Sex and consent are complicated – it’s not as easy as yes and no. We communicate in lots of different ways often without talking or words – especially when it comes to sex!

Just because you feel or want something doesn’t mean the other person feels or wants the same. Sometimes we change our mind after something has already begun.

What do you want? What do they want?

Spend some time thinking about what you want when it comes to sex- what will make you feel comfortable and safe? How can you communicate what you want both with words and without words? What do you need to tell your sexual partner(s) so they know what your boundaries are?

You should also spend time making sure you know what they want.

  • When could you have asked what the other person wanted?
  • How could you ask?
  • When could you have checked that they were okay?
  • How could you check?

It was the first time I ever had sex and the guy knew I didn’t want to have sex, but I was really drunk…I was going to be a virgin until I was married and he knew that, and we were both fooling around and stuff and I had never really done anything like that before and then all of a sudden all this crazy stuff was happening and I had no idea what it was because I had never done it before but he knew. But I never reported it or anything because it was like we were doing stuff and it was okay but I think that’s the way, it definitely was not consensual, like I did not want to have sex with him and he knew, but I also didn’t stop because I didn’t know what I was stopping or what I wasn’t stopping so it was a really tricky situation.

From Sex, Power and Consent by Anastasia Powell (2010).

I started seeing this guy and he knew I hadn’t had sex before and I wanted to wait, you know, I wanted it to be special and everything. And in the end he got me very, very drunk, I can hardly remember it and I didn’t feel like, like it obviously was kind of partially consensual but I felt yeah, I don’t know whether you’d classify it as rape or anything but I was, I can only remember just before and then remember seeing him on top of me and then after it was over, I panicked because I realized he hadn’t used contraception but he should have.

From Sex, Power and Consent by Anastasia Powell (2010).

Remember that sex should ALWAYS be consensual. If you need help, you can contact Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.