WSHD 2023: Consent

World Sexual Health Day is central to and an important celebration of advancing the mission of WAS and creating a world where sexual health is optimized for all.

The 2023 theme for World Sexual Health Day is Consent.

Consent is the cornerstone of any empowering sexual experience. It’s about cherishing everyone’s autonomy and decisions in their intimate lives beyond race, bodily ability, gender or sexual orientation.

Learn more about consent below or download the fact sheet.

What is consent?

Consent is permission. No one can touch another person’s body without permission. All partners must give consent for any sexual activity.

Consent Isn’t Just About Sex

Consent is required before any sexual activity and in many non-sexual scenarios as well. You need consent for things like:

  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Sharing food
  • Touching any body part
  • Exposing your genitals
  • Taking or sharing sexual photos or videos

Understanding Consent: FRIES

A fun way to remember the different parts of consent is the acronym, FRIES.

  • Freely and Willingly: It isn’t consent if there is pressure, manipulation, or influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Reversible: You can change your mind about sex at any time and remove consent. Even if it is your long-term partner, even if you already agreed, even if you’ve done it before, or even if you’re in the middle of sex.
  • Informed: You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
  • Enthusiastic: Sex is about doing things that you want to do, not things you have to do! Enthusiastic can mean the difference between an ‘okay’ or ‘I guess’ vs a ‘absolutely’ or ‘hell yes!’
  • Specific: You must be specific about what you’re asking consent for. For example, saying yes to kissing does not mean someone has consented to penetrative sex. Agreeing to hang out at someone’s apartment doesn’t mean agreeing sex—even if it’s 3:00 am.

A Lifetime of Consent

Whether they’re 1 or 101, all people deserve bodily autonomy. Start talking about consent with young children and always keep it in mind. Consent is important at any age.

Test Your Knowledge

How much do you know about consent? Can you recognize the difference between consent and coercion? Test your knowledge with these short quizzes.