Sex: Definitions


The word rape is often associated with a violent assault by a stranger. Although this does happen, the majority of rape and sexual assault happens where two people know and trust each other, they could be friends, partners, family members or know each other from school, college or work.

Anyone who has been pressured to have sex without giving their consent has been raped.

Rape is sex without consent. It does not make a difference whether the people know each other or not, or what relationship they have.

Click here to view what young men think about rape.

1 in 3 teenage girls in an intimate relationship has experienced sexual violence from a partner

Sexual Assault

Any other form of physical closeness that happens without consent is known as sexual assault.

Sexual assault can include; unwanted touching, forcing oral sex, watching other people having sex, ‘sexting' - texting sexual images, forcing involvement in watching or making pornography or sexual bullying.

Sexual Bullying

Sexual bullying is one person or a group of people doing or saying things to pressure another person in to having sex or being physical close when they don't want to. Sexual bullying can include:

  • Making fun of them for not wanting to have sex
  • Manipulating their emotions, for example saying ‘If you loved me you would...'
  • Giving them false hope about your relationship, for example saying ‘We'll definitely see each other again', when you know you won't.

To find out more about rape, sexual assault and sexual bullying click here to play the Consent and Consequences game