Sex and Relationships

Sex and Relationships

Sex and Relationships


Starting a relationship with someone can be great. It can make you feel happy, more confident and in control. But relationships can also be confusing. You’ll experience new feelings and emotions. Some of them will be positive and others will be negative.

All of that is normal. But remember that you should feel happy in a relationship more than you feel sad. A good relationship is based on trust and respect. You should be able to talk to each other about anything and be confident the other person will listen.

Your partner should never make you feel frightened or put pressure on you to do things you don’t want to. If you don’t feel safe in a relationship then you need to get some help.

Tell someone you trust how you feel. You should talk to an adult you trust too. They can help keep you safe and find a way to end the relationship without putting you in danger.

Relationships are different for everyone. Not every relationship you have will work out. Breakups can be painful, even when it’s your decision. It’s normal to miss things about your ex when you split up.

If you get dumped you can feel sad, angry and hurt. All of that is normal. You will get through this difficult time. If you’re going through a breakup don’t hide away. Make sure you spend time with your friends and talk to them about how you’re feeling. Try new things or do your favourite hobbies to build up your self confidence.

Sex is often part of a relationship, but it doesn’t have to be if you aren’t ready. Having sex for the first time is also known as losing your virginity. A virgin is someone who hasn’t had sex. You should never feel ashamed for being a virgin.

Having sex for the first time can be daunting, even if you are ready to take that step. Before you have sex with someone you should ask yourself if it feels right. Do you love them and do they love you? Have you talked about having sex and discussed contraception?

If you answered yes to all those questions you might be ready. But if you’re still not sure then it’s ok to wait. Remember that you should be able to say no at any time. It’s not ok for your boyfriend or girlfriend to put pressure on you to have sex.

If you think you will regret having sex you should wait. You also shouldn’t agree to have sex because you feel like you will lose your partner if you say no. If they won’t wait for you to feel ready then they’re not worth it.

Consent is when you agree to have sex with someone else. You should only say yes if you feel comfortable. Having sex with someone if they haven’t given their consent is rape.

If someone has been drinking alcohol or taken drugs they might not be able to say yes or no, or they might not know what they’re doing. If you’re not sure whether someone has given their consent then you should stop. 

When is it legal to have sex?

“In the UK it is legal to have sex from the age of 16. This is called the age of consent. It is the same for heterosexual couples (a man and a woman) and homosexual couples (two men or two women). Although this is when it’s legal to have sex you should never feel pressured into it if you’re not ready, no matter what age you are.

If you’re under 16 and thinking about having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend it’s better to wait. The law is there to protect you. Waiting a bit longer to have sex won’t hurt you. But having sex before you are ready might confuse or upset you.

You can get confidential advice about sex and contraception from the NHS sexual health services before you are 16. They won’t tell your parents unless they are worried about your safety. If you are thinking about having sex before you are 16 it is better to make sure you are protected from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy by using contraception.

How can I tell if someone is consenting to sex?

It’s important to get consent for sex every time you do it, even if you’ve had sex with that person before. If you’re not sure if your partner wants to have sex the best thing to do is ask them. If they say no, respect their choice.

Someone might not feel confident enough to say no to sex, but their body language can show that they’re not happy. If they seem tense or nervous stop and talk to them.

They might stop kissing you, or start to pull away. Never ignore the signs of non-consent. If the other person behaves like they want to stop, you should too. You can’t assume that someone has given their consent. Just because they are kissing you, doesn’t mean they want to go all the way.

I want to talk to my boyfriend/girlfriend about having sex but I’m embarrassed. What can I do?

It’s important to be able to talk about sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend before you go all the way. This can sometimes feel embarrassing but it doesn’t have to be. It’s natural for you to both be nervous about taking the next step. When you talk to your partner you can find out if you’re both ready to have sex.

Try bringing the subject up gently when you have space and time to talk. You should never make the other person feel pressured to have sex with you. And you shouldn’t make them feel guilty if they say no.

If you decide you are both ready then make sure you also talk about contraception. It’s really important to protect yourselfs from STIs and unplanned pregnancy.

All my friends are having sex. Does that mean I should too?

Even if all your friends say they are having sex that doesn’t mean it’s true. Sometimes people will say things to fit in with the rest of the group. If you don’t feel ready to have sex you shouldn’t feel pressured into it.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your partner or your friends who are putting pressure on you. It’s always ok to say no. If your friends are encouraging you to have sex before you are ready say no with confidence.

If they are good friends they will respect your decision. It’s important not to judge them for their choices though. Respect works both ways.

I said yes to sex before but now I don’t want to. Is that ok?

It’s always ok to say no to sex, even if you’ve done it before. There can be a lot of reasons why you don’t want to have sex. It might just be that you don’t feel like it that day. Or you might not have enjoyed it last time and not want to do it again.

Whatever the reason, it’s always fine to say no. You shouldn’t feel pressured into having sex when you don’t want to. Feel confident saying no. It’s your body and your choice. If you’re in a good relationship the other person will respect your decision.

They won’t try to make you feel guilty or feel bad. If someone is trying to force you to have sex or is threatening to tell people things about you then you should get some support. It’s not ok to behave like that.

How can I tell if I’m ready for a relationship?

It can be hard to know if you’re ready to start a relationship. Often it will happen because you’ve met someone you really like. They’ll be a person you enjoy spending time with. Usually they’ll be someone you find attractive. It’s ok to take things slowly to begin with.

Spending time together as friends can be a good way to learn more about each other. There’s no rush to get into a relationship. You should wait until you both feel ready to start calling each other boyfriend/girlfriend.

Remember that it’s fine to be single too. Lots of people choose to be single. Some of them aren’t interested in love or romance and that’s fine. You don’t need a relationship to be happy.

Did you know?

-The average age for having sex in the UK is 16

-80% of young people said they used a condom the first time they had sex

-Communication and kindness are key to lasting relationships


Help & Support

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