Relationships, delay and consent
Being in a relationship should be exciting, fun and safe. It should be based on respect, trust and good communication. Dating can be part of finding out who you are compatible with, what you want and equally what you don’t want.
Some really important parts of being in a positive relationship is being comfortable with who you are with, being able to trust someone, someone who is loyal, kind and caring. Someone who makes you feel good and who you can be open and honest with.
Nobody can tell us who or why we like or even love, we just feel it and we can't help it. We are emotionally attracted to some people and sometimes physically attracted, sometimes both. We just can't help the way we feel. Most importantly you should feel safe, secure and overall, happy.
Sometimes people get into relationships that end up affecting them negatively. People can make you feel afraid, tease or hit you. Sometimes you feel threatened or get bullied by them. You might be with someone who is angry or aggressive; they might get jealous and stop you seeing your friends and family. They might make you do things you don’t want to do. They might sometimes post horrible things about you online or send private pictures of you to other people.
This is not the positive relationship you deserve. If anything like this is happening to you; remember it's not your fault. Talk to someone that you trust and that cares for you. You deserve better, because this is not right.
You can get help and advice from:
Are you really ready to have sex? In a recent survey into sexual health behaviour, it's suggested the earlier people have sex, the greater likelihood that they regretted it later.
Delaying having sex, is about choice. You should be able to make decisions based on an informed choice and not be pressured into something you are not ready for.
It’s about being empowered and having the right skills and confidence to say what you really want or don’t want. You need to feel that you have made the right choice for you and not just because your friends or partner are pressuring you to do something, or the media is saying you should be doing it.
Consent means; Permission for something to happen or agreeing to do something. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 says that a person consents to something if that person; "agrees by choice and has the freedom to make that choice".
Consent means saying yes to something, provided that you are able to understand what you are agreeing to and can give your consent freely.
You have the right to choose who you will be intimate with and what sexual activities you want to do.
Consent also means that everyone has to agree to have sex before something starts without being pressured to do it by anyone else. If you are drunk, on drugs, feels scared or forced the consent you give or get doesn't count. You can also change your mind at any point if you do not want to continue having sex (so can your partner), by taking back your consent (saying "no" or "stop").
Any sexual contact without consent is illegal. If someone doesn’t give consent and a person still continues with any sexual activity that has not been mutually agreed, this is sexual assault or rape. This includes sexual touching, oral sex, anal and vaginal sex with a penis or with any other object.
You can't consent if you have been forced or threatened, if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you don't have the capacity to give consent. Likewise if you are asleep or unconscious you are unable to give consent.
If you have agreed to have sex, you can change your mind, and say "No" or "Stop". If you have had sex before with someone, this does not automatically mean you have given consent to do it again.