(Content Warning: this blog discusses consent and what does not count as consent)
February is one of my favourite times of the year – no, it’s not my birthday – it’s actually because there’s a whole week in February is devoted to sexual health! As a sexual health educator/enthusiast, Sexual Health Week is a pretty big deal for me. In fact, on the 14th of February we celebrate not only Valentine’s Day, but National Condom Day! BTW it’s no coincidence that those events happen at the same time 😉
So how did YEP celebrate National Condom Day? We threw a party of course! The theme for National Condom Day this year was ‘Got CAKE?’ and so, naturally, we had a nice, tasty cake (and music, and snacks, and condom balloons! see below…)
But what on earth does ‘Got CAKE?’ even mean? We talked about this at the party – side note, thanks heaps to SHQ for coming up with the theme and sending us condoms, stickers and decorations to help celebrate.
CAKE stands for:
Consent may seem very straightforward to a lot of people – is it a yes or a no? But, like a lot of things, the reality is that it’s more complicated and nuanced than that. There are some key factors that are crucial to be aware of before engaging in sexual activities. ‘Got CAKE’ helps with some of those details. Let’s break them down a little bit further.
Ask first: Both partners of legal age actively agree to take part in sexual activities without fear, coercion or intimidation.
- In WA, a person can legally consent to sex once they are 16 years old.
- Consent is something that is actively communicated between partners – the absence of a “No” does not count as a “Yes”.
- Consent cannot be forced, it must be freely given. If someone is pressured, bribed, tricked, or scared into sex or other sexual behaviours, it is not consensual. Period.
Keep safe: Both partners have the right to use condoms and other contraception to protect themselves from sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies.
- Everyone has the right to make informed decisions about their body, how they take care of it, and what they do with it. No one has the right to make these decisions for you.
- Condoms and other barrier protection methods (i.e. dams and internal condoms) are the best way to prevent the transmission of STIs and BBVs. They’re also very effective at preventing pregnancies. But this is only if you use them correctly! See our instruction video here.
- There are plenty of other contraceptive methods that can help prevent unplanned pregnancies, including the pill, the implant, injections, IUDs, or emergency contraception – find out more about these here, or speak to your local doctor to explore your options.
Every time: Both partners have the freedom to choose when and what sexual activities to take part in, and the freedom to change their mind at any time.
- Consenting to sex one time does not mean consenting to sex any other time (even if you’re in a relationship).
- Consenting to one type of sex does not mean you automatically consent to other kinds of sex. If you want to try something different, check in with your partner first if they’re up for it.
- Consenting to sex right now does not mean you’re required to keep going until it’s over – if you don’t want to anymore, you don’t have to anymore – and you don’t need some excuse to explain why.
- It’s your right to give consent and withdraw it any time. Your partner has the same right – respect it!
To wrap up (pun intended!) the festivities of the day, we live streamed our very first Great Condom Race! On one team, our fabulous party guests, and on the other team, our fabulous YACWA staff. The aim of the race is to get through the following steps and put on a condom correctly:
Step 1: Obtain consent (represented by the “Consent Party Hat” passed from one team mate to the next)
Step 2: Check the expiry date and only use a valid condom
Step 3: Safely tear open the packet
Step 4: Check that the condom is the right way around (so that it rolls down from the outside, not the inside)
Step 5: Pinch the tip
Step 6: Roll the condom down all the way to the base
Watch the race here! Congratulations to our guests who came first! And congratulations to the YACWA staff who came second a little bit later (I really can’t help myself at this stage). This was so much fun – I can’t wait ’til next year!
If you need support concerning non-consensual or unwanted sex, you can access services at:
The national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
Phone: 1800 737 732
The Sexual Assault Resource Centre is the emergency sexual assault (rape crisis) service for Perth, Western Australia.
24 Hour Emergency Line: 08 6458 1828
Phone during business hours: 08 6458 1828
Freecall: 1800 199 888
Sexual Health Quarters offers a professional counselling service that specialises in unplanned pregnancy, sexual health and sexual relationships.
Phone: 08 9227 6177