A Shocking Number Of People Admit To Being Sexually Coerced. What Happened To Consent?

It's not just about a yes or no.

Earlier this year, concerns were raised that a lack of sex education leaves young people at risk of exploitation with Ofsted stating that instead of just learning about the ‘mechanics’ of reproduction, students should be taught about pornography, relationships, sexuality and staying safe.

Now, new research from Lovehoney backs this up with quite depressing statistics including that a third of men don’t put their sex education down to school or lived experience but instead, porn and that qpeople in the UK rate their overall sex education at around 4.8/10.

29% of people have performed a sex act that they felt uncomfortable with

Perhaps most alarmingly, almost a third of people have performed or received a sex act that they weren’t comfortable with, with 35% of women saying this and 22% of men. When you combine that with the 40% of people overall that have tried to imitate what they’ve seen in porn, it paints an alarming picture.

Sex and relationships expert Annabelle Knight says that these stats hammer home just how little we know about consent. While we’re taught that consent is a simple yes or no question, it actually goes much deeper than that and enthusiastic consent is essential, “you should never feel uncomfortable during sex without feeling able to say anything”.

Over a quarter of people wanted to say something during an uncomfortable sex act at the time but didn’t feel able to do so.

People mostly stated that they learned about sex from school and TV but both of these only scored 20% each, and even less in older people.

Additionally, 17% of young people between the ages of 18-24 learned about consent on TiTtok.

Ofsted’s statement earlier this year rings entirely true in light of all of this. 40% of the Lovehoney respondents said that during sex education classes they learned about sexual health but topics such as pleasure were only reported by 6% of the respondents.

Speaking on these findings, Knight said, “It’s not just the fact that this country’s sex education is bad that’s worrying, but it’s also where people are going to fill the gaps in their knowledge.

“That so many people are turning to the often unrealistic and sometimes dangerous world of porn to learn about sex, or to unverified accounts on TikTok is extremely worrying.”

Now, in 2023, teenagers have said enough is enough, with new data showing that a massive 87% of Gen Zs (someone who was born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s) want better and more inclusive sex education.

A recent survey of 1,600 UK Gen Zs by the top-rated student discount app, Student Beans, found that 39% did not feel represented in the sex education they received.

Government social research previously found there are clear benefits of correct and inclusive sex education amongst young people – it’s time we up the game again.