Consent: what the law says

In law, consent means giving your agreement or ‘saying yes’ to something, in this case sex. The law says that consent is something active. It means freely choosing to say ‘yes’. If you don’t agree, then you don’t give your consent. If someone is threatened, frightened, coerced, asleep or has taken alcohol or drugs to such a degree that they can’t make their own decisions, then they can’t give consent freely.

In law, we all have a responsibility to make sure our sexual partners are agreeing to have sex. Sometimes we’re not sure if the other person is saying ‘yes’ or we misunderstand each other, misread the signs or feel awkward about dealing with consent in the heat of the moment. If we’re taking drugs, then it can be difficult to make good judgements yourself, never mind work out if someone else is able to. The law says that we are responsible for making sure our sexual partners consent to sex freely.

If you’re not capable of making a decision because of what you’ve taken or you’re not sure if the other person is capable, then don’t. Wait until you both feel able to agree. Otherwise you could be committing an offence and hurting someone else.