Consent is a term which every young person needs to understand, know and be comfortable using.
Teaching the topic of consent will be or is already in your teen’s new ‘Relationship, Sex and Health Education’ UK based curriculum at school, so following up or starting those conversations at home is super important!
There are 4 types of consent =
- Implied Consent – inferred from a person’s actions or inactions (rooted in the facts + circumstances of a particular situation eg: physical contact in a rugby match ?)
- Express Consent – clear and unmistakably stated (in writing, in speech, or a non-verbal clear gesture eg: oral consent or a nod/ thumbs up)
- Informed Consent – often based in the context of social and scientific research and the field of medicine (each person engaging in sexual activity affirms they understand and are aware of the implications of any positive status’ they may expose themselves to eg: exposure to STIs)
- Unanimous Consent – often in the context of a group of several parties consent is given by all parties (eg: agreeing to buy a shared pizza and all split the bill)
In conversations with your teen about consent and in the context of relationships and sexual activity, Affirmative Consent (an enthusiastic YES) is when both parties agree and the 3 pillars often included in the description of affirmative sexual constant are =
1. Knowing exactly what and how much your teen is agreeing to
2. Expressing their intent to participate
3. Deciding freely and voluntarily to participate
Crucially, obtaining affirmative consent is the seeking of an explicit ‘Yes’ rather than waiting for a partner to say ‘No’. When we teach our young men and women to understand and feel confident sharing their consent and normalise the conversation with our teenagers for consent over their personal space and body, we are moving towards true equality and respect.
Consent = Active Listening = Respect.