This is a really, really important question—and there’s no one answer.
There’s only one person who can tell if you’re ready to have sex or participate in sexual activities: you! If you’re considering becoming sexually active, spend some time thinking about why sexual activity might be right for you. Make sure you’re not feeling pressured by friends or a partner. Be confident that sex isn’t linked to your self-esteem, and definitely don’t have sex just because someone else wants you to.
Another important thing to think about is consent. Consent is when people agree to a sexual activity without pressure, force or without being tricked. Anyone involved in the activity must be comfortable and feel safe. Another thing to think about is your “readiness.” It’s important that someone feels emotionally and physically ready for any type of sexual activity. Knowing the risks, knowing a partner and knowing yourself are key parts of readiness.
Know that you have the right to change your mind at any moment. Even if you’ve consented to an activity once, it doesn’t automatically mean you consent every time after that! 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. Before you decide, it would be a good idea to get tested! Teen Clinic provides low-cost and confidential STI testing and birth control consultations.
At the end of the day, it’s your body—and you have the right to make decisions that work for you. Teen Clinic encourages everyone to talk with a trusted adult – whether that’s a parent, another relative, a teacher, coach or clinician – if they are thinking about becoming sexually active.