Many teens wonder ~ “What is sex?”

It is such an important question! Although there are general definitions of what sex is, we definitely think that each person should take time to think about what sex means to them.

So what is sex? Sex can be vaginal (penis-in-vagina), oral, anal, and manual (using hands or fingers). Sex can also happen between people of the same or different genders or sexes. It also doesn’t take two to tango; you can have sex by yourself (masturbation), or with multiple people.  Each person will most likely have a different view on sex  depending on their likes, dislikes, readiness, and levels of trust.

What is most important about sex is that everyone involved consents to activities that are enjoyable for all.

What is consent?

Consent is giving your permission to engage in sexual activity before that activity occurs. Consent should be expressed clearly and soberly between people. It should be willing, free of force, and made without pressure, guilt, or coercion.

How do you know if you have consent from your partner? It’s simple: just ask! People who consent will do so voluntarily and enthusiastically.

How do you know if someone is not consenting? People may express this by silence, saying “I don’t know” or even “I’m scared.” Consent should never be assumed, even if you’re in a relationship, have already engaged in that sexual activity with someone, or if a person changes their mind during sexual activity.

Alcohol and drugs majorly affect people’s ability to consent, too. If someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they are unable to give their consent because they are not sober, and it should go without saying that someone who has passed out or is sleeping cannot give consent.

Age matters, too! Depending on the state you live in, the type of sexual activity, and the age of your partner, the age of consent varies, but is often around 16. If people are younger than that age, then they considered too young to be able to consent.

Regardless of what age, gender, or other circumstance a person is in, no always means no.

What is coercion?

Coercion is forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do by using intimidation, threats, harassment, force, or drugs or alcohol. Someone who has been coerced into agreeing to sexual activity is not truly consenting. For more information about coercion and consent, go to:


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