UK University Students’ Perceptions and Negotiations of Sexual Consent

Liam Wignall, Jade Stirling, Ryan Scoats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
224 Downloads (Pure)


There is a growing recognition of the importance of trying to understand how sexual consent is understood and negotiated, yet research in this area is still developing. In particular, there is a need to better understand how young adults, a group significantly more likely to be victims of sexual assault, negotiate sexual consent across a range of cultural settings. Utilising semi-structured interviews, this research explores 20 British University students’ perspectives and behaviours regarding sexual consent. Through thematic analysis, three key themes were identified: consent is often assumed in sexual settings; consent is understood to be important, but often taboo to discuss; and consent can be negotiated in complex ways. These findings highlight the importance of understanding the realities of how consent is being enacted and understood and have implications for campaigns which aim to reduce instances of sexual assault on campus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-486
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
Issue number3
Early online date2 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychology and Sexuality on 02/12/2020, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • sexual consent
  • sex education
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual Behavior
  • casual sex
  • hook-ups
  • Hook-ups
  • Consent
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Consent
  • Casual Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Gender Studies
  • Applied Psychology


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