At the 16-18 age range it's important to help students move beyond simplified definitions of consent and understand that consent is a skill. It's a complex interpersonal skill that helps ensure everyone is freely agreeing to what is happening with the ultimate aim of creating the most positive interaction possible.
We talk about consent for sex so much because if you get consent wrong in this area of your life the amount of harm you can cause can be substantial. But consent is a skill that is relevant to every personal and professional relationship. Being good at consent means developing a range of skills that can be applied in your friendships, family, professional relationships and sexual encounters.
The skills needed to be good at consent include:
Self reflection - awareness of your own consent and boundaries, awareness of the power you hold in different situations, awareness of contextual factors that can influence your consent skills, an ability to recognise and reflect on moments when you have been poor at consent.
Communication - good listening skills, able to overcome embarrassment or fear of social rejection in order to seek consensual encounters, able to communicate about difference, able communicate about boundary issues, able to communicate about rupture and repair in relationship.
Self development - able to be alive to and respond to rejection healthily, sensitive to difference and able to recognise different perspectives, secure enough to be able to approach situations and people with curiosity rather than a need to control.