This is a really, really important question—and there’s no one answer. Each of us has a different sexuality, and we lead different lives. At the end of the day, it’s your body—and you have the right to make decisions that work for you.
Making decisions is always tricky—whether we’re picking a college, quitting a sport, experimenting with substances, or deciding on a career path. At heart, making good decisions is about knowing what will enhance your well-being. What is important to you? What makes you happy? What support do you have? What information do you need? What risks are you willing to take? What experiences tend to impact you negatively? These questions can help guide you in decisions of all kinds, but they’re especially important in sexuality.
From watching people around you, you probably know that what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily what’s best for another. Sex is a lot like food: someone else may be able to give you helpful information or share an experience, but in the end, it’s up to you to choose the right kind and amount for your body.
What does this all mean? Simply put, some people find that sex outside love contributes to their well-being. Other people don’t.
There are many places we can turn for guidelines. Some people practice a religion that tells them when it’s okay to have sex. Other people may have ongoing discussions with their parents (or other trusted adults) to explore their readiness for different types of sexual activity. If you’re not sure who to talk to, consider making an appointment at Teen Clinic. Our practitioners can help you explore what you’re okay with and what you’re not.
At Teen Clinic, we think the most important thing is consent. If you’re thinking about being sexually active, make sure you feel safe and healthy in the relationship. Know that you have the right to change your mind at any moment. And if you’re sexually active, be sure to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs by using condoms and choosing a reliable birth control method. These are an important part of well-being, too.