Is older wiser?
I'm 16 and want to have sex for the first time with another man. I met a 27 year-old and he's very cool. Is it OK to have sex with a guy 12 years older than me?
Deciding to have sex for the first time is a very big decision and most people will remember their first time forever. There is a lot to think about, including whether you are ready emotionally and how to make sure that you are protected from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
First time sex means different things to different people. Most people will have experienced being intimate with someone before they actually have penetrative sex for the first time. While it's normal to feel anxious about having sex for the first time, some people don't feel nervous and that's fine too.
It is legal in England, Scotland and Wales for young men and women to consent to have sex once they are 16, in Northern Ireland the legal age is 17. The law applies equally to young men and women and also covers same-sex relationships.
Remember that there's a lot more to think about than just age and the law, though. No matter how old you and your partner are, having sex involves getting closer to someone physically and emotionally. It's important that you feel comfortable and able to talk openly with that person about:
- What feels good for both of you;
- How you are both going to protect yourself against STIs;
- What you are prepared to do and not do at this stage;
- Any anxiety you may have about having sex for the first time.
Feeling pressurised, rushing things or having sex somewhere unsuitable is likely to leave you with uncomfortable feelings about the experience.
Often it seems that everybody is having sex or has already had sex. The reality is that the majority of people wait until they are in their late teens or later. People often pretend to be more sexually experienced than they really are because they are afraid of what their friends or peers will think of them. So it's totally up to you to decide if you feel ready or not.
Whenever you decide is the right time for you make sure you always put your sexual health first. This means being responsible about carrying and using condoms. Brook and other young people's clinics provide confidential services to young people under 25.
Question answered by YouthNet in association with Brook