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Let's talk about sex

Sex. It can be complicated.

Before we start, a big thanks to the lowdown for sharing this info with us. 

There’s so much wrapped up in the subject of sex and lots of mixed messages.

There are the safety issues. The new experiences and highs and lows of relationships. There’s how sex works in with your own identity and your ideas of who you are, as well as other people’s expectations and ideas about who you are. The list goes on… 

The whole issue of sex can be stressful!  

It’s totally normal to find it all confusing and it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed, no matter how old you are. But it’s especially easy to get overwhelmed when it’s new to you and you’re still sorting out what you want, who you are and who you want to be. You're also probably hearing different opinions from all kinds of different places. Who do you listen to? Your mates? TV? Church? Your parents? Online?

The answer is pretty simple – you.

Having a good time with your partner is all about figuring out what you’re both into. Saying what you want (and what you don’t want) is key. At the end of the day it’s your body and no-one should be pressuring you. 

If you’re getting really caught up in someone, take a step back and double-check you’re actually happy and safe. It’s always good to make sure that you keep your other friends and don’t get too isolated.

It helps with keeping perspective, feeling supported and having a sound-board to talk about your feelings outside of the relationship. Are you being treated with love and respect? Do they listen to what you say? Are they nice to you? If not, then they’re not worth it. When someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person, it’s bullying, even if you are in a sexual relationship. When a toxic relationship starts making you feel bad about yourself, it could lead to bigger problems like anxiety or depression.  

Feelings around sex are complicated enough, but if you’re gay,bi, transgender, or just not sure, then things can get really tricky. It’s hard trying to work out who you are and who you’re attracted to, but it’s all part of growing up and it’s totally up to you.  

Sometimes, though, expectations from whānau, friends and society to act a certain way become overwhelming.

Here are some more questions you could ask yourself if you are feeling pressure about having sex.

If you feel like you’re worried for your safety, you can contact Are You OK or Women's Refuge. If you are behaving abusively in your relationship and want to change, you can call Stopping Violence Services 0800 4SVSSVS (0800 478 778). Or if you need sexual health advice, try Family Planning.