Understanding Consent

Is it ok to say 'NO' to your partner?
You should not feel uncomfortable to say NO to sex and/or kissing, petting or any other sexual activity. You have a right to say no to anything you are not ready to do. Even if you have had sex before it does not mean you have to have sex again. It is always up to you. Try talking more in your relationship so both you and your partner get to know more about each other's ideas, opinions, and feelings.

Your body is your responsibility. There are important things you need to ask yourself; do you know your partner well enough? Is there a risk that he or she might have a Sexually Transmitted Infection? Do you know which method of contraception you will use? Do you know how to use them? If you feel unsure or have some doubts, you are probably not ready to have sex. Everyone goes through a phase of questioning if the time and relationship is right, and it's normal to feel uncertain. You should talk to your partner, as well as seek advice about contraception, protecting yourself from infections and consider how you and your partner would feel about yourselves as well as each other afterwards.

Some teens will have sex because they believe that all their friends are doing it. You might feel like an outsider or immature because you have not had sex yet. But would you rather regret sleeping with the wrong person instead? Ultimately, your friends will respect you for having the courage to stick up for what you believe in. If you are worried that you might follow what friends or your partner are telling you to do, you should talk to someone you trust about it. Remember, it is likely that they would have been through a similar situation. Also, talking about it can give you more perspective on what feels right for you.

Losing your virginity or having sex for the first time is a big decision. There is a pre-existing misconception that only those persons with female characteristics can lose their virginity. Historically this refers to the tearing of the hymen during intercourse (although this does not always happen). However, virginity now means not having engaged in penetrative sex and this relevant for everyone. Although sex can be painful for the first time for those with a vagina, others do not find it painful. If it is uncomfortable, tell your partner and try a new position. However, most people find that the first time is a little awkward and they feel uncomfortable and nervous. Talking about sex beforehand will help you feel more at ease with your partner and what you both really want during sex.

You always have a right to say no to sex, even if you've started!

How do I say 'no' to sex?

Here are some ideas of how you can say NO politely but still get your ideas across:

Partner: If you love me you should have sex with me!
Response: If you love me you should respect how I feel!

Partner: My friends have already had sex!
Response: I would rather wait until both of us are ready and you should care more about my feelings rather than what your friends do.

Partner: Aren't you old enough to have sex?
Response: Being (age number) does mean I am ready to have sex. I have sex when I am ready.

Partner: We don't need to use a condom!
Response: I would not rather get an infection or get pregnant.