Is it the right time?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 March, 2003, 12:00am

Legally you have to be 16 before you have sex, but there is no absolute right age to start. The main thing is that it is the right time for you.

If your friends are having sex, that doesn't mean you should. And just because they say they are 'doing it', doesn't mean they are. Some people lie about these things to appear more worldly.

When most people talk about having sex, they mean sexual intercourse. But this is not the only way of giving or receiving sexual pleasure - and not everyone thinks it is the best. Kissing, hugging or giving your partner a massage can all be passionate. Some people decide that they want to do some things, like oral sex, but save intercourse for later in their relationship. This is fine, as long as you feel comfortable with it. Other people think that oral sex is more intimate than intercourse. Never do anything you don't want to do.

Some people decide not to have sex for religious or ethical reasons. Other people decide to wait until they are married. If you decide to have sex, it is important that you are not pressurised into doing it. Once you have lost your virginity, you can never get it back.

You have probably heard that the first time can be painful for girls and they can bleed. Sometimes vigorous sporting activities can cause the membrane to break earlier.

If you do decide to have sex, you should have a long talk with your boyfriend or girlfriend about it before. Talking about any worries you may have, no matter how silly, will help you feel more relaxed - and will make for better sex. Having sex is a big thing, so treat it with respect.

It is important to agree on what kind of contraception you are going to use - girls can get pregnant the first time they have sex.

Sex is physical, but it also affects us emotionally - that is what can make it such a beautiful and powerful expression of love. If you think that you may regret having sex afterwards, then don't do it. The only time to do it is when you feel good about yourself and what you are doing.