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Sexual consent refers to a person’s agreement to engage in sexual behavior. Sexual consent is both a legal and a social construct although much of the debate tends to focus on the legal age of consent for sexual behavior. Sexual consent is, and has been for centuries, strongly connected to age. This is because in many countries children cannot legally consent to a range of activities deemed to be the preserve of adults, including signing contracts, taking responsibility for committing crimes, undertaking paid employment, and engaging in sex. This has a long tradition in Western European countries, in particular, where children (and at different times in history other groups such as women and Black people) were seen to lack the reason and judgement to engage ...

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