What is consent?

Consent means that you have given permission, and that someone has given you permission to engage in any intimate activity for sex.  Any sexual contact without consent is illegal regardless of the age of the people involved. In the UK, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16.

It doesn’t matter what gender you are, or whether you’re straight, gay or bisexual, if you’re planning to do anything sexual then both of you must give consent.

Consent is an essential part of healthy relationships and it’s really important to know what it is and the many ways to spot it. Both you and the person you’re with always need to consent before sex or any intimate activity.

The Home Office ‘Disrespect Nobody’ campaign provides more advice and information, including sexting, relationship abuse, rape, porn and harassment.


BROOK Charity: Consent


Abusive relationships

It isn’t normal to be in an abusive relationship. Abuse is never okay and if it’s happening to you, you’re not to blame.  Many people do not even realise that they are being abused.

Relationship abuse can include emotional abuse (controlling behaviour), physical abuse (violence) and sexual abuse.

If you are worried that you are being used for sex, being forced to have sex with others, that you feel alone and isolated, or that something in your relationship doesn’t feel right, there is lots of support available.



For support on Domestic Abuse & Violence, please visit our directory of services.



If you decide to use chems (drugs) as part of the sex you are having we have provided some tips for playing as safely as possible.

If you are asleep, unconscious (passed out) or so out of it that you can’t make a decision for yourself then you cannot consent. Whatever anyone does to you while you are in this state is done without your permission and that makes it a crime. The sedative properties of some drugs – especially G – can leave a person incoherent or comatosed and unable to give their sexual consent.



If you are worried, you can talk to a health care professional or a trusted adult in confidence. 



If you are in a pub or club and need to get out of the situation you are in, for example a date not going as planned, go to the bar and ask for Angela. The bar staff will know you need help, call you a taxi or get you out discreetly - without a fuss.