Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Dating and Consent

Read this article in Simplified Chinese

Uni can be a great place to meet people – including people you want to hook up with! Whether you’re dating or meeting up with people for casual sex, it’s important that you understand consent.

Consent is agreement

Consent is when someone agrees to do something sexual with you, such as touching, kissing or having sex. Before beginning any contact with anybody, you need to be totally clear that everyone involved wants to do it.

How do you know if someone wants to do something sexual with you? You ask! Consent doesn’t have to be awkward or hard – in fact, asking first shows respect and allows everybody to feel empowered.

Find ways to ask for consent that feel good to you. Some popular examples include:

  • ‘Is this ok?’
  • ‘Can I kiss/touch/etc. you?’
  • ‘Would you like me to kiss/touch/etc. you?’
  • ‘Do you want to kiss/touch/etc. me?’

Consent must be a continuous process of checking, asking, reading body signals and paying attention to others. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Even if you say yes to something, you can still say no minutes later. You can change your mind and anyone can stop at any time. And just because someone slept with you in the past, doesn’t mean you have their consent for future sex.

Consent must be specific. A ‘yes’ to kissing is not also a ‘yes’ to touching. Consenting to oral sex is not consenting to penetrative sex. You can say yes to some kinds of touching/sex acts and not others.

A ‘maybe is not a yes’. Feeling confused or coerced, being silent, turning a head away, lying completely still, or being threatened or intoxicated means consent is NOT being given. And in NSW, someone who is under 16 years old is legally incapable of giving consent. While consent is not always spoken, it is very important to never assume it is being given. Stop and check in, read body signals, and slow down.

Using dating apps

Dating apps and sites can be a fun way to meet people and allow you to search for potential dates and hook-ups, or screen out people you aren’t interested in.

If you’re going to meet up with someone for sex for the first time here are a few safety tips:

  • Meet in a public location first.
  • If you’re meeting at someone’s home, get their address in advance and give it to a friend and ask your friend to check in on you after a certain amount of time.
  • Discuss safe sex practices before you meet and always carry your own safe sex supplies.
  • Bring your own water bottle and don’t accept drinks.
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged and on you.
  • If you’re sending explicit images of yourself, crop your face out of any images that show breasts or genitals; and relock your private album frequently.

And remember to always practice consent!

In Australia, some people date more than one person at the same time. If you’re dating or sleeping with someone, make sure to discuss whether your relationship is exclusive (your partner is only dating you) or not.

Useful resources

University Health Service:
(02) 9351 3484

SUPRA Queer Officer:

SUPRA International Officer:

SUPRA Women’s Officer:

Royal Prince Alfred Sexual Assault Service:
(02) 9515 9040 (24 hours)

NSW Rape Crisis Centre:
1800 424 017 (24 hours)


This information is current as at December 2019 and where it includes legal information is intended as a guide to the law as it applies to people who live in or are affected by the law as it applies in NSW. It does not constitute legal advice.

Need help?

Our  casework and legal services are here for you.

Postgraduate Advocacy Service

Our caseworkers can help with any problems you face while you study at Usyd, from academic appeals to renting.

SUPRA Legal Service

Our solicitors can assist with a wide range of legal issues, including visas, migration law and intellectual property.