Age of consent

An article to clear up some common misconceptions about what is allowed with regards to the age of consenting to sex:

In England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you must be 16 or older to have heterosexual (straight) or homosexual (gay) sex (intercourse, mutual masturbation, oral sex).

The law according to the Sexual Offences Act 2003:

  • If you are 16 or older and have sex with a minor (someone under the age of 16) you could be convicted of a sexual assault.
  • If you are both under age, it is unlikely that any prosecution will occur but it is still considered illegal as you are unable to give informed consent.
  • If a person under the age of 18 has sex with a person in a position of trust (e.g. a teacher or doctor) this is a criminal offence, despite being old enough to give consent.
  • Even if a person under 16 agreed to sex, this is irrelevant as they are unable to give informed consent at this age.
  • Any sexual intercourse with a child aged 12 or under is rape.

If guilty of a sexual assault the sentencing can be years in prison.

Remember - just because you are 16 or over does not necessarily mean you are ready to have sex. Do what you believe is right.

The law is there to protect children from abuse who cannot give informed consent to their actions.