WITH consent classes becoming mandatory in Victorian schools from next term, a Bendigo sexologist and educators hopes the change sparks a wider conversation around the need for pleasure education.
Dr Linda Kirkman said getting schools to start teaching consent was a great step forward.
"Consent is about building communication skills and assertiveness," she said.
"The deeper understanding of consent and pleasure education is necessary so if young people do agree to a sexual relationship with someone and it does turn painful and doesn't feel right then they know it isn't right and can speak up and stop."
After teaching sexual education to secondary students for over 12 years, Dr Kirkman said it was great to see the state government make consent education mandatory.
She said the teaching consent education could be done in a variety of ways but should cover the fundamentals; do good and no harm, body autonomy, power, fairness and equity.
"There is no one size fits all approach here," she said.
"Doing harm might look like talking about sex negativity and bring shame around sex and sexuality or not presenting it in a trauma informed way."
"Doing good is building up skills and understanding including body autonomy, things like who touches your body.
"If you got a small child and relative wants to kiss and cuddle the small child and the child doesn't want to be touched, to teach the child to have the right to say no, I don't want to be touched. You're teaching them how to say no to somebody who is in a position of power or authority.
"If the relative insists in touching the child against their word then the child learns they have to give into authority."
Dr Kirkman said consent education needed to include pleasure education as it acts as a protective factor for young people.
"The more sexual information and education they have around sexuality, the more likely they are to delay their sexual debut and choose to have sex with who they want," she said.
"Young women who are taught about pleasure, are less likely to be sexually assaulted or have sex they don't want then young women who aren't taught about the importance of sex and pleasure."
Dr Kirkman hoped the proactive discussion around consent education could lead to real social change in the future.
"If you are going to do good sex education, it needs to be directed at the students and include the whole school community," she said.
"This means the teachers, parents and guardians also should be part of understanding those consent and negotiation skills that apply to not only sexual matters but everyday things.
"If everyone is involved than these classes should lead to social change and real change in society."
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