When the right time to have sex is is up to you (though you need to be over 16 for it to be legal). Here’s some stuff to think about so that you are less likely to regret it if you do do it.
Deciding when to have sex* with someone, or having sex for the first time, is a massive decision. Particularly when you are young.
So here is some stuff to think about. Remember, even if you’ve started having sex you can stop if you want to. And yes boys this post DOES apply to you too!
Remember any sexual activity under the age of 16 is illegal. More about that here.
*Sex isn’t just about entry sex. For this article think about sex including any sexual contact.
Most young people enjoyed their early sexual experiences, but some regret it – wished it was better, or wish they did it with someone else, or waited till they were older. These are the reasons why some people regret sex.
They were pressured into it by their partner
The person they had sex with could have threatened them or actually forced them to have sex (rape or sexual assault). For more on that go here
Or they could have harassed them, wore the other person down or said that they would feel differently about them if they did/didn’t have sex with them. This is called coercion.
If you’re in a relationship with someone and you want to do stuff that they don’t (for instance genital sex) it’s really important to be clear about what you want without pushing. It’s ok to ask nicely “I really want to get naked with you.” But it’s not ok to say “I really want to get naked and if you don’t I’ll go out with someone who will.” If you have sexy times with someone who is really up for it they’ll think about it in later years with a big smile on their face.
Often these things aren’t black and white. If you’re being asked to do something and you’re not sure, this is ok. Doesn’t mean you have to make a decision yet. You can take some time to think about it. Get some re-assurance from the person asking. Ask friends. Ask parents.
If you don’t want to have the kind of sex that someone is asking for you can say no. If they really like you they’ll respect that decision and you can talk about the kind of sex that you both do want to have.
If they don’t respect your decision and keep pestering you to do stuff you don’t want to do then ask yourself, do you really want to be in a relationship where the other person is valuing having sex more than you? This is sometimes a sign of an unhealthy relationship
There can also be a pressure to get sexy from friends or ‘peers’ who might suggest to you that they’ve done it. Remember, many young people lie about their sexual experiences to give them status (especially if they’re doing the Big Man/Woman Thing). It’s not a great reason to have sex just so you can say you have.
They were drunk
Sometimes people do stuff they weren’t intending to do when they are pissed. Lots of young people like to get pissed on cheap booze now and again either at house parties (yes the yute do call these raves) or getting pissed down the park. Booze can make people more relaxed which can feel nice, but it can also lead to sexy times that they later regret. There are problems with booze and sex (including spilling it), for more about this go here
It was crap sex
You might have heard some people saying that first time sex is crap so you should just do it and get it over with: this is total total bullshit. Lots of people have rubbish sex (both when they are older or younger) but first time sex can and should be good (or at least not crap): AIM HIGH! For more on how to make first time sex good go here
They did it with someone they didn’t fancy or like or love
If someone was in a relationship with someone when they first started having sexy times they are much less likely to regret it. You know where to click for more on relationships.
They were too young
If someone had sex at a young age (I’m talking 13/14) they were more likely to regret it later on.
Please don’t have sex with someone…
Just to please someone else
To make you popular
To prove your gender or your sexuality
To make someone fall in love with you.
These are all bad reasons to do it.
Be the most exciting thing you will ever do
Make you smile for days
Make all your hairs stand on end
Be really close and nice
Make your skin tingle all over
Give you an orgasm or massive sexual pleasure
You’ve tried doing everything else
It’s usually better to go slowly. So if you’re thinking about first time entry sex have you spent lots of sexy time with each other doing other stuff too?
You are both over 16
The law in the mainland UK is that you can’t do sexy stuff with someone under 16, even if you’re under 16 too. It’s to protect young people from abuse and isn’t intended for people who really want to do it and are in relationships. More here
You could say ‘no’ and that would be ok
Remember what I said about being pressured or coerced? No? Scroll back to the top!
You’re not doing it because you think you should
You’re doing it cos you want to and no other reason.
You’ve got condoms and contraception sorted
You can trust the other person
Can you trust that they aren’t going to deliberately hurt you? Do you believe what they say?
You are really horny
The thought of sexy time might make you feel really nervous and worried but you want to do it because the idea of it is making you really really turned on.
Talk to the Hand saying no to stuff you don’t want to do right now
Doing Stuff if you aren’t ready for ‘entry sex’ but might wanna try dry humping
Sex and the Law even if you are ready, you might not be the legal age…
‘Sex blogger’ Sex At Oxbridge wrote the following about her checklist for having first time sex, which I think is great.
Do you think you need to be in a relationship to lose your virginity? Or if you want to have sex, should you just go for it with someone you find attractive?
What I did was set some standards and stuck to them. Mine were to be in a relationship and to be sober. Although I’ve enjoyed some drunk one night stands, it would have been a less than ideal way to lose my virginity I feel.
I saw a poster once that said “Sex can wait: masturbate” … probably better to do it yourself than to settle and be disappointed your first time.
My friend Heather over at Scarleteen has written this really great piece which is about deciding what kind of sex you want to have. It can help you to decide what kind of sex is right for you and can also help you to communicate this to a partner.
Some interesting research here:
(Page updated March 2012)
© Justin Hancock, 2012