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Sexual healthThis area of the website includes other pages looking at sexual health topics: contraception, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

Deciding whether or not to have a sexual relationship with someone must be something you spend a lot of time thinking about. At some stage in a relationship it might seem like the right decision but can be very difficult for young people if they are feeling pressured or uncertain.

It is important that it is carefully thought through, and a mutual decision. It is also important that you feel comfortable and relaxed with the other person — if not, don’t do it!

Something else you may also wish to consider is how the relationship could change once you have had sex — is this what you want? More often than not it’s better to just stay friends until you feel old enough and wise enough to take a relationship any further.

Things you should think about

The complexities of sexual relationships don’t end there — what about your reputation, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies?

Also, you should remember that if you are under 16 it is against the law and in certain circumstances you could find either you and/or your partner may be prosecuted. Another common concern is what your parents may say. If you decide not to tell your parents, is this because they would not approve (maybe they’ve got a point?) or you consider it none of their business (doh — of course it’s their business, everything you do is their business!)? You might also feel under pressure from friends and the media. If you think you’re the only teenager not doing it — you’d be way wrong even if every magazine you pick up tells you otherwise. Your friends might be talking about it all the time but in reality that’s probably all it is. Talk.

Finding out more about sexual health

  • To start with, have a look at the recommended links on our Need more info? - Links - Health page.
  • has a Sex & Relationships area, which lets you search for information on topics such as Safer sex, Having Sex and many more
  • The NHS Choices - Live Well website has a section on Sex and young people which has information, links, videos, quizzes and more

Page last updated 16 July 2014

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