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Legal Questions

"What happens if two people underage have sex?"

The age at which it is legal to have sex is called the age of consent. In the UK and Jersey the age of consent is 16 years old for everyone, whether they want to have sex with someone of the same or opposite sex.

Under the age of 16 any sort of sexual touching is illegal.

The age of consent law was designed to protect young people from harm rather than to prosecute them. If you are under 16 and you are having sex, you may not be prosecuted as long as there is not a large age difference between you and your partner and you both consent (are happy) to have sex and there is no evidence of any exploitation. However, you should ask for advice if you are at all worried and never agree to have sex, whatever age you are, if you do not want to.

Even if you are under 16 you still have the same rights to confidentiality as anyone else and you should not be treated any differently.

 Doctors and nurses have very strict rules on confidentiality and the law says they have to keep all patient records and information completely private.

In exceptional circumstances, like when a doctor or health worker thinks you might be in serious danger, they might feel there is a need to pass information on but, even if they do, they must talk to you first before they tell anyone else. This applies to everyone, no matter what age you are.

"What is the normal age gap?"

Although there is no official right or wrong age gap, it’s generally accepted that young people in relationships, may have a boyfriend or girlfriend that is a couple of years older or younger than them. So for example, if a girl was 14 years old, and she had a boyfriend that was 16 years old, that would probably be ok, but if a young person was involved in a relationship with someone that was significantly older than them, it may be something that would be a bit worrying for a whole number of reasons. If someone wasn’t sure if the age gap in their relationship was ok, it’s a good idea to talk it through with a professional, like a counsellor at one of the Brook clinics. 

"I have a girlfriend, we've done a lot of stuff but not sex, we almost did, is this normal?"

It’s really important to remember that ‘stuff’, oral sex (blowjobs) or touching genitals (fingering/hand-jobs) is legally classed as sexual activity, so if this is something that you and your partner are doing or have done, don’t forget what the law says about under 16's and sexual activity.

It would probably be a good idea to visit a young people friendly sexual health and relationship service to talk to a health professional, not only because oral sex and sexual touching can carry some risk of sexually transmitted infections, but also because if you feel that sexual intercourse nearly happened, you need to get contraception and condoms sorted out.

It’s also a good opportunity to discuss whether or not you are ready to go that bit further. With sex, it's only right to take the plunge if you absolutely feel like you're ready and you really want to.

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