There are a number of things that are important to consider before having sex.

Legal age

In Ireland, the legal age to give consent, or willingly agree, to having sexual intercourse, is 17. It is against the law for someone who is under 17 to have sex, even if both they and their partner want to have sex.


Giving sexual consent means that you willingly agree, without being put under pressure, forced, scared, drunk, or on drugs, to be involved in sexual activity such as touching, taking naked pictures or having sexual intercourse.

There are some important things to know about consent before you have a sexual relationship with someone:

Deciding to have sex with someone

Sometimes, when you have had a relationship with someone for a while, you might both decide that you would like to have sex.

If you are over the age of 17, you can legally consent to having sex with another person. It is important, however, that you feel ready first. The only person who will know if you are ready is you. 

There are some things you should think about before you have sex with someone:

Safe sex

If you do decide to have sex, it is important that you use contraception to protect against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

You should feel comfortable with the person you are going to have sex with and that means you should be able to talk to that person about contraception. 

No-one has the right to make you have sex without using contraception.


There are lots of different kinds of contraception and each kind works in a different way.

The most common forms of contraception include condoms and the contraceptive pill.

If you are thinking of having sex with someone and want information on what contraception is available to you, you can speak to your local GP or nurse or a family planning clinic. It might feel a bit embarrassing, but doctors and nurses talk about that kind of thing all the time and they are there to help. 

Support is available

If you would like to get more information about consent, sex and contraception, visit:

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