2 May 2011

Sex: Am I ready?

We asked for your views on doing it and not doing it...

If you're not having sex yet, it can feel like you are the only person in the world not doing it, but actually around 50% of teens leave school with their virginity in tact. So if people aren't doing it why not? We asked you to tell us and you did. The top reasons are below word for word...

[By the way this is NOT some crazy article trying to terrify you out of having sex. It's up to you to decide if you're ready and not to feel guilty about your choices.]

1. "I'm waiting for the right person. I want it to be special and to mean more than just sex,"

Not having met the right person yet was by far and away the most common reason for not having sex. And it's a goodie. Random sex with someone you don't care about is uninspiring and a rubbish way to start your sex life.

But even if you really like the person you're thinking about sex with, you still might not feel ready.

"I've told my BF that if he loves me he'll wait. So far he's been brill."

"I know it won't be perfect the first time but I at least want it to be meaningful."

First time sex can be a bit wonky but it's always much nicer with someone you care about.

"Not to sound stuck on myself, but so far... No one I know is really worth my time, I'm too good for just anyone. I never have a problem saying no xxx :)"

The person who wrote this is right. Never be afraid to say no. It's your body + you can do what you want with it.

2. "I'm not ready, I've never kissed a guy let alone have sex with him!!"

If you don't really feel like doing it it's perfectly normal, it may well be that your body simply might not be ready to have sex yet.

We all go through puberty at different rates, so if your best friend's body is telling her to have sex with the entire school, but yours is strangely silent, don't worry, it's normal. 

You've got the whole of the rest of your life to try out sex, so why not keep things simple for now? Snogging is still a perfectly valid way to spend your time, you know...

3. "Basically I don't ever want to take the chance that I could get pregnant"

We all know that sex is how you make babies, so if you're not having sex you can rest easy that you're not about to drop an unexpected sprog in manner of Demi Miller offa EastEnders.

When you do feel ready to try it, remember there are lots of contraception options, but don't rely on boys to sort it out. Always carry condoms and don't ever feel shy about asking a boy to wear one.

It's not him who's going to have to squeeze a baby out of his nether regions if something goes wrong, is it?

4. "It's illegal, and I don't want to get my BF in trouble."

The age you can legally have sex in this country is 16 and that's not just a random number. Believe it or not it's law that's designed to protect you.

Many girls below this age are not emotionally mature enough to deal with the pressures of sex, and unfortunately there are men out there who are happy to take advantage of this. The age limit is one way to try and stop this happening.

That said, don't feel like you have to dive in on the night of your 16th birthday just cos it's legal. Wait till you feel right, not till the government says it's OK, OK?

5. "I don't want to catch something nasty."

STIs are particularly high among teenagers basically because a lot of teens don't use contraception and then sleep with lots of people. We hope that's not you.

But you don't need to hold off sex completely though. Some forms of contraception will help prevent STIs  (http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/sex_relationships/facts/contraception_which.htm), so make sure you use the right form for you as well as your common sense...

If someone's got a reputation for sleeping around, steer clear. Even if they are incredibly fit, you won't fancy them so much when they've given you Chlamydia.

Talk to your partner, find out if they've got any STI symptoms and if you're worried have a day out at the Gum clinic together. Lovely.

6. "I don't want to regret it."

Since the dawn of time female virginity has been seen as a wondrous, almost magical thing.

"Your virginity is the most precious thing you can give somebody. You often hear about people regretting losing it, but I've never heard of anyone who regretted waiting."

We agree that your virginity, and your first time, are really special things, but it's a shame to get too hung up on them. It's good to wait till you're ready, but if you are ready for sex, don't cling to your virginity like a badge of honour.

When the time is right, it's OK to let it go.

7. "It's against my religion, I will save myself for the one God meant me to be with."

This one is really personal, and we don't want to diss anyone's beliefs. It's quite common to be brought up to think that sex before marriage is wrong, so don't beat yourself up about it if your friends don't agree.

What we would say though, is make sure the choices you make are to please yourself, and not those around you.

8. "I get scared when building up to do it."

No-one should be scared when they are having sex. It's ok not to be ready and this is probably your body's way of telling you it isn't.

9. "I'm too scared of the pain."

This is fair enough. The mechanics of sex can seem quite terrifying if you've never done it before. How the hell will THAT fit in THERE...?

The first time can be quite uncomfortable, although it shouldn't be horribly painful.

If you are scared of it hurting, but feel ready to try it, just try to relax. That's why it's so important to be with someone you trust. If a boy makes you feel embarrassed or scared, you'll find it impossible to relax and enjoy yourself.

So what's the moral of the story?

The most important thing with sex is to feel comfortable, secure and happy with the person you're doing it with. Only you know if you're ready or not, so listen to yourself and don't let other people push you into things.

It's your body and your choice.

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