Embracing Consent for a Healthier World
September 4th, 2023 is World Sexual Health Day (WSHD). This day is a pivotal celebration, marking another stride in the ongoing mission of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) to create a world where sexual health thrives for everyone. The focal point of this year's event is "Consent," a theme that transcends boundaries and resonates with people of all backgrounds.
The Essence of Consent
At its core, consent serves as the cornerstone of any empowering sexual experience. It goes beyond mere acquiescence; it's about honoring each individual's autonomy and their choices within their intimate lives, irrespective of race, physical ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
So, what exactly is consent? In essence, consent is permission. It's the unequivocal agreement that must precede any intimate physical contact. It emphasizes that all parties involved must willingly and enthusiastically agree to engage in any sexual activity.
However, consent isn't confined to the realm of sexual encounters alone. It extends to various facets of life. Consent is essential for actions as seemingly simple as a kiss, a hug, sharing food, or touching any part of another person's body. It even applies to more complex situations, like exposing one's genitals or taking and sharing sexual photos or videos.
The FRIES Acronym
A memorable way to grasp the multifaceted nature of consent is by using the acronym FRIES:
- Freely and Willingly: Consent cannot exist in an atmosphere of coercion, manipulation, or when influenced by drugs or alcohol.
- Reversible: It's crucial to understand that consent can be revoked at any moment. No matter the circumstances, individuals always have the right to change their minds, even in the midst of a sexual encounter.
- Informed: Full consent can only be granted when all parties involved possess complete information about what's to come. For example, if someone agrees to the use of a condom and it's not used, true consent isn't given.
- Enthusiastic: Consent should be wholehearted, rooted in genuine desire rather than obligation. It distinguishes between an average sexual encounter and one that is met with wholehearted enthusiasm.
- Specific: Clarity is key when asking for consent. Agreeing to one aspect of intimacy, such as kissing, doesn't imply consent for more advanced sexual acts. Specificity ensures that all parties are on the same page regarding their boundaries.
A Lifetime Commitment to Consent
Whether they’re 1 or 101, all people deserve bodily autonomy. Start talking about consent with young children and always keep it in mind. Consent is important at any age.
Events on World Sexual Health Day September 4th, 2023
WSHD Webinar Hosted by the WHO
We're delighted to announce that the World Health Organization (WHO) is organising a special webinar in recognition of World Sexual Health Day. WAS President, Elna Rudolph has been invited to open the event. This is a true acknowledgement of WAS community's unwavering commitment and tireless efforts in advancing sexual health education around the world. French and Spanish translations will be available.
September 4th from 4 pm to 5.15 pm Istanbul.
Find your local time here.
WAS WSHD Webinar on 4th September
Join us on World Sexual Health Day for a special free webinar on Consent.
The session will include:
* Opening and welcome by Elna Rudolph in her capacity as President of WAS
* Introduction by WAS 2023 Congress President Mehmet Sungur.
* Presentation on Consent by Terry Humphreys, Vice Chair of the WAS Scientific Committee.
* Panel discussion featuring AC members.
4th September at 7.30 pm Istanbul
Find your local time here.