Alex's Answer

Can we legally consent at 17 years

Your Question

If me and my girlfriend are both 17 years of age can we both legally consent to have sex and have sex


Hi there, 

You’re very welcome to Ask Alex. You’re wondering if you and your girlfriend can legally consent and have sex at 17. Thank you for your question, it’s a really important one. 

The short answer is yes. In Ireland, the legal age to consent to any sexual activity is 17 years. There are some things to consider, even though you are both 17 years old. 

Consent is incredibly important, which you mention in your question. It’s vital that both you and your girlfriend consent to what’s happening (i.e. you both agree you want to engage in any sexual activity), and that you’re doing something because you want to, and not because you feel under pressure. 

Communication is a key part of any relationship, particularly if you are considering having sex with your partner. This can be something that people might think is going to be awkward or not necessary to talk about, but it’s so important to ensure that you and your girlfriend feel safe and respected by each other.

People can feel ready for different things at different stages too, so something you might be comfortable with, your girlfriend might not be, and vice versa. Take the time to have a conversation with each other, and what you’re both comfortable with. It’s also important to say that just because you consent to something, doesn’t mean you have to continue with it if you feel uncomfortable. You have the right to change your mind at any time (as does your girlfriend). Take some time to think about how you feel, consider what you feel comfortable with, and whether it’s something that you want to do, or you feel under any pressure. 

When you’re thinking about having sex, you also need to think about your sexual health and how to look after it, to protect you and your partner from STI’s (Sexually Transmitted Infections) or an unplanned pregnancy. Having a conversation about what contraception and protection options would work for you and your girlfriend is also essential. Here is an article that goes through some options for protecting your sexual health It may help with deciding what would work best for your relationship Here are more articles which may be helpful for you and (what is consent in a sexual relationship) 

If you want to talk about this in a safe space where no one will judge you, Childline is here 24/7. You can get us by Live Chat through or phone at 1800 66 66 66.

We hope what we’ve said will be helpful for you and wish you all the best with your relationship. 

Take care, 


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