’t give them permission to remove your clothes.
- Having sex with or kissing someone once doesn’t give that person permission to have sex with you or kiss you again in the future.
It's OK to stop and change your mind at any time.
- You or your partner can withdraw consent at any point if you or they feel uncomfortable.
- It’s important to clearly communicate to your partner that you are no longer comfortable with this activity and wish to stop.
- Likewise if you notice that your partner looks unhappy or uncomfortable it is important to stop what you are doing and check that they want to carry on. The best way to ensure both parties are comfortable with any sexual activity is to talk about it.
Remember that carrying on if your partner wants to stop is a crime.
Ask when you change the type or degree of sexual activity “Is this OK?” and don't pressure the other person to be OK with it. If they don't want to continue STOP! and reassure your partner that that is fine to stop. Don't put them under pressure to continue.
- Someone being under the legal age of consent, which is 16 in the UK cannot give consent. For more infromation you can visit
- Someone being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol cannot give consent
- Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation is always wrong
- Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because you’ve done it in the past is always wrong
If you have experienced sexual assault, you’re not alone and you can speak with someone who is trained to help you. You can contact Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling service for support.
Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service
Free specialist counselling service for anyone over the age of 11 who has experienced an unwanted sexual experience at any time in their lives. Counselling is available to those aged over 11 who are residents of Portsmouth.
You can refer yourself by telephoning/emailing PARCS. If you would like someone to refer on your behalf, this could be a friend, relative, GP, other health worker or support agency.
Telephone - 02392 669513
Young Persons Service - 023 9266 9519