Self-determined sexuality

Sexuality is important for (almost) everyone. Most people would like to be physically close to someone. How and with whom they want to do this is very different and can also change depending on the phase of their life and what needs they have. Sexuality is not just sexual intercourse, it also includes kissing, caressing, cuddling, petting and masturbation.

There are rights related to sexuality. From the age of 14, girls and boys in Germany can choose their own sexuality. For example, girls and boys can have sex with each other, but also girls with girls, or boys with boys. The prerequisite for this is that both want to have sex with each other (there is consent) and no one is pushed or forced to do so. Consent is overall the most important thing when it comes to sex – regardless of what age you are! No one can be forced into sex or performing sexual acts. In Germany, young people also have the right to education and comprehensive information regarding sexuality.

Sex with children under the age of 14 is prohibited by law. This is not intended to prevent affection and friendships among children, but to protect children from sexual assault or sexual exploitation. For the same reason, the law also prohibits sexual acts up to the age of 18 in certain cases, for example, between minors and their teachers or trainers, because there is a dependence between them.

Nobody is allowed to control your body. Your body is yours alone. You alone decide who may or may not touch you. This also applies within your family and among friends. Anyone who urges or forces you to engage in sexual acts without your consent is committing sexualized violence, making themselves punishable. If something like this happens to you, fight back. You are allowed to be unfriendly in such a situation. Talk to someone that you trust about what happened. Seek help. Perpetrators often try to get you to keep it a secret. Is something makes you feel back, you should never keep it a secret – you should always tell someone. If something like this happens to you, there is no reason to be ashamed. It’s never your fault. It’s the perpetrator’s fault.

This does not only apply to physical touching and sexual acts. Even suggestive looks or remarks can make you feel bad and violate your boundaries. This is especially true if someone wants to have nude photos of you, or take nude photos of films of you. Anything that someone wants to urge or force you to do is punishable – even if someone tries to turn you on with sexual expressions, sends you pornographic images or films, or forces you to watch others having sex. All this also applies when you are on the internet.

It can also happen, that you found someone interesting, wanted to get to know them better, agreed to meet up with them, and even consented to sexual acts – but suddenly the whole thing no longer felt good. “Teen Dating Violence” is the name of the sexual assault that girls experience when they meet up with or date boys. This assault is much more common than most people realize. Regardless of whether you previously agreed to something, you can still say “no” in the middle of it. You have the right to leave or end a relationship at any time.