1. Can anyone give their consent?


In BodySafe we focus on three times in particular,
where people cannot give their consent.

If they are under 16 years old. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the legal age of consent is 16 years old. The law protects young people from older people who might be trying to take advantage of them. It is not intended to punish young people who are thinking about doing sexual stuff. Both people must be 16 years of age or older to consent to sex. If you are under 16 it is best to wait to have sex.

If they are too drunk or high. People can't consent to sex if they are too drunk or high on drugs. Alcohol and drugs influence the way we communicate and think about sex. If you are unsure if someone is too drunk then it is best to wait until you are both sober. It is always the responsibility of the person initiating sex to make sure you are both sober. 

If they are being forced or threatened. If someone is forced or threatened it means they do not have a choice to have sex. This is not a free agreement together. Physical force is a type of force, but there is also emotional force, coercion, pressure and making someone feel like if they don’t do sexual stuff something bad might happen. 

There are also other times when people
cannot give their consent to do sexual stuff:

  • If someone is asleep or unconscious

  • If someone is so affected by an intellectual, mental or physical condition or impairment that they are unable to communicate their consent or refuse consent.

  • If someone does sexual stuff because they are mistaken about the other person’s identity.

  • If someone does sexual stuff because they are mistaken about what sexual stuff will be happening. For example, if someone gives their consent to vaginal sex but then anal sex happens without their consent.


Remember that this is not all of the times that someone cannot give their consent to do sexual stuff, but this is what the Crimes Act 1961 Section 128A says about consent.