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  • Sophie Manning

What I wish I’d known at 16… about power, consent & daring sex – by Meg, age 24

Updated: Jan 2

We asked Meg: “What do you wish you’d known about sex and relationships when you were 16?” The answer made our hearts go out to her…


I wish I’d had a more concrete understanding of consent. I wish I’d known it’s never the victim’s fault. I really wish I’d known that manipulating someone into sex can be just as harmful as physically forcing someone to do it, and it’s OK to respond seriously to that kind of behaviour. You can dump someone for not respecting your boundaries. I wish my friends had known that too.


I’d tell my 16-year-old self that it’s normal to spend time worrying about things when you are young but the older you get the smaller those worries become.

This might be controversial but I’d tell her to take a proper look around because the daring, mischievous, liberated, downright scandalous sex life she was so desperately craving was actually already unfolding. The power to be having the sex I wanted was already with me. I was in control.

I’d tell her there will be periods of her life where she would love and connect with her body. But it’s probably a good thing she’s learning how to put up with it when she despises it – this is a skill she’ll have to use from time to time, possibly for the rest of her life.

I wish I’d been told that sex was important and something to be celebrated. I wish someone had explained to me that words like slut and whore were made to oppress women’s sexual, bodily and financial freedom.


I wish I’d had spaces to talk freely with other people who weren’t afraid to talk freely, and I wish I’d been taught not to judge and given spaces where people didn’t judge me.

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