Home page: For Young People: Am I old enough?

Am I old enough to have sex?

"You have to be within two years of the other person if you are between 12-15" Lindy, aged 13

The decision about whether to have sex is very personal and very individual. Some people will be ready earlier than others. Some people will be in relationships and some people won't.

The important thing is that you trust the person you're going to be with and you feel comfortable and safe enough to say what you want and what you feel. Talking to someone you trust about it - maybe even someone a bit older - can really help if you're confused. The most important thing is that you want to have sex, you feel comfortable and you don't feel forced.

Even though it's an individual thing, the law is there to protect people who are young and could be vulnerable to other people who want to have sex with them for the wrong reasons. A 14 year-old girl, for example, might really love her 20 year-old boyfriend but chances are he's going out with her for very different reasons.

CHECKLIST #4...are you old enough?

In Victoria, Australia the law says you should be at the age of consent before you're ready to have sex....Which rule applies to YOU?

»» if someone is between 12 and 15 only a person who is within two calendar years of their age can have sex with them, touch them sexually or perform a sexual act in front of them. It doesn't matter if they agree - difference in age is the most important thing.

»» if someone is 16 or 17 no one who is caring for them or supervising them (like a teacher, youth worker or foster carer) can have sex with them or touch them sexually …... even if they agree.

»» if someone is 18 or over they're recognised by the law as an adult. Who they have sex with is pretty much up to them, as long as there's free agreement.

[ If you want more info on the age of consent, check out this link: http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/583.htm ]