Deciding to have sex for the first time is a huge decision particularly during your teenage years.
Psychologist Jessica Valentine gives her thoughts on sex, feeling comfortable and ready and not giving in to peer pressure.
- Having sex for the first time is one of the biggest decisions that you will make in your life so how do you know that you are ready?
I don't think you're ever ready. I think it's like marriage.
- Many will begin thinking about sex in their teens and will be desperate to keep up with their friends so what tips can you give for battling peer pressure?
Follow your heart. If it feels uncomfortable DON"T DO IT! Your peers will experiment and that is fine; however, often experimentation could lead into a trickier situation.
- How influential has peer pressure becoming in teens losing their virginity?
I have never felt that peer pressure to loose virginity. I think it matters where you live and what sort of people you surround yourself with.
The girls down south in America who lost their virginity usually ended up pregnant. Up North where I lived when I went to a private school no one spoke of 'sex' happening. Everyone was on birth control and it was very much a more hush hush thing.
- How important is foreplay in first time sex?
If you've watched the Twilight Series foreplay is the build up to not having sex. For Bella and Edward playing chess and the build up of their emotions is foreplay.
That first time feeling of sexual experience is not really the same as an older and more experienced sexual experience. I am not sure that young peoples' first time having sex is all about orgasms and having fun.
It's just all about the first time. All of these expectations of having sex. Will he pop my cherry (will I bleed) or am I supposed to be feeling pleasure. It may be all confusing the first time.
I would just probably disregard your first time. I also think it depends on what age you have sex for this first time and under what circumstance. I think that makes all the difference.
- The movies paint first time sex to be this wonderful experience - in reality what should everyone expect?
An experience that may last one second. A lot of mixed and misunderstood feelings.
- Some will regret how and with whom they lost their virginity what advice have for people who want to move on from that experience?
Block it out if you can. As much as I try to erase my first time I remember it very clearly. You can't look back!
- Sex and women (in particular) being sexualised is all around us on TV in the movies & glossy magazines how much of an effect is this having on young people?
Huge effect. When growing up I wasn't allowed to have magazines and now that I am older I can understand why. I think many actresses and models dress a certain way or look a certain way and young people are attracted to to that. If they put some ugly girl on the cover of a magazine I am not sure people would buy it- sex sells.
- How important is sex in the early stages of a relationship?
I think sex is important. It is one of Maslow's hierarchy of needs along with food, sleep and water. However, I think the key thing here is at what age are you having sex and if you are being responsible or not.
A young woman of 17 having sex may not be really worried about intimacy and making sure the guy is the right guy. She may just be thinking 'when are we going to have sex again.'
An woman with more experience with relationships might think 'he is a good lover'. In the end, sex is part of a relationship. There are a lot of attributes that make a strong foundation for a healthy, loving relationship.