Sex Talk

How do I make sure my partner has consented to sex?

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your questions about sexual health

10 March 2019 - 00:00
Before engaging in any sexual activities, it is important to get consent from your partner.
Before engaging in any sexual activities, it is important to get consent from your partner.
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Q: I saw a campaign billboard saying "consent is mandatory". What does this mean?

A: Consent for any sexual contact or act is when people who are involved in that specific sexual act or contact agree to take part in it, whether it is kissing or touching (any part of the body), oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal sex, using body parts and objects such as toys as part of the sexual contact or act.

There are laws about who is able to consent. It needs to be totally clear that people involved want it and consent must be actively asked. The people involved must be of a legal age to do so, be of mental ability to understand and respond.

If you want to do something sexual with someone, you need to ask first. Consent must involve details on condom use and sexual positions. If you don't ask first, then you don't have that person's consent, and what you're doing to them may be rape or sexual assault.

If you want to do something sexual with someone, you need to ask first

It is unlawful to use pressure or threaten someone into saying yes. You can't give consent if you're drunk, on a drug high, or passed out. We should all expect that consent can be denied and people can change their mind even after they say yes.

Even if you are on a date with someone new, or the person has bought you gifts, alcohol or helped you in any way, and even if you're naked in bed, you should not feel pressure to say yes.

Asking for consent is mandatory and matters because it makes it clear that person is in agreement to do the same thing you are.

• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, Disa Clinic, safersex.co.za.

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