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Consent education is sex ed

Ensuring young people have access to sex education that includes discussion of consent, boundary-setting, and healthy relationships is an important tool in preventing violence. 

As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood helps people learn how to communicate about sex respectfully and confidently, make the best decisions for their lives, and engage in healthy relationships.

Consent is a necessary part of having safe, fun, and healthy sex and relationships. We define consent as the following:

Freely given.  

Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
 
Reversible.  

Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
 
Informed

You can only consent to something if you have all of the information you need. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.

Enthusiastic.

When it comes to sex, you should only do what you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.

Specific.

Saying yes to one thing doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to other things. For example, consenting to make out with someone does not mean you’ve consented to other acts. 

Consent education should start well before young people enter college, and well before they become sexually active.

Planned Parenthood also understands that while some people find catharsis and empowerment through sharing their experiences with sexual violence, others choose not to share their experiences for a variety of reasons. Both are valid choices.

We respect and support survivors’ decisions about whether or not to disclose or report their assault, and offer referrals for resources on sexual assault, including counseling and support groups. Planned Parenthood staff screen for abuse, provide referrals in a safe setting, and are committed to their roles as caring and trusted health care providers.

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