Knowing the facts about contraception and sexual health is important. But they won't tell you if you are ready to have sex. In the UK, about half of people have not lost their virginity by age 17.
It can be difficult to know if you are ready. You might feel pressured, or like you're being left behind. But it's OK to take your time and be sure
Are you ready?
You might not be ready for sex if you can't say yes to the below statements:
- You feel you could say no if you wanted to
- You can have fun together without anything sexual involved
- You each want it for yourself, not to please the other person or fit in with what friends or other people think you should do
- Nobody’s forcing you, pressuring you or making you
- You have discussed using condoms and contraception, and talked about what might happen if you become pregnant or get a Sexually Transmitted Infection
- You have agreed what happens next, and whether or not to tell your friends afterwards.
- Even if you've answered yes to all of these statements, you still might not be ready for sex. Only you can know for sure.
Crucial: If you have said yes to sex once you can always say no to sex another time. Sex without consent is rape. Find out more from Disrespect Nobody.
What's legal when?
The age of consent in England is 16. The age is the same for everyone, whether you’re male, female, transgender, bi, straight, or gay.
Crucial: If you're under 16, it's illegal to have sex, but you can still get confidential advice about contraception, emergency contraception and sexual health. You can talk to your school health nurse or visit the sexual health clinic.
Consent: what does it look like?
If you want to do something sexual with your partner, the responsibility lies with you to check for consent, at every stage. It's not up to your partner to say ‘no’ if they don’t want to.