Teen Talk

Teen Talk: No need to rush – sex at age 15 is too much too soon

By Kelly Richardson

DEAR KELLY: I’m only 15, but I really want to have sex. Is now a good time?

Not Telling My Name

DEAR NOT TELLING: Good question. I’m glad you asked.

If you are wondering if it’s a good time, it’s not the right time. The only time you should have sex is when you know, without a doubt, you are ready to have sex and all that comes with it.

I don’t want to seem like I’m judging you or saying you are a little kid, but 15 years old feels young to be making such a mature decision that has so many potential risks. I know many mature 15-year-olds and I’m sure you feel like a responsible young person or possibly, “I’m more mature than other kids my age.” You are still young and you have many life experiences ahead that will help mold you into the person you will become. The decision to have sex so early can change those life experiences and alter the path you are traveling on. One decision can make a big difference in the direction of our life.

If you are not in a relationship and want to just have sex to “get it done,” then please do not go down that road. Sex is not a casual thing you want to do with just anyone. If you want to have sex because you want to know what all the hype is about or because everyone is talking about it and you want to know why, then please know now is not a good time. Hold off rushing the process until you know it is for the right reasons, which should involve being in a committed, mature relationship and being in love and being with a partner who loves you as well. Just being curious is not a good reason to decide to have sex.

Many teenagers rush into having sex because they feel like “everyone else is doing it.” While it may appear that way, by no means is it true. There are always a few outspoken ones who talk about it or share their experiences like a badge of honor, but if you look or listen closely you will find many teenagers who are not having sex because they know they are not ready. Those teens are not talking about it but their silence doesn’t mean they are ashamed or embarrassed – they are just keeping something that should be kept private, private.

Sex is not just an act, it is an emotion. It encompasses so much more than just what you do. It is about how you feel, who you are with and why you are choosing to be intimate with that person. Before you have sex you need to ask yourself some honest questions about why you are wanting to take this step and what you hope to get from it.

If you are in a committed relationship and you think you are ready to have sex, ask yourself these questions: Will this be someone I trust completely? Do he care about me as much as I care about him? Is there mutual love and respect? Am I in love, or am I in like? Am I looking for love? Am I doing this to rush the commitment? Am I doing this because I feel pressure? Will I regret this if we break up? What are my beliefs and values, and am I being true to them? What emotional risks are involved with a decision like this? What are the physical risks? Are we ready to be parents if I get pregnant? What are my expectations? Am I doing this for him, or for me? Am I just doing this to be cool? Am I aware that I can I change my mind, even if I said yes? Am I prepared for safe sex? Am I really ready, or am I unsure?

While that may seem like a lot of questions, it’s a pretty big decision and should not be taken lightly. Make sure that alcohol and drugs are not involved in your decision as well. Being drunk and having sex for the first time is not kind to yourself or being smart about your choices. Make sure your decision is well thought out and well planned and that it is 100 percent your decision and not to please your partner or your friends.

Respect yourself enough to strongly consider all that comes with having sex. Stay 15, don’t rush into being an adult and making adult decisions. There are so many other ways to connect to your partner besides having sex. Value yourself enough to not risk regretting this decision. Focus on school, your friends, your future, having fun and learning about who you want to become.

Write to Kelly Richardson at Teen Talk, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15880, Sacramento, CA 95852, or email krichardson@sacbee.com.