Q: I really want to have sex, I am scared. I keep getting pressured from my friends, they are always talking about how they want to have sex and as soon as possible. I came really close twice. I am 16. I want to go on the pill as well but I am scared if I talk to my mum she will think I am having sex. What should I do?
Sex can be wonderful, but it also requires a lot of maturity and planning
While sometimes it might feel like ‘everyone else is doing it’, the fact is that only about ¼ of 16-year-olds have ever had sexual intercourse, so it’s not the majority. It’s great that your friends feel comfortable talking about sex with each other (they can be an awesome support network), but it’s important to remember that they might be feeling just as scared and unprepared as you, but just not saying it!
There are many reasons you might think about going on the contraceptive pill – it’s pretty popular in the teenage years as it can help with acne, as well as regulating periods and reducing premenstrual symptoms (such as headaches and cramps). Even if you go on the pill, you still need to remember that while it’s pretty good at preventing pregnancy, it does nothing to protect against sexually transmissible infections (including chlamydia and gonorrhoea), so, using a condom and lube is still important to prevent any of these nasties.
If you feel comfortable, it might be worth trying to suss out what your mum thinks about you having sex. It’s often good to open up the conversation by not talking directly about yourself. Why not mention that some of your friends have been talking about sex? You might watch something on TV where sex comes up and that could be a good conversation-starter. It will open the door to a more personal discussion about sex, and you can find out where your mum ‘stands’ on the issue.
Even if you know your mum isn’t supportive, it will be important to talk to a doctor about your contraceptive options. Family Planning centres are great and most have a ‘youth drop in’ time where you can just rock up without an appointment. Because you’re 16 you don’t need permission from your parent(s) and you can even get your own Medicare card so you’re completely independent.
Sex can be wonderful, but it also requires a lot of maturity and planning (especially when it comes to being safe!). It’s better to take your time and make sure you make the right decision for you.
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Responses are written by Giverny Lewis, a 25 year old with a Masters in Sexual Health, who currently works in the area of HIV and sexual health. Giverny is not a GP or medical professional. Any specific sexual health concerns should be raised in direct consultation with your health professional.