Sexual development is a normal and healthy part of adolescent development, but most young people (around age 14 and younger) are not yet ready for sex. It’s generally best for young people to explore sexuality in a loving, committed relationship.
People decide for themselves with whom and when they feel ready to have sex. In order to decide, it can be helpful for young people to think through how they feel about their partner, how their partner feels about and treats them, how they will protect themselves from STDs and/or pregnancy, and what things they do and don’t want to do sexually. If young people do not feel comfortable talking with a partner about these things, it’s a good indication that they’re not ready to have sex with that partner or at all.
Many people feel ready to have sex during their teen years and many do not. It’s important to wait until each partner feels confident about the decision before doing anything sexual. Just because someone has had sex with one person, does not mean they must have sex with their next partner. Each person, relationship and situation is unique.
Talking with a parent or another trusted adult about how to make decisions about sex can be a positive source of support for young people.
Starting a conversation about sex with a young person doesn’t have to be awkward or scary. Here are some ways you can start these conversations: