|Relationships...sex?... and you|
|Relationships and you|
|Do you want a relationship?|
|What do you want?|
|When its not all roses|
|Are you ready for sex|
Sooner or later in an intimate relationship, thoughts may turn to sex. Sex can be an incredibly special way of being intimate with somebody – with the right person, at the right time.
A relationship can be healthy and happy without sex or being sexual. Talking about sex with your partner may help you to work out if it’s what you both want.
Talking to your partner about sex and what you do and don’t want is not always easy. It is best to discuss this when you are not being physically intimate – in the heat of the moment you are more likely to go further than you intended, or it may be harder to communicate clearly with your partner.
If you do not want to be sexual or have sex, it is best to be direct and honest with your partner. You don’t have to explain your reasons but you may find it helps your partner to understand your decision.
If your partner does not want to be sexual or to have sex, it is important to respect their decision – even if you don’t understand it. It may not have been easy for them to tell you. It does not mean they don’t like or love you, it just means they are not ready for sex. It may help to talk about your feelings with somebody you trust.
This is an important question to ask yourself before becoming sexually active or before having sex with a partner for the first time. It is not an easy question to answer. There is no magic time – the right time is different for every person and every couple. Sex can be a great way to share your feelings but having sex or being sexual when you are not ready can lead to regret and feeling bad.
Signs that sex may not be right for you at this time:
- You feel pressure to have sex
- Your partner does not feel ready
- You and your partner have not talked about sex
- You are worried that your relationship will end if you don’t have sex
- Having sex now is against your religious or moral beliefs
- You feel you need to be drunk or high to be comfortable enough to have sex
- You are having sex because you want to feel better about yourself
Take the time to think about your reasons for wanting to have sex. Talk about it with somebody you trust.
The following points might help you with making decisions about sex that are right for you:
- Love does not equal sex – just because you love somebody does not mean you have to have sex. There are other ways to be intimate and to show affection
- There’s more to sex than intercourse – being sexual can involve just touching, kissing, cuddling, sucking, nibbling, massage, sexual fantasy or masturbation
- You have the right to say “yes” to some sexual activities and “no” to others
- Before having sex, make sure it is something you both want
- Good sex is about making sure it is enjoyable and pleasurable for both of you.
- If you have sex once, you can decide that you don’t want to have sex again.
- Just because you had sex with a previous partner does not mean you have to have sex with your next partner.
- Not everything you hear about sex is true, not everybody is “doing it”, guys aren’t always up for it, girls can initiate sex too.
- It can sometimes be hard to say “no” – so it’s important that you check that it’s what you really want.
There are laws about having sex, laws that are there to protect you. If someone breaks these laws tell somebody you trust. In Tasmania, the age of consent is 17 years old, therefore if you are younger than 17, no one can legally to have sex with you.*
It is against the law to have sex with somebody who does not agree or consent to have sex with you. This is sexual assault and it is a crime. Sexual assault also includes any unwanted sexual act e.g.
- being forced to participate in, or watch pornography
- being the target for unwanted sexual attention that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared
- being forced, threatened, manipulated or coerced into any sexual activity. Sexual assault is about power. It is never the victim’s fault
Tasmanian law also says that it is illegal to have sex with anybody who is asleep, unconscious or so affected by alcohol or other drugs that they are not able to freely agree to sexual intercourse.
If there is a pregnancy resulting in the birth of a child it will be the responsibility of both parents until the child turns 18. This can include having to pay child support if the parents separate.
* It may be a defence against the charge if you are 15 years or older and your sexual partner is not more than 5 years older than you, or if you are 12 years or older and your sexual partner if not more than 3 years older than you.
In sexual relationships, it is important to protect yourself and your partner from feeling unsafe or from harm. The information and tips already mentioned in this booklet can help you look after yours and your partner’s emotional health.
When you are in a sexual relationship, it is also important to look after your physical health. This should include:
- your safety
- protecting yourself against Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) and
- preventing unplanned pregnancy. This is the responsibility of both people in the relationship so you need to talk about it together.
Sex, alcohol and drugs can be a very risky combination because:
- Alcohol and drugs affect your ability make decisions and you are more likely to take risks you may regret
- Talking and listening become more difficult
- It can be harder to tell if a situation is dangerous
- Alcohol and drugs increase people’s aggression
- Alcohol is the most common reason for young people having unwanted sex
The internet and mobile phones can be great fun, however, there are some risks to be aware of. Many people chat and make friends over the internet. It is important to remember that not everybody tells the truth and is who they say they are. Be very careful about giving out your personal details such as your address or phone number. Never tell someone your bank or credit card details.
If you choose to meet an internet friend in real life take some steps to keep yourself safe: meet in a busy, public place; take a trusted friend with you; make your own way there and back; avoid getting drunk; take a phone with you; tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to return.
Taking pictures and videos, posting them on the internet or sending to friends or partners can be a great way to keep in touch, but it is important to be careful about what you post or send. Once you have pressed send you have no control over what happens to that picture or video. Once you have posted something on the internet anybody can see it.
There can be images and footage on the internet and in messages that can be disturbing or upsetting. Nobody should ever force you to view things that you do not want to. If you do see something that upsets you or makes you feel uncomfortable, talk it over with somebody you trust.
STIs are infections that can be caught through sexual activity. Infections can be present in the body fluids that may be shared in oral, anal and vaginal sex. Some STIs, such as HPV (genital warts) and Herpes are caught through skin to skin contact. It is important to use condoms to reduce the risk of catching or transmitting an STI.
STIs often do not show symptoms and you cannot always tell if a person has an infection just by looking at them. Possible symptoms may include:
- Unusual discharge (funny colour or smell) from the penis or vagina
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain when taking a pee
- Sores, blisters, ulcers, warts, itching, lumps, rashes in the genital or anal area
- Bleeding between periods
If you are sexually active, the only way to know for sure that you are infection free is to get a sexual health checkup. This usually involves a visit to a doctor and peeing into a cup or having a genital swab taken. STIs can be treated, although not all can be cured. STIs caused by bacteria (Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis) can be cured with antibiotics but there is a risk that they could affect your chances of having children later on. Some STIs caused by viruses may clear naturally (HPV, hepatitis A/B). Other infections will stay in the body for life (herpes, HIV) but the symptoms can be treated. Many young people think that the chance of catching HIV is very low In Australia but there has recently been an increase in the number of people contracting this virus.