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I'm thinking about having sex

Deciding to have sex for the first time is a big deal. There are a few important things you need to know before you make that decision.

Male and female in bed, under the covers

Deciding to have sex can be exciting, scary and confusing

It’s a big step and there is a lot to think about and consider

There is no ‘right’ time to become sexually active.

Everyone is different and only you can decide what’s best for you.

It’s totally your decision – and your decision only, not anyone else’s!

Deciding to have sex involves a lot of thought and planning.

It’s important to know about the laws, consent, risks and safe sex, so you feel ready and confident when making your decision.

What you need to know about sex

Sex is supposed to be:

Safe, protected and respectful
Something you decide to do when you’re both ready
Consensual - you both agree and are excited to have sex
Enjoyable and positive and makes you both feel good!
Something that doesn’t make you feel bad or guilty
Something that you can stop or slow down at any time

You should never be pressured or forced into having sex – it’s your choice! You have the right to say NO or change your mind at any time.

Are you old enough to have sex?

There are laws around how old you have to be to have sex

The age of consent is the age at which the law says you can agree (consent) to have sex.

If you’re under the age of consent, the law says that you cannot legally agree to have sex, and any person that tries or has sex with you has broken the law – even if you agreed!

The legal age for sex varies across each state and territory. To find out more, check out the Youth Law Australia website.

The risks

If you are thinking about having sex, there are some serious risks you need to know about. These risks include: 

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Unplanned pregnancy
Emotional pain

Safe Sex

A big part of being ready for sex is knowing how to have safe sex

Safe sex is about protecting yourself and your partner against sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.

You can do this by using condoms and contraception.

These are essential any and every time you have sex.

Condoms offer protection from both STIs and unplanned pregnancy.

Other contraception types only offer protection from unplanned pregnancy.

There are lots of different types of contraception, including condoms, pills, implants, IUDs and injections. Talk to your doctor about finding out which one suits your needs.

Remember - even when these protections are used correctly they don’t guarantee 100% protection against STIs or unplanned pregnancy.

How do I know if I’m ready?

This is a deeply personal question. As everyone is different, there is no clear answer to this.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide and prepare:

Do I understand all the risks?

Do I understand the importance of consent?

How does this decision fit with my values and beliefs?

Do I feel safe and respected by the other person?

Do I understand contraception and how to have safe sex?

Do I know what to do or who to talk to if something goes wrong?

Do I understand my boundaries (what I am comfortable and uncomfortable with)?

Do I want to have sex for myself and not because other people are pressuring me?

How will I communicate my consent to the other person? How will I make sure I have their consent?

Do I feel comfortable to talk about my expectations, concerns, feelings, safety and consent?

What if I decide I don’t want to have sex?

That’s totally ok! Remember that the choice is yours.
Whatever you choose should be respected.

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to sex

It can be a confusing decision, so it’s always good to have someone to talk to.

Talk to your parents, a trusted adult, or your GP if you’re thinking about having sex.

It may feel awkward, but they’re there to help. Talk through all of your worries and ask questions, so that you can make the right decision for you.

It’s better to be safe and to avoid even more awkward or difficult conversations later on.

If you need support with your decision making or planning a conversation with a trusted adult, give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email.

This content was last reviewed 27/06/2019

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