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Me and my girlfriend were considering having sex, I'm 16 and she's just turned 15, we have been talking for a while and I couldn't forced her into anything she wouldn't to do because she means the world to me, but the age thing is abit iffy, I do believe I love her and we are very happy together, could I face charges if we did?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Making the choice to have sex in a relationship is a really big decision and there are lots of things to think about. Things like consent, your feelings and safety. These are things that everybody needs to consider before they start having sex in a relationship.

Sex can involve anything from touching and masturbation to oral and penetrative sex. The law says that having sex under the age of 16 is illegal and this is the same all relationships, no matter what your sexual orientation. This means that if you had sex with your girlfriend you would be breaking the law.

Saying that you want to have sex is called giving consent. One reason the law makes 16 the minimum age to have sex is that by this time most people’s bodies and emotions are ready – but of course not everyone will be. Everyone is different and so you and your girlfriend need to decide when the right time is for you and whether you’re both ready for this step.

The law is there to make sure nobody gets hurt or taken advantage of – in this case, that young people are not being abused. For example, it’s never okay for an adult to have sex with a young person and so the law is deliberately strict about this. The consequence of having a strict law is that it means sometimes young people might unintentionally break the same law that is there to protect them.

The police want to stop people being hurt and for you to be safe. They can choose whether to charge someone with a crime or not and it is unusual for them to want to prosecute young people in your situation. If two people are both of a similar age and are not in an abusive relationship then there’s probably no reason for them to be concerned. This does change if one or both are very young, such as being under 13.

I’m afraid I can’t give you a more definite answer other than yes, you would technically be breaking the law but as long as you are both safe and happy with your decision, there’s probably not much reason for the police to want to do anything about that.

The most important thing is how you both feel, respecting each other’s decisions and making sure you are staying safe if you do decide to have sex, Brook’s website has a load of great advice. You can also talk to a ChildLine counsellor for support.

I hope that helps.

Take care,

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