As your body develops and grows, you’ll start to think more and more about sex. When you have sexual feelings for someone, thinking about them or being around them can make you feel sexually excited (turned on, aroused or horny).
These feelings are all part of growing up! So how do you deal with them?
You want to have sex, but are you old enough?
You might feel sexual about someone and your body will feel ready for sex, but your mind and emotions may not be ready. Sex comes with many grown-up responsibilities, like possibly becoming a parent or dealing with sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you are legally underage (usually under 16), it’s illegal to have sex. This law is there to protect you - it is called the age of consent to sex.
Is it right time, with the right person now?
- This is a critical question for you to think about before getting involved in a sexual relationship. Why this person? Why now?
- Is someone pressuring you to have sex? Do you feel comfortable with this person?
- Do you feel like you can say no or change your mind at any time?
- Do you think it’s better to wait until you are more mature and able to deal with relationship issues or possible feelings of regret?
- Are you pressuring someone else?
- Are you old enough?
- Do you know how to use condoms and other contraceptives to avoid pregnancy or infections?
You like them, but are you under pressure?
Having sex with someone is not the only way to show that you love them. When you’re old enough to have sex, it is still your right to decide if you want to or not. There are many other steps to dating or getting to know someone that should come before sex, like kissing and holding hands, sharing secrets and enjoying each other’s company. You may also feel pressure from your friends who tell you that they’re having sex (even if they aren’t!). It can be tough to stand your ground, but it’s important to care for yourself first.
Sex is the last step in the dating game, not the first! Delay it until you are sure you feel ready. Once you are sure, get yourself protected and safe. Talk to a doctor, nurse or counsellor about using condoms and other contraception to protect yourself against pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections.