Am I Ready for Sex?

The majority of young people wait until they are 16 or older to have sex. Remember, the decision to have sex and who with is your decision. Don't decide to have sex because you feel pressured to do it.

Discussing whether you are ready to have sex with your partner can be something you don't feel comfortable doing, but it should be a relaxed and easy conversation. Talking about sex not only helps you make decisions about whether you are ready to have sex, but also what contraception you will use.

If you think you are ready to have sex, the following questions might help you decide for certain:

  • Do you feel you could say no if you wanted to?
  • 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 your friends or others' expectations of you?
  • Are you certain nobody's forcing you, pressuring you or coercing you?
  • Are you using contraception and have you discussed it with your partner?

Always remember it's ok to say "no" if you don't want to have sex. Even if you've had sex before, it doesn't mean that you have to have sex again. Not having sex doesn't mean you're immature. Having sex before you're ready can lead to regret and also means you are more likely to take risks, such as having unprotected sex (sex without condoms). It's ok to change your mind and say you don't want to have sex, even if you've already agreed. It's important that you are honest and direct so your partner knows exactly how you feel.

Here are some ideas on how to respond if you are ever pressured to have sex:

  • "No, I don't want to."
  • "No, I want to wait until I am ready."

If you don't want to have sex there are many other ways you can be intimate such as kissing and cuddling.

If you decide you are ready to have sex, here's how to make sure you and your partner can have safer sex:

  • Talk to your partner
  • Talk to a healthcare professional who can give you some advice - you don't have to be having sex to ask for advice
  • If you have decided that you are ready you'll need to use contraception to protect you and your partner from STIs and unplanned pregnancy

Remember, only condoms protect against STIs You can get FREE condoms from any easy access point for condoms

Be open about your past experiences - if you or your partner has had a STI before or may still have one, let the other know so you can make the right decision.

Using a condom shows that you and your partner respect each other. If your partner doesn't want to use a condom maybe you should reconsider if you want to have sex with them. Here are some ideas on how to respond if you are ever pressured to have sex without a condom:

They say: "I don't have a STI! Why don't you trust me?"
Answer: "I do trust you, but anyone can have an STI and not even know it. It's about taking care and respecting both of us."

They say: "I don't like sex as much with a condom. It doesn't feel as good."
Answer: "This is the only way I feel comfortable having sex but it'll still be good even with protection. This way we can both just focus on each other instead of worrying about STIs and unplanned pregnancy."

They say: "But I'm/you're on the pill."
Answer: "That doesn't protect us from STIs, so I still want to be safe, for both of us."

They say: "Let's just do it without a condom this time."
Answer: "It only takes one time to get pregnant or to get an STI. I won't have sex unless I know I'm as safe as I can be."

They say: "No one else makes me use a condom"
Answer: "This is for both of us... and I won't have sex without protection."

For more information visit:


You Choose

NHS Direct
0845 4647

Sex - Worth Talking About
0800 28 29 30

 Lambeth Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Partnership
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