Consent is a vital part of sexual health. Social and personal expectations can contribute towards people feeling pressured to have sex, or engage in an activity they are not entirely comfortable with.

Consent means enthusiastic participation in sexual activity.

Consent cannot be assumed regardless of whether you’re in a relationship, if you’ve been kissing, or no matter who has paid for the date. Checking for consent needs to be an ongoing process, and is the responsibility of both partners. An absence of a “no” doesn’t mean “yes”. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to ask.

A lot of people are worried that checking for consent will be embarassing. But if you think the mood can be ruined if you ask, then it can’t have been that good to start with.

Consent also applies to friendly relationships. For example, you should not have to cope with your friend giving an inappropriate gesture towards you whilst drunk in a night club. Do not hesitate to tell them off, even if it’s only the day after.