During your teens you will probably become more involved with your friends and more independent of your parents. As your hormones are changing and you are becoming more independent, you may be more likely to fly off the handle and probably have more arguments with people – especially your parents. It is a difficult time for them too as they have to live with your changing moods and learn to accept that you are no longer a child. Can you talk to your parents about your changing feelings?
Teenage years can be very exciting and great fun. But you may also feel very lonely and insecure. You may feel jealous, excluded and insecure at times. It is good to get in touch with your own thoughts and feelings and learn to express them. Your friends are probably going through the same things.
As well as being supportive, some of your friends may be urging you to do things you are not comfortable with, such as smoking, drinking, taking drugs, having sexual intercourse. Or you may not always like the way they behave towards you. You have a right to be yourself and to make your own decisions and so do your friends. Learning to be assertive, to take responsibility for your life are useful skills for relationships and sexual health.
Once puberty has arrived you may start finding yourself having a lot of new sexual thoughts and feelings. You will probably begin to feel sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex or to people of the same sex, or both. You may become curious about sex and start experimenting.
The age of consent for sexual intercourse in Ireland is 17
How do you want to start your sexual life?
While there is no set pattern to good sexual relationships, you can have fun, be safe and learn useful skills by not rushing into sexual intercurse. Looking, flirting, chatting up, hanging out, dating, breaking up, touching, holding hands, kissing, French kissing, talking, fondling outside clothes, fondling under clothes, stroking of genitals etc. are all part of developing sexual relations.
Sex is much more than sexual intercourse!
Remember to talk to your partner about how you and they feel.
It is important that you both know each others sexual histories.
Some people have unplanned sex, risking pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Remember to take care of yourself EVERY time! Some people get caught up into behaving in negative ways just because they make a few mistakes.
If you start your sexual life in a way that does not suit, you can change. You can say no at any stage in a relationship if that is what you want. You are more likely to enjoy your sexual experiences if you wait until you feel ready and you want it for yourself, not just to please the other people. The most important thing is to do what you are happy and comfortable doing, to respect yourself and your partners sexual health.
Rape and Sexual Abuse
A sexual act is abusive when you or your partner do not consent to it, are pressurised or intimidated into having sex. If you are forced, threatened, pressurised, tricked or intimidated into sex or you do these to another person, then this is abusive. It is NEVER right.
Child sexual abuse is when a child is used by another person for his or her pleasure or sexual arousal or for that of others. If you are worried about sexual abuse, please contact a Rape Crisis or Sexual Violence Centre which supports people who have been sexually assaulted or abused.
Sexuality is a fundamental part of being human. It means much more than sex and sexual intercourse. lt is what drives us to develop relationships where we can be sensual, loving and intimate. It influences our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Our feelings about sexuality are an important influence on our sexual health.
Sexuality and Disability
People with disabilities have sexual needs and feelings. If you have a disability you might find that these needs, thoughts and feelings are often not recognised, even by people who really care for you. Many people with disabilities say they feel very lonely and find it hard to have good sexual relationships. Many others say that their disability does not interfere. Sensuality is about being sensual as well as being sexual. Our country is slowly changing so that there is less prejudice against people with disabilities and greater recognition of your rights.