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12 Days of Harm Reduction - Consent

11 Consent

Consent means getting a person's permission to do something to, with or for them, before it happens.

It is also

  • An agreement that lasts only as long as everyone involved wants it to
  • Something that can be withdrawn at any point
  • Requires everyone involved to fully agree every time it happens
  • Involves accepting and respecting a person’s wish not to take part or to stop the activity

Some drugs can increase sexual arousal, lower inhibitions, and make people more likely to take risks. Some people take drugs specifically to heighten or prolong sex ('chemsex'). Chemsex can have risks around consent and also poly-drug use (using more than one drug at a time) so it is extremely important to do your research.

Under UK law, a person does not have capacity to consent to sex while under the influence of drugs including alcohol.

If you choose to use drugs with others and also want to have sex, or there is the possibility of sex, it is vital to put harm reduction measures in place.

  • While sober, fully discuss and confirm if all parties are interested in having sex.
  • Make clear limits - what you will and will not do - and stick to them
  • Make a clear safety plan for what to do if someone feels unwell, sex stops feeling good or feels unsafe.

If you feel something has happened to you that was non-consensual, try to take yourself to a safe place, away from the person or people the incident happened with, and speak to a person you trust about it, or call one of the numbers here, on page 7 or the back page. If you are in danger please call 999, pressing '55' if unable to talk.

You can watch this brilliant video about consent which perfectly explains the issues using the analogy of having a cup of tea.

Also you can download this fantastic Consent resource developed by Edinburgh based charity Crew:

Support is available here in Orkney or nationally:

Rape Crisis Scotland 08088 01 03 02 (6pm-midnight)

Domestic Abuse & Forced Marriage Helpline 0800 027 1234

 FearFree (domestic abuse support for people who identify as a man or from the LGBT+ community) 0131 624 7270

ORSAS – Orkney Rape & Sexual Assault Service 08088010302

Womens Aid Orkney - 01856 877900 

Orkney Alcohol and Drugs Partnership