Practical issues to think about before you have sex

Contraception, contraception, contraception

Before you have sex, you must sort out contraception.

Don’t run the risk of getting pregnant. Having a baby in your teenage years can damage your physical and mental health, limit your education and career prospects, and increase your risk of living in poverty. And the alternatives – ending a pregnancy or giving a baby up for adoption – are both very very hard. Be responsible, look after yourself, and sort out contraception – it isn’t difficult.

Condoms are the most straightforward form of contraception and also protect you against sexually transmitted infections; but you and your partner need to make sure you have some and you know how to use them before you first have sex. Find out more about contraception here.

You can get pregnant the first time you have sex, and it is not worth taking the risk.

(But if you haven’t read this first and do have sex without contraception, don’t hang around afterwards – go to your nearest clinic, GP or pharmacy and get the morning-after pill as soon as you possibly can.)

When, where and how?

Sex is not always easy at first, and it is better if you can find somewhere private and quiet, where you are not worried about being disturbed. Depending on your family situation, you may be able to use your normal bedroom, but think about your family and their reaction. However liberal your parent/s/carers, they won’t want to listen to your first sexual encounter. Find a time where you won’t disturb them.

It is not a good idea to have sex in a car, or outside, or at a party – in all of these situations, you might be disturbed by others and you risk others getting involved in things which are really none of their business.