Am I ready for sex?
First of all let us remind ourselves of what the South African law says about the legal age of consent
- Children under the age of 12 are not able to consent to any form of sexual activity
- Children between the ages of 12 and 15 can consent to sexual acts with each other
You must ensure that you always act within the law. Anything outside of the law is a criminal offence.
The question of when one should start having sexual intercourse is one that gets asked a lot. It is not an easy topic to navigate but I am going to try my best.
It is important for you to interrogate your intentions when it comes to embarking on a sexual relationship. Why do you want to start having sex? Is it peer pressure? Is it curiosity? Is it love? It is important to ask yourself these questions and to give yourself honest answers.
The reason I say this is because one has to be mentally and emotionally ready for sex. Our bodies mature sexually before our minds do. There is no denying those feelings! The butterflies in the stomach…the electricity when you hold hands or kiss…but is that enough to decide to have sex? You also need to be ready for all the consequences that come with being sexually active. Some sexual experiences start and end well. Others start and end badly. Will you be able to handle an adverse outcome such as a broken relationship, unplanned pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection?
The most important aspect for me is the ability to negotiate safe sex. Are you able to ensure that you and your sexual partner will practise safe sex? If you were to find yourself in an uncomfortable situation and you needed to get out – would you be able to? If you said: "No I no longer want to do this" would your potential sexual partner respect your decision and back off?
These are the questions that you need to ask yourself and answer before you make the decision to start having sex.
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