Consent. A mine field or just being mindful?

Molly Manning Walker’s assured and accomplished feature film debut HOW TO HAVE SEX might have easily been called How Not to Have Sex.

The film depicts a schoolies week when a group of English schoolgirls head off for a wild time in a resort town on the island of Crete.

Taz (Mia McKenna-Bruce), Skye (Lara Peake) and Em (Enva Lewis) are the real squeal deal in teen girl exuberance and keen to embrace the island’s infamous reputation as a party paradise and the prospect of potential holiday romance: “I can’t die a virgin!” teases Taz.

The trio’s hotel room is next door to a trio of boys, flirting ensues and a fling is in the offing.

Tara takes a shine to Badger, the bleach blonde “hot legend” hollering to Tara’s balcony. But his best friend Paddy, an “absolute nightmare of a guy” according to Badger, a far more predatory male, is the one that makes a play.

What constitutes sexual assault is something that is argued in court houses, no doubt “pub tested” and generally discussed in homes and schools.

HOW TO HAVE SEX opens up the conversation about consent and sexual assault and the misunderstandings and manipulations that manifest around coercive behaviour.

HOW TO HAVE SEX succeeds in depicting the subtlety of the social pressures around sex, drawing a confession from ourselves that all of us are a product of that environment. In navigating new paths in these rites of passage, empathy must go hand in hand with eroticism.

The human sex drive is urgent but it doesn’t have to be brutal. Consent should never be taken for granted. Blokes often complain of confusing signals, but in matters of intimate behaviour, confusion should be cleared up by speech, conversation as foreplay.  How sexy.