Q & A

  • I’m a virgin and my girlfriend says we should have sex. I’m afraid she’ll dump me if I don’t but to be honest I don’t think I’m really ready for sex yet – what should I do?

    You should never feel pressured into sexual activity with somebody else, even if they are a boyfriend or girlfriend. If they really care for you then they will respect your decision. An important part of a relationship is honest and open communication so you should try to explain the way that you are feeling to your boyfriend or girlfriend.

    You can find useful advice about being ready for sex here and further information about sex and relationships on the Brook website.

  • My boyfriend keeps buying me presents and then says that I need to have sex with him but I don’t want to. Is this ok?

    You should never feel under pressure to have sex. Making you feel guilty by swapping sex for gifts is not right. Remember, you must agree freely, without being pressured, to any sexual contact you have with somebody else. If somebody takes advantage of you sexually without your permission then this is rape and it is a crime. Remember, the age of sexual consent is 16.

    Find out more about the signs of being used in a relationship and how to get help here.

  • What can I do if I think I’m being used in a relationship?

    If you think you might be being used in your relationship, don’t keep it bottled up inside. You should speak to a parent/carer, teacher, youth worker or social worker who will be able to offer advice on what you can do. Alternatively, you may decide to talk to a trusted friend.

    There are a number of organisations who you can phone to talk to about your worries including Brook on 0808 802 1234 and ChildLine on 0800 1111.

  • Am I in an abusive relationship?

    Abuse in a relationship is when someone tries to control, intimidate or hurt their partner to take advantage of them and abuse them. The abuse can take many different forms, it can be physical, emotional or sexual.

    Signs of abuse in a relationships can include: a partner telling you what you can and can’t wear; a partner making you feel guilty for spending time with your friends rather than them; a partner using threats or violence to control you; a partner forcing you to do sexual things with them or with other people; a partner saying what you can and can’t spend your money on.

    Everyone has bad days but if your partner regularly makes you feel bad about yourself or you feel that you are always walking on eggshells around them, you could be in an abusive relationship. Abuse in a relationship is not okay and you don’t have to put up with it. You should talk to someone you trust, or speak to someone at ChildLine on 0800 1111 or Brook on 0808 802 1234. The This is abuse site also has lots of advice about abuse in teen relationships, including a directory of confidential support services.

  • What is sexual exploitation?

    Sexual exploitation is when someone takes advantage of you sexually, for their own benefit. They may threaten, bribe, show violence or humiliate you to try and gain control over you. They may tell you that they love you in order to get you to do sexual things with them or other people.

    Learn more about sexual exploitation and how to spot the signs here