Page Utilities
Change wallpaper


It's completely normal to have lots of questions about sex, whether you have had sex or not. It's important to find out about contraception and consent so you can make decisions which feel right for you.

Image of two sets of feet touchingTalking about sex

It can be really difficult to talk about sex.

You might feel like you'll be judged if you are having sex, or if you're not. You might also feel silly if you have questions.

Everyone has questions or worries about sex and it's normal to feel like this.

If you are thinking about having sex, it's best to find out about it so you can decide what feels right for you emotionally and physically.

It's a good idea to discuss things with the person you want to have sex with, so that you both agree on things and know what you feel comfortable with.

At what age can I have sex?

In the UK, you can legally have sex after the age of 16. This is called the age of consent. It is the same for heterosexual sex (between a male and female), or homosexual or gay sex (between two members of the same sex). This law is there to protect you and not punish you.

Although you can legally have sex at these ages, you should only have sex when you are ready. You should never feel pressured or forced into doing it.

If you are unsure or worried about anything to do with sex, you can talk to ChildLine.

  • Is it normal to have lots of questions about sex?

    Yes, it's normal to have lots of questions about sex, both before or after you have sex. You should be able to ask whatever you want and not be embarrassed. It is important to ask questions as many young people are unsure but are also afraid to ask – being sure and having the right information will help you to make the right decisions and also be safe.

    You can find out more about sex by:
    -  checking out Brook's sex pages
    -  talking to other young people on our message boards
    asking an adult for help
    talking to a ChildLine counsellor

  • I'm having lots of sexual thoughts and feelings. Is this normal?

    It's normal to have sexual thoughts and feelings, especially during puberty when your body is changing. It can be confusing and strange at first but it isn't unusual. Your feelings should calm down after a while when your body adjusts to the changes.
    Read more about puberty for girls and puberty for boys

  • I'm worried about having sex. Am I weird?

    It's natural to have worries about having sex, as it's a big step to take. The most important things are that you are happy with what you do and that you are safe.

    If you are unsure about it or feel uncomfortable about having sex, then it probably means that it's not the right time for you.

    Here are some wrong reasons to have sex:

    - You think it'll help you feel grown up.
    - Your mates say they've done it and you don't want to be left out.
    - You're worried what will happen if you say no.
    - Someone is pressuring you into doing it.
    - You just want someone to love you.
    - You want to please someone
    - You're afraid a relationship will end if you don't have sex.

  • What is contraception and why should I use it?

    Contraception, or birth control, is when you take some action to prevent a pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection (STI). Not everyone knows about contraception. Even when they do, they don't always use it. Even if it is the first time having sex for both of you, you should always use contraception.

    Using contraception can help you to avoid pregnancy when you have sex with someone. Using a condom can help you avoid STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and the HIV virus which can lead to AIDS.

    There are lots of different types of contraception available and so you'll be able to find one that suits you. You can talk to a doctor or or visit

    Read more about contraception and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • I’m being pressured into having sex. What should I do?

    Having sex is a big decision. If you don’t feel comfortable or ready to have sex with someone, then you shouldn’t feel like you have to do it. Your boyfriend or girlfriend should care about you enough not to pressure you or make you do something you’re not happy about. 

    Consent means agreeing to do something. Sex is only ever okay if both people involved want to have sex. Having sex if someone hasn’t given their consent (which means they don’t want to have sex) is illegal and is called rape.

    The age of consent in the UK is 16 years old.

    There can be a lot of pressure from things like music videos or online porn to have sex. It might seem like lots of other young people are doing it or talking about it. This shouldn’t be the reason that you start having sex – you should do it because you want to and you are over 16 years old. If you need to talk about sex, you can talk to ChildLine any time.

  • I feel pressured to do something new during sex.

    Sometimes people might get pressured to try new sexual things by their girlfriend or boyfriend. This might be because of something they have seen in online, in porn or because of what other people say they are doing.

    Even if you have had sex with someone in the past, remember that you never owe someone sex.

    Think about what you feel comfortable with. Consent means that both people agree to have sex and are both okay with what things you try during sex. Consent is always important.

    If someone is trying to pressure you into doing something sexual which you makes you feel uncomfortable, you should tell them you don’t want to do it. They might not realise if you don’t tell them. Be really clear and say ‘No. I don’t want to do that.’

    The person you’re with should respect you enough not to try and make you do something you don’t want to. Find out more about being assertive so you can tell people exactly how you feel.

    If you’re being forced to have sex or do something sexual, this is sexual abuse and it is wrong. You can talk to a ChildLine counsellor for help and support.

  • I had sex and didn't like it. Is this normal?

    It's easy to think that sex is always exciting and enjoyable. Films, TV shows and music videos often show sex as being something great which everyone loves. This might make you think sex should always be really good but sometimes sex can be painful, awkward or embarrassing.

    Sex can also feel different depending on who you are with. It's often about an emotional connection as well as a physical attraction. You should never be pressured into doing anything sexual if you don't want to. It's important to think about what feels right for you.

    Being comfortable with yourself can often help you feel comfortable with someone during sex. You might worry about how you look naked or feel unsure about what you're doing. It can take time to feel confident and it's important to remember that nobody is perfect - we all have bits about ourselves which we don't really like. A way to feel better is to focus on what you do like. Get tips on how to feel better about how you look.

    If you have been sexually abused, raped or experienced something upsetting, this can trigger emotions which might make you feel like you don't want to have sex. It can also make you feel scared. You can get help by talking to a ChildLine counsellor.

Other sites that can help

Advice about sexual relationships, contraception, pregnancy and sexual health.

Information and advice from the NHS on sexual health, contraception and talking about sex.
NHS Choices

If you have a disability, you still have the right to have sex and enjoy it. Brook has info about this.
Brook - Sex and disability

Sex and sexual health

Having sex is a big decision and there are lots of things to think about if you are considering doing it. Speak to other young people about sex and sexual health on the ChildLine message boards.

Sex and Relationships message board

Was this helpful?

Was this information about sex helpful to you? If so, please tell us how.



We want to make sure everyone can access the information provided on this site

We've put together a few tips and help for you. Please send us a message if you can't find what you're looking for. Or you have a suggestion of something we could include.

Using the keyboard instead of the mouse.
As well as using the tab key to navigate through the screen, the ChildLine website has special access keys:

Alt+S = skip navigation
Alt+1 = home
Alt+0 = accessibility information.

Is the text size too large or too small?
You can change your text settings through your browser options:

In Internet Explorer, go to View > Text size and select your desired text size setting (eg, larger, smaller).

In Firefox, go to View > Text size and increase/decrease using Ctrl and + or -

If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, you can hold down Ctrl and scroll back or forth to increase or decrease the font size in both IE and Firefox.

Changing your computer screen settings
To change the size of the image shown on your screen on a PC running Windows 95 and upwards, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Display > Settings and change the desktop area by using the sliding bar.

On an Apple Mac, you can use the Monitor & Sound Control Panel to change the resolution.

Having difficulty with your keyboard or mouse?
You can fine-tune your mouse and keyboard settings under Start > Settings > Control Panel > Accessibility in Windows 95/98/NT/2000 and XP.

Skipping navigation for talking browsers and screen readers
For speech browsers, you can press Alt and S followed by Enter to skip navigation on our pages.

The site is W3C level A compliant.




This page contains help and advice.  If you need to contact ChildLine please go to the Talk to us page

Search for something on the website
To search for something on the website, type what you want to find in the search box on the navigation of the site.