i’m 14, he’s 17 – should we have sex?

Dear Suzie,
I’m 14 years old and my boyfriend is 17 in November. We’re both virgins and I think he wants sex, but I don’t think I’m ready. He told me he loved me and I love him – but my friends think he’s lying just to have sex. We’ve been together for 4 months. Is this puppy love or is this jus a plan to have sex? Please help me I’m so worried about it all.

I would never diss the feelings young people have for each other as ‘puppy love’. Just because it may be your first love or I know it’s not going to last very long doesn’t mean it’s not powerful or real. He may be spinning you a line to get you to have sex with him; he may be genuinely, madly in love with you and want to express those feelings I don’t know – only you can find out by asking him. I have to say that a three year gap when you’re 14 is a bit much – if you were my friend or indeed my daughter I’d have some doubts about this young man. But, actually, neither is the real point. The real point is do you want to have sex with him? Oh, and would he be breaking the law if he had sex with you?

The answer to the second question is Yes. He’s 17, you’re 14 so as far as the law is concerned he’d be having sex with a minor, someone who is not considered able to give consent. He could be in trouble if you and he went any further than kissing and cuddling until you’re 16.

But I think the first question is the most important and the answer to that is clearly No. You’re not ready to have sex with him yet. And it doesn’t matter how much he wants it, how much he might love you – your feelings are more important here than his. If it’s no, it’s no. You’re acting as if the power of his desire is the only important thing – as if, in fact, you’re there to give him what he wants if he wants it. Last time I looked, women were not slaves to men. In fact, women have fought and died over the last century for your rights to be seen as important as a man’s, so be grateful for their efforts and recognize if you don’t want to have sex, sex shouldn’t happen.

Whether he loves you or is simply trying to get you into bed, it sounds as if the best thing you can do is say you love him and would prefer to stay the way you are at the moment; loving but not lovers. Enjoy the feelings and the relationship but recognize having sex is a very big step. Most young people who have early sex say after they wish they had waited.

The average age to have first sex, BTW, is 17. And having sex without planning contraception and protection is just plain stupid. If I were you, I would wait at least another couple of years. When it’s the right time and the right man you’ll know. And one way of knowing is when both of you have the confidence and the relationship that allows you to talk it over first and make sure you’re both equally committed to each other and are prepared to take measures that protect you both from infection and pregnancy.

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