Teenage sexual development
When and how a child or young person develops sexual interests will depend on lots of things, such as when their pubertal development begins, their life experiences, and what’s expected within their culture and family.
Whatever the case for your child, you can support them so that any sexual encounters they do have are respectful, informed and desirable for everyone involved.
Positive sexual encounters (across the full range from kissing, to messaging chats, to sexual intercourse) have a few things in common:
Shared enthusiasm – people only do things they are both enthusiastic about, without any force, persuasion or trickery involved. There are mutual positive emotions and an absence of negative ones. It is always OK to withdraw at any stage from sexual activity, and signals to this effect are responded to and respected.
Equality. Sexual activity takes place in equal relationships, in which people are equally able to agree to, say no to, and withdraw from the activity without fear of negative consequences.
Empathy. Before, during and after, people think about, care about and respond to their own and the other person’s feelings.
Communication. People check in with one another about their feelings and preferences.
Knowledge. They have a clear awareness of who the other person is, Both people understand, their approach to the sexual encounter, and any risks it might involve. There isn’t any deception or withholding of relevant information.
There are certain sexual situations in which its much harder to follow these principles – these include those involving:
- Alcohol or drugs
- Sending sexual images
- More than two people
- Between people who have only recently met
… so these scenarios are best avoided.