Health and Relationships

Saying no

Don't feel awkward about saying no to sex (or kissing, touching or any other sexual activity). 'No' is an important word in sex and relationships.

Nobody has the right to make you go further than you want to, and you have every right to say no, at any point, whoever you're with. If you want to have sex but your boyfriend or girlfriend or friend doesn't, you must respect their feelings.

First time or not

You might think from what you hear from friends that all young people are having sex. But the average age for having sex for the first time is 16, and not everyone does it at that age. Some people wait until they're older.

So you're not the only one saying no. Even if you've had sex before, this doesn't mean you have to do it again. It's up to you every time.

When you meet someone you like, it might take weeks, months or even years before you're both ready for sex. Take it slow, and think about your feelings, as well as theirs. Never rush or push each other into it.

Try talking about the relationship. Communicating helps you to know when the time is right, and to know exactly how you both feel, rather than guessing.

Saying no

It might sound strange, but try practising saying no:

  • "No, I'm not ready."
  • "No, I don't want to."
  • "No, it doesn't feel right."
  • Or simply "No."

If you don't want to have sex, anyone who really likes you will respect your decision even if you've had sex with them before.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend says something like, "If you loved me you'd do it", don't fall for it. It's emotional blackmail. However much you love or like them, you don't have to have sex with them to prove it.

How to resist pressure

People who want to have sex might say things to try to get you into bed. Here are some ideas of what you can say in return:

They say: "Don't you fancy me?"
You could say: "Yes, but I respect you too," or "You're gorgeous but I want to know you better."

They say: "My friends think we should have done it by now."
You could say: "They don't know what's best for us," or "You should care more about what I think."

They say: "We don't need to use a condom."
You could say: "I'm not ready to be a parent and I don't want to risk getting an infection."

They say: "Let's just get it over with."
You could say: "If we wait until we're ready it'll be much better."

They say: "If you loved me you'd want to do it."
You could say: "It's because I love you that I want to wait," or "If you loved me you wouldn't say that."

They say: "If we don't do it soon, I'll explode!"
You could say: "You need biology lessons...It's not bad for you to wait."

They say: "But you're 16."
You could say: "Just because it's legal doesn't mean I have to. I'll decide when I'm ready."

If you both agree to have sex, make sure that:

  • you use condoms to protect yourselves from STIs
  • and you use contraception to help prevent an unintended pregnancy.

Sexual assault

A sexual assault can range from inappropriate touching to a life-threatening attack, rape or any other penetration of the mouth, vagina or anus. It's a myth that victims of sexual assault always look battered and bruised. A sexual assault may not leave any outward signs, but it's still a crime.

Victims are most likely to be young women aged 16 to 24. But men and women of any age, race, ability or sexuality can be assaulted. This could be by a stranger or, much more likely, someone you know. It could be a partner, former partner, relative or a friend. Don't be afraid to get help.

If you've ever been sexually assaulted, either recently or at any time in the past, then SAFE Place, the Sexual Assault and Referral Centre for the Merseyside Area can help you. View the SAFE Place page on teenwirral.com to find out more or visit the NHS Choices website.

You can also view a guide for young people on coping with sexual assault, put together by the Havens.

If you're not sure what to do, and you're worried about what will happen if you report a sexual assault to the police, you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111. They'll be able to let you know what will happen if you tell someone about your situation and help you work out what to do next. ChildLine is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Source: NHS Choices website

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