It's very normal to masturbate. Most people do at some point in their lives, and continue to do so, even if they are in a relationship. It doesn't mean someone is sad or desperate if they masturbate; it's part of human sexuality and self-expression and is also an important part of learning about what you enjoy sexually. There are no rules about how much or how little someone should masturbate and it is common for people your age to masturbate regularly. Just make sure you are masturbating in a private place like your bedroom or bathroom.

There are a number of things to keep in mind when you are entering a sexual relationship. Firstly there is the issue of consent.  By law, in QLD, a person under the age of 16 cannot give consent.  Consent needs to be free, willing and enthusiastic, so spend a bit of time thinking yourself, and talking to your partner about your feelings and readiness for a sexual relationship.  Are you both able to speak freely to each about what you are comfortable doing, and any boundaries that you have?  Are you confident that you both feel the same way and no one is feeling pressured by expectations?  You have the responsibility to ensure that your partner feels safe and supported, and they have the responsibility as well to ensure that you feel the same way. 

Establishing those great communication skills and a healthy and free relationship is a great start, but remember as well that consent is an ongoing conversation.  You or your partner can stop or change your mind, and it’s both of your responsibility to make sure you check in and make sure that you have consent throughout.  This doesn’t have to be weird or awkward - just ask ‘is this ok?”, or “do you like that?” and it can be a fun and sexy part of sex. 

There are also responsibilities around sexual health. Some people like to go for a sexual health check before entering a sexual relationship with a new partner.  Not only do you ensure that you are healthy, but it also gives you the opportunity to discuss any questions you may have with a health professional.  Even after a health check it is always important to use protection such as condoms, which protect against sexually transmitted infections as well as helping to prevent unwanted pregnancy.  Well done for thinking about responsibilities before taking this step in your life! 

~ Bonnie 

The legal age to consent to have sex in Queensland is 16. When we say sex, we mean sexual intercourse which is when a penis, finger, object or any part of a person is fully or partially inside another person’s vagina or anus. This is called penetration. This legal age applies to all people, including people in same-sex and heterosexual relationships.  At 16 years old, people reach the age of consent, which means in the eyes of the law they are viewed to have general sexual competence to enforce personal boundaries and negotiate the risks involved in sexual activities.

~ Christie  

Some people become interested in having a boyfriend or girlfriend at an early age, others are not interested until they are well into being an adult.  There is no magical age that tells you when you can and cannot start dating.   

However, parents and carers’ rules about relationships play a part here too.  If your parents have told you that you must be a certain age to date and you keep a relationship secret from them, it will be difficult for them to help if you need support and advice.  Relationships can be tricky, and you may need the support from your family at some stage. 

In any case,  regardless of age, it is important that if you do decide that you want to start dating someone, that you ask for their consent and communicate this with them. You both must also be mature enough to follow basic relationship rights and responsibilities, such as respecting one another as an equal, giving yourself and them space to spend time with other friends and family, and ensuring you both are free to express yourselves respectfully without any pressure or threats. 

If you feel you and the person you are interested in understand how to be a respectful partner and will not pressure each other to do anything that you are not ready for, that is more important than any particular age. 

~ Bonnie