Sex and the law
The law says it's legal for you to agree or consent to sex from the age of 16. If you're under 16 you can get confidential contraception, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening or help & support from any one of our clinics across Wirral. We also provide free condoms, but it is important that you have a chat with a health professional if you are thinking about having sex. Why not pop into one of our drop-in clinics? Download our clinic timetable.
If you're under 13 the situation is different because the law says you can't consent to any sexual activity at this age.
Services and information
Did you know that Brook Wirral is part of our service? The team at Brook offer a specialised service for young people aged 13 - 24. Based in Birkenhead, the clinic is open:
- Monday - Thursday, 3.00pm - 6.00pm
- Friday, 3.00pm - 5.45pm
- Saturday, 1.15pm - 3.30pm
If this clinic is difficult to get to don’t worry…you can access any one of our Sexual Health Wirral clinics across Wirral.
Watch our virtual clinic tour
Deciding when to have sex
Working out when you're ready to have sex and feeling comfortable about it is one of life's big decisions. You're the only one who can and should decide. Just because you've had sex before, even with the same person, doesn't mean you have to do it again.
Talking about sex
It's better to have an embarrassing conversation about sex than an embarrassing sexual experience before you're ready.
There are lots of things to think and talk about:
- Are you both ready?
- Will you be having sex for the right reasons and not because of peer pressure or partner pressure?
- Do you have contraception sorted?
Sex isn't the only aspect of a relationship and there are other ways of enjoying each other's company. Discuss what you want and what you don't want to do.
You can do other things you both like, such as talking, meeting each other's family and friends, going to gigs or the cinema, taking part in sport, walking and listening to music.
Questions to ask yourself about sex
You need to have the confidence to work out how you want to respond if sex comes up and how far to go. Ask yourself:
- Do you feel comfortable?
- Is it the right time, in the right place and with the right person?
- Do you really trust the person?
- Do you feel the same way about one another?
If you think you might have sex, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it feel right?
- Do I love my partner?
- Does he/she love me just as much?
- Have we talked about using condoms to prevent STIs & HIV and was the talk ok?
- Have we got contraception organised to protect against pregnancy?
- Do I feel able to say "no" at any point if I change my mind and will we both be ok with that?
If you answer yes to all these questions, the time may be right. But if you answer yes to any of the following questions, it might not be the right time:
- Do I feel under pressure from anyone, such as my partner or friends?
- Could I have any regrets afterwards?
- Am I thinking about having sex just to impress my friends or keep up with them?
- Am I thinking about having sex just to keep my partner?
Being in a relationship doesn't mean you have to have sex. Even if you've done it once or twice, you still need to make sure your boyfriend or girlfriend is as keen as you are each time.
How do I bring up the subject of safer sex?
When you decide to have sex there's the possibility of pregnancy, catching an STI such as chlamydia or both. Whoever you're thinking of having sex with it's important to talk about contraception and condoms before you have sex. Both of you have a responsibility to have this conversation.
Starting a conversation about the different types of contraception could be a good way to start talking about other issues to do with sex, such as how you feel about it and what you do & don't want to do.
You could try saying, "I found out there are 15 different types of contraception … If we were to have sex, which one should we use?"
If you're in a boy/girl couple you should use an additional form of contraception to prevent an unintended pregnancy.
Choosing the right contraception
Most kinds of contraception are used by girls, but both of you have a responsibility to talk about this - a pregnancy will affect both of you.
Lesbian, gay or bisexual sex
If you have lesbian, gay or bisexual sex it's important to use a condom every time as you can still get or pass on STIs including HIV. You also need to know about contraception in case you have straight sex as well.
Reading the signs
Many people are surprised when a situation leads to sex so it’s important to learn how to read the signs. If someone suggests you find a quiet place, makes lots of physical contact or suddenly tries to charm and flatter you, they might be thinking about sex, even if you're not.
You need to decide whether you want to have sex. Don't let someone else decide for you by just going along with it. Make the decision in advance and stay in control of the situation, especially if you've had alcohol because you'll be less inhibited.
If you're not sure you can stay in control, avoid situations that could lead to sex, such as going to someone's room or somewhere quiet.
Alcohol won't help
Many people have sex or lose their virginity when they've been drinking. After a few drinks you're more likely to lose your judgement and may do things you wouldn't do normally. You may regret your actions in the morning and you won't be able to undo what you've done.
Find out more about sex, alcohol and keeping safe.