In law, consent means that you agree to or say yes to something. But consenting to sex is more than just agreeing to sexual intercourse. Flirting, kissing and fooling around are all sexual behaviours and you must agree every step of the way.
The law in Zambia says that you can consent to sex when you are 16 years old. This age has been set to protect adolescent girls like you. The law isn't there to make life difficult, but to protect you!
But even when you are over 16 you must still consent to have sex.
You may want to say no because:
- you feel you're not ready
- you feel pressure (from your partner, your friends or yourself
- you have strong beliefs about sex before marriage
- you want to go slow
- you are not sure your partner’s being honest about their HIV and/or STI status
- you’ve changed your mind
Giving in sexually does not mean you love this person, or they love you. That’s why you need to think about it before you agree. If you decide to sleep with someone, then you have to think about all the consequences - like pregnancy, STIs and HIV - and how to prevent them.
Consent means that you make the decision yourself, without pressure from anyone else. If you are not happy and confident in yourself, you may agree to sex when you don’t really want it. Don’t. Know that you are valuable and the person you will get involved with should be someone who thinks to too. Someone like that will wait for you.
You should never feel you have to give consent. To anyone. For any reason. Just because you are 16 it doesn't mean you're ready for sex.
Want some easy ways to say no? Read more below.