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Young people and sexual health

Your sexual health and wellbeing is important and looking after your sexual health can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.

Being confident about your sexual health can also help in developing positive relationships.

Enjoying a sexual relationship can be very rewarding and satisfying when it is consensual. If either person is not comfortable or isn’t sure, there is nothing wrong with saying no.

Although there's a legal age of consent, it’s not necessarily the right age for you to begin having sex.

A survey of the behaviour and attitudes of young people in Northern Ireland indicated that the majority (89%) of pupils in Years 11 and 12 had not had sexual intercourse.4

Having sexual intercourse at an early age has been linked to unprotected sex, increased risk of STIs and unplanned pregnancy.5,16

People aged 16-34 represent one quarter of the population In Northern Ireland.6 However, this age group accounts for 83% of STIs (of those STIs for which age breakdown detail is available).7

Excess alcohol consumption can be linked to a number of sexual health issues, including regretted sex, unprotected sex, STIs and teen pregnancy. 2,3

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