58% of students believe there should be sexual consent tests at UK universities

Students at uni
(Image credit: Getty Images/EyeEm)

A new survey has indicated that a majority - 58% - of students in the UK believe undertaking a test on sexual consent would be beneficial.

The findings, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, found that over half of students agree that testing all university attendees understanding basic sexual consent is a good idea.

The test would aim to prove whether they 'fully understand' the definition of consent.

This comes as more allegations are being made about students experiencing sexual harassment and abuse on university campuses across the UK.

The findings, which surveyed 1,000 students, further indicated that only 25% felt their schooling prior to university had not fully prepared them with a 'comprehensive understanding of sexual consent.'

The researchers behind the survey says that the findings indicate a 'less hedonistic than is sometimes supposed.'

43% of those students surveyed had not had sex prior to attending university, and 25% shared that they'd never been 'intimately kissed' before.

Interestingly, 66% of male students shared that they hadn't had sex during their student years. This was compared to 53% of the female respondents who said they hadn't either.

A further 11% indicated in the survey that they 'voluntarily abstain from sex'.

On the relationships front, roughly a third said they hadn't themselves been in an 'intimate relationship' or 'kissed someone on a night out' during their time at university.

The aim of the survey was to try and gather some strong evidence on the current sex lives of university students. The researchers behind the findings said that some claims about student's sex lives were often 'more salacious than illuminating,' and highlight the importance of the sex-driven student 'caricature' must be 'redrawn'.

Nick Hillman, the institute's director, said: "The findings could help students navigate what is a key transition point in their lives".

"By telling students about the experiences of their peers, we hope the results will make it easier for them to make informed decisions about their own lives."

What do you reckon - does more need to be done to educate students about sexual consent, and could more be done to break down the stereotype of a student?

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.