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So, what is all this talk about consent? Well, it’s EVERYTHING! Most teens who interact with Turning Points Network describe consent as “permission” or offer the terms “no means no” or “yes means yes” as substitutes for what consent might sound like.
In a healthy relationship, it is important to talk with your partner about personal boundaries and discuss what each of you is comfortable with. When it comes to sex or other sexual activity, it’s important to ask for consent, or the “go ahead,” every time. Whether it’s the first time or the twentieth time, it’s always necessary to get consent. It’s never okay to assume consent. Consent isn’t only about spoken words, though; your body language can speak for itself. If your partner says “yes,” but their body language is telling you that they are apprehensive, on edge, uncomfortable, uninterested or scared, then stop and talk about it. If they are still saying yes, but seem uneasy, then STOP. There is no room for coercion, manipulation, or force in healthy relationships or hookups.
In New Hampshire, the legal age of consent is 16 years old. Additionally, the presence of drugs or alcohol can leave a person unable to give consent. Meaning, sexual activity of any kind is not okay if a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Other important things to consider about consent is that a person is allowed to change their mind. A person can stop an activity at any time, even if they previously agreed to it. And, just because someone consented to an activity before, doesn’t mean they have automatically given consent for those activities, or others, in the future. So talk about it! Ask for and give consent each time! Above all, it’s considerate and respectful.