Are you ready for sex?

Are you ready for sex?

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?

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

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

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

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.

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Accessing our service during the COVID pandemic

How to access our service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with symptoms of coronavirus is available at .

Advice from our service:

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception during this pandemic here.

More details on the fitting of LARCs (coils and implants) at our service can be found here

If you need the combined contraceptive pill please try (if you can) to get updated measurements of your height, weight and blood pressure before calling us.

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Alternative provision:

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - at your local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV postal testing - available to at-risk groups for a small fee -  more info
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info