I am doing a series of blogs entitled, Are you ready for sex? designed to help you make that all important decision. Here in Part One I want to share my answer to a letter I received from a 14-year-old girl (who will remain anonymous). She was asking for help in deciding whether she was ready to have sex with her boyfriend:
I’m 14 but please don’t judge me on this. I’ve made out with a few boys, but only in my recent relationship did I really feel like I’m ready for sex. I’m quite mature about it, and I would definitely make sure I was safe. My boyfriend is a year older than me and wants it too. My very close friend says that they think I’ve already lost my virginity, and they’re older, but I don’t think I have. It was in and out and only half. What kind of precautions should I take and what would you say about all of this? I just need some advice. Thanks x
I would not judge you on age; people find themselves ready at different ages. It is to your credit that you are thinking this through and not rushing into anything you might live to regret. Here is my advice:
Let it be with someone whose reasons align with yours
I would imagine that you would want this experience to be something you enjoy, so look carefully at your reasons for wanting to have sex. Do not feel pressured or even persuaded into anything by anybody else. It is your body and it is for you to decide who to share it with. Let it be with someone who appreciates you and is doing it for reasons that align with yours.
Be sure to follow your instincts.
It sounds obvious, but the people I have spoken to have found that if they went into a situation willingly and for their own reasons, they had no regrets. If they ignored their own doubts or instincts it turned out to be a bad experience, or one that they would look back on and wish they could change.
At 14 you have age on your side and there is no rush. If your boyfriend cares about you he will wait until you are sure, so that it’s a positive experience for you both.
I have some quotes from women who have been in your position, which may interest you. One lady did regret her decision to have sex at a young age: I feel sad with myself now at 31, that I didn’t have more self respect to hold onto it longer. I lost it around the age of 12/13, very young, too young. But once lost, there was no going back.
The longer you leave it, the better it will be
Curiosity is a reason many people will end up having sex young, and in hindsight, many feel this was not a good enough reason. Another lady says: I don’t know about KNOW it, I’d have liked to have UNDERSTOOD that life’s a lot longer than your teenage years.
Almost everyone I have spoken to agrees with this lady: Just make sure you’re ready and the more you wait… it’s not a bad thing. The longer you leave it, the better it will be.
Another woman agreed, saying: Don’t be scared of saying no. You are very unlikely to regret saying now, whereas obviously saying yes is irreversible… put it off. That’s what I do when I’m thinking about buying something. I just put it off for a day or two, see how I feel about it a bit later. Maybe it does seem like the right person but maybe the timing is wrong, so don’t be scared of delaying things and waiting. You don’t think about that when you’re young; it’s tonight or never.
Get to know your body
I don’t know how well you know your body already, but many people recommend finding out what you enjoy sexually on your own first: You don’t know what is going to satisfy you until you know yourself. And no one else can ever tell you what you’ll like until you know physically.
Getting to know how to pleasure yourself could drastically improve the chances of sex with someone else being a pleasant experience.
Let your body lead, and head follow close behind
My advice would be to let your body lead you, and then follow closely with your head. For example, if your head is thinking, I think I might like to have sex; I wonder what it would be like… I would say you’re not quite ready.
If your body is aroused and you feel a strong desire to have sex, then follow this with your head: Am I emotionally ready? Is this the right relationship to make this move? How will I do this safely? – This is the best way around for the most enjoyable experience. If you’re not 100% sure then wait; there will come a time when you will feel sure, and nobody will be able to stop you.
In the UK the legal age of consent is 16. The law is there to protect children from abuse, rather than to prosecute under-16s who participate in mutually consenting sexual activity. The law states that anyone under the age of 13 can never legally give consent.
If you do decide to go for it then please remember to stay safe and use contraception. One lady said: It can happen to me; I just wish I’d understood that… I’ll never fall pregnant; I’ll never get an STD… She ended up having a baby at 16.
You can choose and then choose again
Don’t forget that if you do have sex and don’t enjoy it, you don’t need to do it again in a hurry. Just because you have had sex, it doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it if it’s not fun. You are allowed to make a different choice – even with the same person.
This is the first in a two-part series about being ready for sex. You can find the second part here.
Have you already had sex? How did you make your decision? Do you have any regrets? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Be sure to keep an eye out for the next instalment in my “are you ready for sex” series.