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Stuck Wondering - Does Sex At 13 Ruin Things?

Published: September 19, 2012
Dear Stuck Wondering - Does Sex At 13 Ruin Things?,

I am a 13 year old girl and was wondering if having sex does 'ruin' your life academically and friendships like my teacher said. Is this true? Because I really like a guy but I am not sure about sex because of what this teacher said Signed, Stuck wondering


Dear Stuck Wondering - Does Sex At 13 Ruin Things?,

TeenHealthFX doesn’t want to put words into your teacher’s mouth in terms of what he/she meant by “ruin” things. So if you are having questions or concerns about your teacher’s statement, we suggest that you ask your teacher to elaborate on what exactly he/she meant.

What FX will say is that we think 13 years old is way too young to be having sex. There is so much going on in terms of intellectual, emotional and social growth at this age – to throw sex into the mix can bring on some significant problems. One of the things your teacher might have meant in mentioning academics and friendships, is that people who start sexual relationships at too young an age often get too focused and fixated on those sexual relationships, and lose focus on other important areas of their lives. Schoolwork and friendships can easily get neglected – and at 13, these are two major areas which are needed for personal growth and development. The younger a person is when they start a sexual relationship, the less likely they are going to be able to balance the different areas of his/her life.

To be sexually active in a healthy way, you have to consider the following:

  • Do you know how pregnancy occurs and how STDs are transmitted?
  • Are you ready to take responsibility to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of STDs?
  • Will you feel comfortable talking to your parents and meeting with your doctor if you do get pregnant or contract an STD?
  • Do you feel comfortable talking to your partner about things like STD testing, safer sex, and what does and doesn’t feel comfortable to you when it comes to sex?
  • Are you emotionally ready to handle all of the complicated feelings that go along with having sex with someone?
  • Why do you want to have sex? Is it just to fit in, because you have a crush on someone, or to experiment? Or do you have a close, intimate relationship with someone and sex is about both of you really being in love?
  • How does having sex (especially the idea of sex before marriage) fit in with any religious, cultural or personal beliefs?
  • How would your parents feel if they knew you were having sex? There is always the possibility they could find out – are you willing to deal with this with them?

These are just some of the many things to think about when it comes to determining sexual readiness. If you want to read more about knowing when the time is right, read our answer to 13 With a BF – When Should I Have Sex? and Want To Have Sex, But Not Sure If I Am Ready, and Planned Parenthood’s article Am I Ready For Sex?. But remember that we do think 13 is too young to have sex, and since sex is such a big thing, we do think sex should be about more than “there is a boy I like.” FX can understand that there are probably a lot of things you are thinking about and feeling regarding sex – so if you have questions or concerns about the thoughts and feelings you are having, we strongly recommend you discuss them with a trusted adult such as your teacher, your parents, a school nurse, your doctor, an extended family member, or any other adult you know and trust who can be there for you with guidance and support.

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