Relationships and Sex

Your Parents

In your teens, parents often seem like the last people you’d want to talk about sex with. They might seem closed up or even fast to judge. Just remember that for them, it’s a challenge to accept that their daughter/son is no longer a child as well. So cut them some slack. And if you think that they know nothing about sex or what you are going through – just remember they did go through with it to have you, so they can’t be completely oblivious. Even more, they probably know you are at least considering having sex at some point (if not already having it), or maybe they have even given you the dreaded “talk”. In any way, consider talking honestly to them. That will show them that you are not hiding anything and value their advice – they might be more open to the honest talk after that.

If you prefer to talk to a neutral person instead – it’s understandable. Consider talking to one of the professional councilors at our centre, who will tell you in detail what to expect and answer your most personal questions without judgement or reserve.

Your Friends

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. Talking to your friends might be a good idea – they 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, or having sexual intercourse. Or you may not always like the way they behave towards you.

Remember that 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.

Sexual Relationships

Once puberty has arrived, you may find yourself having new sexual thoughts and feelings. You will probably begin to feel sexually attracted to the people of the opposite sex or to people of the same sex, or both. You are most likely curious about sex and may 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 intercourse. In fact, it is important for you to feel ready, not only physically, but emotionally as well.

If you do feel that you are ready, you might want to get the important information to know what to expect. And, yes, we know that you have probably got all the details from your “more experienced” friends or Internet (please, please don’t believe everything you see/read there!), but we are talking about practical advise, in particular in regards to contraception and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

You might think you know how to use a condom (how hard can it be, right?), but there is a big chance you don’t.

Our centre offers free condom demonstrations and free condoms as well.

There are plenty of fun staff to enjoy without having an actual sexual intercourse. 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 So 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 and preferencies.

Some people opt in for unplanned sex, which has a high risk of resulting in a crisis pregnancy or picked up Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Remember to take care of yourself EVERY time!

Remember that:

  • Some people have sexual intercourse before they are ready and regret it,

  • Some people get pregnant or get a sexually transmitted infection on their first sexual encounter,

  • Some people have their first sexual experience while drunk (some so drunk that they cannot remember what they did or even if they did it).

If you start your sexual life in a way that does not suit you, 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 yourself, not just to please other people. The most important thing is to do what you are happy and comfortable doing, to respect yourself and your partner’s 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.

You can read more about Consent and why it is important here.

Remember that:

  • Although we always hear ”everyone is at it”, the truth is very often this is just wishful thinking,

  • There are lots of people out there who want to wait a while before having sex,

  • When people don’t make their own choices about sex, they very often end up being hurt and confused,

  • If you decide not to have sex it’s OK and you should not let other people pressure you into having sex.


Sexuality is a fundamental part of being human. It means much more than sex and sexual intercourse. lt’s 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. Sexuality 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.

Cara, a young peer educator at the Sexual Health Centre says…

Here are some helpful hints and guidelines for relationships, friendships and crushes! As everyone grows at different rates, people develop relationships at different stages, I learned that sometimes you just have to wait for the right person to come along... Trust is so important! To be comfortable with each other, confident to open up and get to know each other and have fun. Knowing your boundaries, knowing what you do / don’t want from your relationship. Don’t let your partner pressurise you into anything.

If you require our support or more information, don’t hesitate to ring our Helpline on 021 427 66 76 or drop-in!