Deciding to have sex with someone is a big deal, whether it’s for the very first time or the first time with a new partner. Make sure it’s right for you by asking yourself these four questions.
Remember, you have to be 16 or over to legally consent to sex.
What kind of relationship do you want?
You should think about what kind of relationship you want. Are you ready to take your relationship to the next stage? Or are you happy to stick with kissing and cuddling, or even just being good friends, for now?
What are your feelings?
It’s always important to consider your feelings and can be good to chat things over with someone you trust.
- Do you feel strongly about this person?
- Do you feel a strong connection with them?
- Can you have a good laugh together as well as talk easily with them?
- Do you feel respected and do you respect them?
- Do they make you feel good about yourself?
When you really care about someone the answer to all these questions should be yes. If you don’t feel that way, then maybe they’re not the right person for you to be having a sexual relationship with. We have more information on what a healthy relationship looks like if you’re not sure.
Do you feel safe with this person?
Having sex with someone is one of the most intimate things you can do. If you worry about what they think of you or feel you can’t trust them at the best of times, you definitely won’t feel any more secure with them when you’re in your underwear.
For you to consent, you need to feel ready and freely choose to do something, without being pressured.
Can you talk with them easily about your feelings and what you want?
A good relationship (and good sex) is all about good communication. Being able to talk openly with someone is essential if you’re going to discuss important things like what protection you want to use and what you do and don’t want to do.
If you’ve asked yourself these questions and don’t feel that you’re ready to have sex, you shouldn’t feel pressure from your partners or friends to influence your decision. Check out this information on dealing with pressure to have sex.
If you decide that you do want to have sex with your partner, remember that it’s important to practice safe sex and use contraception to protect you and your partner from sexually transmitted infection and/or pregnancy. Find out more about contraception.
NHS Glasgow & Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Lothian sexual health teams have created a website called Awkward Moments, which has information about checking in with yourself and the person you’re with.