The only person who can say if you’re ready for sex is you. If you are thinking about having sex for the first time there are some things that you might want to think about first.

Are you ready?

We don’t mean ‘do you have everything you might need’ (more about that later) we mean ‘do you feel ready?’

Having sex with someone can be a big deal and it’s normal to feel nervous. It’s not normal to feel scared or pressured or as if you don’t have a choice.

Childline have put together the following advice to help you decide;

You might be worried about being left out, not being seen as mature or like you need to have sex to prove that you care about someone. Or people around you might be making you feel like you should have sex.

The only person who can decide if you’re ready is you. If you’re thinking about having sex, you should consider:

  • Do you feel you could say no if you wanted to but still want to do it?
  • Can you have fun together without anything sexual involved?
  • Do you each want it for yourself, not for the other person or to fit in with friends or others’ expectations of you?
  • Are you certain nobody’s forcing you, pressuring you or coercing you?
  • Have you and your partner discussed using condoms and contraception, agreed what happens next and whether or not to tell your friends afterwards and talked about the implications if you become pregnant?
  • You aren’t really ready for sex until you can tick all of these boxes.
  • But remember – even if you are, it still doesn’t mean you have to.
  • It’s your choice and no-one else’s.

You should never feel pressured into doing something sexual until you’re ready and you should not put yourself at risk.

You can find more resources, advice or speak to a counselor  on the childline website.

Being prepared

Okay, you’ve decided you’re ready to have sex. The next steps are to think about contraception. Contraception can stop you from becoming pregnant and can also protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Condoms would be a good choice here because they are easy to use, easy to get hold of and are pretty safe if used correctly. You can get condoms free of charge from your nearest sexual health clinic or you can register for a c-card. You can also buy them from pharmacies, shops or supermarkets.

If you have a penis, you may want to practice putting a condom on beforehand. It get’s easier the more times you do it!

Carrying condoms and using them is the responsibility of both partners. Don’t leave it up to someone else to make sure that you are safe. Also, just because you have condoms doesn’t mean that you automatically have to have sex. It’s up to you,

Staying safe

The final thing to think about is your safety. Think about where you are going to be, who else might be there, what’s going to make you most comfortable? what are you happy doing and what do you not want to do? Even if you are feeling nervous, try to  avoid alcohol or drugs. Make sure that you have talked all of this through with your partner. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about this then perhaps you and your partner aren’t ready just yet.

If something goes wrong

People make mistakes and accidents can happen. We are here for you when things go wrong. If a condom breaks, comes off, or you forget to use one, then come and see us as soon as possible. We will advise you about emergency contraception (the morning after pill) and whether you are likely to need an STI test. We can also give you advice about different types of contraception for the future.

If you have had unprotected sex with someone who has HIV then we can also advise you about PEP. This must be taken within 72 hours to be effective.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, we are allowed to treat anyone who is sexually active and everything you tell us is confidential information unless we are worried about you. Find out more about confidentiality.

Brook – Sexual health & well-being for under 25’s

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