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How to Explain Sexual Consent to Students

[This is part of our Let’s Talk About Sex Series] One big issue when it comes to teenagers and sex is the issue of consent. For both guys and girls, the definition of consent is unclear. As I wrote about before when I talked about affirmative consent, it’s important to make crystal clear what consent looks like.

As youth pastors, most of us will want out students to abstain from having sex before marriage. However, sticking our heads in the sand and pretending none of them will become sexually active before marrying is a dumb strategy. Yes, I believe in teaching God’s design for relationships, marriage, and sex. I believe in stressing the importance of purity. But I also believe in an open and practical education when it comes to this topic. And consent is at the top of the list as far as I’m concerned because it’s such a crucial topic for both boys and girls. 

Guys need to know they need to ask for consent—every single time. Girls need to know they have the right to refuse consent—every single time. Both need to understand that no consent means no sex. And both need to understand that when there is no consent, but the sex is still enforced, this constitutes rape.

This video explains consent in a simple, yet powerful way by comparing it to…offering someone a cup of tea.

Here’s what so powerful about this analogy between discussing sexual consent and making tea: it works. Sentences like ‘an unconscious person can’t drink tea’, the concept of trying to force someone to drink tea and the idea of someone wanting tea last week but not wanting it now—they immediately make clear how forced some arguments are when to comes to sexual consent.

Depending on your context, you could watch this video with older students or use the analogy yourself to discuss consent.

Do your students know what sexual consent looks like? Would this analogy help, you think?


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