What is sex?
Many people think of sex as penetrative intercourse (putting a penis into another person’s body), while others see sex as any kind of consensual physical intimacy. “Sex” means different things to different people depending on their experiences, culture, values and beliefs. As people’s ideas on sex can differ, it is really important to be able to talk about it with your partner.
What do you both think and feel about sex?
What do both of you want?
What don’t both of you want?
When you have both decided what you can both be happy and comfortable with, the next step is talk about how you will keep each other SAFE.
The law in Tasmania and Australia says that sexual intercourse or any sexual touching/activities must always be consensual – that the people involved must consent or freely agree.
Consent is when the people involved in the sexual activity say ‘yes’. To be able to give consent (agree), you or your partner should:
- Be of the legal age (17 in Tasmania).
- Understand exactly what they are saying yes to.
- Be sober – if a person’s ability to make rational decisions is affected by drugs or alcohol nobody is allowed to have sex with them.
- Be conscious and awake.
A person has the right to change their mind about an activity at any time and their partner must respect that decision!
- The age of consent in Tasmania is 17. This means that if you are under the age of 17, no one is allowed to have sex with you.
- If you are over 17, you can have sex with another person who is over 17, just as long as you both agree to have sex. It doesn’t matter if the other person is the same sex or the opposite sex.
- Consent is a defence if the younger person was between 15 and 17 years old and the difference in age was not more than 5 years; or the younger person was between 12 and 15 years old and the difference in age was not more than 3 years.
- It is also a defence if the older person reasonably believed that the younger person was 17 or older.
The key to getting consent is good communication with your partner. The only way you can be sure you have consent is if someone tells you. Sometimes people may look like they are enjoying things but might be really unhappy on the inside. Negotiating consent can sometimes be tricky in the heat of the moment, but using simple questions to check in with your partner can sometimes be the easiest way about it.
Asking things like:
- Are you happy with this?
- Would you like to do/try this?
- Do you want to stop?
…can help you work out if your partner is enjoying themself. If your partner says no or you are unsure, then STOP because you do not have clear consent and it could in fact be coercion or sexual assault.
The best sex happens when both partners are into it!
- People can’t have sex together if one of them doesn’t want to (they do not give consent).
- People can’t have sex together if they are in the same family.
- People can’t have sex together if one of them is too young.
- People can’t have sex together if they are not in a private place.
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