Check out this insightful and ever so slightly amusing clip on Consent with Tea. You wont regret it we promise! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZwvrxVavnQ
The legal age for consent to sexual activity of any form is 16 in the UK. This meaning that having sexual relations with anyone under the age of 16 is an offence, however the law here is designed to protect children from unwanted sex and therefore will not prosecute teenagers of similar age who are in mutual agreement about what they are doing. There is more likely to be an issue if the age gap between two people is greater due to power imbalance that often couples with age differences.
Whilst anybody over the age of 16 can legally have sex, it is not legal for someone over the age of 18 to have any sexual relations with someone under 18 if they hold a position for trust, such as being a teacher, carer or social worker to the under 18 year old.
The law puts some additional protection in place for those over 16 but under 18. This being that it is illegal to take, show or distribute indecent photographs of a child (this is often called sexting) even if they are photos of yourself.
The underlying message we want to encourage here is to enter a sexual relationship only once you have given thought to it and know that you feel it is the right thing for you! You should never feel pressured to start or continue in a sexual relationship and you always have the choice – nobody else is entitled to make that decision for you.
If you are in a sexual relationship, make sure you do it safely! Whether you are over 16 or not, use contraception and look after your sexual health. Come in to Youth in Romsey to get free condoms, pregnancy or Chlamydia tests during our open hours, or to one of our sexual health clinics for other forms of contraception and full sexual health screening. We keep everything fully confidential and are here to support you - not to get anyone in trouble.
Hopefully this has clarified what can be a confusing bundle of information about sex, consent, age and the law surrounding all of it! If you have any questions about it, get in contact with us – we’d love to hear from you and help answer and queries.