What is consent? Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, Consent to sexual activity refers to the agree by choice and having both freedom and capacity to make that choice. Sexual consent can be granted to one activity but not to another and can be withdrawn altogether at any time. Why consent is important? Consent is a large contributor to maintaining a healthy sex life. Sex should always be agreed on and enjoyable for those involved. Unwanted sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault and can have devastating implications on a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Communication and Consent Open conversations between you and your sexual partner are very important to maintain healthy sexual relationships for all involved. These conversations ensure that all parties are comfortable with what is going on and are happy to proceed. Communication, honesty and respect for your sexual partner can positively impact your sexual relationships and make them better. Obtaining your partners permission before engaging in any sexual activities shows your respect for them and your relationship. When instigating a conversation, ensure you are both at a location you are comfortable in, and the person is ready for the type of conversation. It’s important to voice any concerns and be clear with what you are / are not comfortable with, and your partner should be understanding of your decisions. Just because someone doesn’t say ‘no’, it does not mean that consent has been given. If your partner is visually uncomfortable or not in sound state to give consent, then you should not continue with the activity. Even if consent is initially given, your partner also as the right to change their mind at any given point. Pressuring or attempting to convince your partner is also not consent.