Q What do you do or say to help if your friend is in an unhealthy relationship?
It can be really hard to watch your close friend stay in an unhealthy relationship but the most important thing you can do is to be there for your friend and support them no matter what their decision is (if they stay in the relationship or break up).
Talking and listening to your friend shows that you care and this may also help your friend realise that they may not be in a respectful relationship. It’s important not to blame your friend for the relationship or tell them to leave. Instead ask them if there is anything you can do to help, let them know about the support services in school or in your community that may be helpful. For more information check out our page on Intimate Partner Violence for tips on what to do & say to a friend who may be in an unhealthy relationship.
Q My bf/gf wants to use sex toys during foreplay and intercourse, but I’m not really into it. How do I tell my partner this without hurting their feelings?
It’s great that you have identified what you like and don’t like in a sexual relationship. Communication is the key to handling this situation. You should discuss this issue with your partner honestly and explain to them that you are not interested in using sex toys for pleasure. If you are in a healthy relationship your partner will understand and respect your sexual limits. You should talk to your partner about other ways to increase pleasure which will satisfy you both. If your partner does respect your decision to not use sex toys then you need to really consider whether you are in a healthy and respectful relationship.
Q My boyfriend/girlfriend wants to go to second base. What is second base?
It depends on who you ask... the definition of what second base is seems to change from person to person, group to group and website to website. The only sure fire way of working out what second base is, is asking your partner what they mean by second base. Even though your partner wants to go to second base, remember it’s your choice as well.
Q My dad abused my mother – does that mean I will be in an abusive relationship?
Abuse is a learned behaviour. Sometimes people see it growing up. Other times they learn it from friends or popular culture. But, no matter where it's learned, it's not ok and it's never justified. Many people experience or witness abuse growing up and decide not to use those negative and hurtful ways of behaving. It's important to know that being abusive is a choice - and it’s not one that you have to make. Likewise, if you’re concerned that you may be abused because you witnessed abuse growing up, it’s important to learn about respectful relationships, the early warning signs of intimate partner violence, and develop a healthy self esteem and self respect. If you grew up in a violent home you may want to talk to a counsellor to help you sort through your feelings.
Q How will I know if I have the right hole?
Obviously this is referencing heterosexual sex. Firstly, it’s ok for you to ask her to help. Have your partner guide you. This means that you also know she is comfortable. Also, our bodies are built so that when a couple is in what is called ‘missionary position’ (that is when the man is on top and the woman is on the bottom facing him) it is very difficult for the penis to penetrate the anus.
Q Do guys know when they’re going to come so that during sex they can pull out without making the girl pregnant?
Withdrawal is an ineffective method of contraception for younger people. Younger men tend to ejaculate much more quickly; sex with partners is newer to them so it's tougher for young men to anticipate when their orgasm is going to happen or has even started happening; younger people are often just learning how to communicate with each other well about and during sex; and young people are also often more fertile than their older counterparts. These are some reasons why even advocates for withdrawal overall will express that it is not often the best choice for young people.
It also gives zero protection against STI’s!
Q How do I tell if my boyfriend/ girlfriend is just using me for sex?
If your partner wants to be sexually active every time you’re together and is reluctant to do anything else with you then they may be using you for sex. Some people find communicating verbally very difficult and prefer to communicate by showing you affection though their sexual actions, however if you feel that they might be using you, chances are that something is not quite right in your relationship.
Q Why are women always half naked and men fully clothed in music vids?
It’s pretty silly isn’t it? It’s not just in music vids though – it seems that a lot of popular culture believes that women should be half (or mostly!) naked while the men that they are dancing around are fully clothed. This buys in to the idea that women are sexually available ALL of the time and that men want sex ALL of the time and are entitled to sex all of the time – but not with real women, only with sexually available women who are skinny, tanned, big breasted, big bootied and very flexible. Doesn’t sound much like real life does it?
Q Can you have sex before you hit puberty?
Biologically, sex is about reproduction and puberty is the body making it ready to reproduce. It is also illegal in Queensland to have vaginal sex under the age of 16 and anal sex under the age of 18. Emotionally, young people who have not yet reached puberty are unable to fully realise and recognise the implications and consequences of being sexually active.
Q What is the best way to handle a situation if you don’t give consent and they continue?
If you have been sexually assaulted the most important thing to remember is that it’s not your fault. This is a really frightening situation to be in and can make you feel extremely disempowered. Because all of us are different and every situation is different we may react in different ways. It’s important to remember that if you haven’t given consent and the other person continues they have committed a sexual crime.
Usually when we are confronted by a threat, our survival instinct will kick in and there are several ways we might respond. We could either go into what is called a flight, fight or freeze mode. Whatever your instinctive reaction is it’s important to realise that you have done exactly what you needed to do in that moment to keep yourself safe and the only person at fault is the person that sexually assaulted you. If you have been sexually assaulted there is a number support options available check out our Sexual Assault page for more information.
Q What do you do when your friend’s ex boyfriend/girlfriend likes you and you like them?
This can be really tricky. If your friendship is important to you – you should talk with your friend first about your feelings. Although this may be hard, going behind your friend’s back and secretly seeing their ex can create much bigger problems and damage your friendship. Keep in mind that bringing this up may piss your friend off. Practising what to say to your friend first may help.
Q How will I know when I’m ready to have sex?
Only you can decide when you are ready to have sex. Sex is both a physical and an emotional experience so it’s important that you feel comfortable and can openly communicate with your partner about sex. Before you have sex it is important to talk about how you feel about each other while also considering contraception and possible consequences such as STI’s, unplanned pregnancies and how sex may change the relationship. Remember that all parties of sexual activity need to give their informed consent. It is also important to think about why you want to have sex. Some people decide to have sex for reasons they might regret later, for example; deciding to have sex because all of your friends are having sex may mean that you are not ready to have sex.
Q Do girls abuse their male partners?
Male partners can be the victims of abuse in relationships. This is true for both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. However, it’s important to note that in at least 95% of cases, it is the male partner who is the abuser.
Q What can you do about domestic violence if you’re told to keep it a secret?
Having to keep a secret like that is really hard, particularly if it’s in your family, or if you’re concerned about the safety and wellbeing of another person. Sometimes, but certainly not always, talking about the violence can make it worse if you’re given the wrong advice or if the person you talk to tells the wrong people at the wrong time. However, it is really important that you talk to someone who you can trust and who will be able to help you know what to do. There are a number of people in school that you can talk to such as guidance officers/counsellors; there are also many community support services that specialise in domestic violence counselling. For more information, check out our page on Intimate Partner Violence and how to support someone experiencing this.
Q Is it normal to be obsessed with someone?
It is normal and natural to think about someone you have a crush on a lot of the time. However, as with anything, if it starts to affect other areas of your life you may need to talk to an adult about what is happening for you. It is also important to keep your actions and behaviour towards the other person respectful. Being obsessive towards another person may be frightening for them and some actions may be against the law eg: stalking.
Q Someone at school showed me a naked photo/selfie of a chick I know. Should I tell someone?
Selfies tend to go viral very quickly, even when the picture was intended for one person only. If you have seen the photo the chances are that a lot of other people (including adults) have seen it too. Think about how you might feel if something like this happened to you or one of your close friends. The spreading of these images can have a huge impact on relationships, friendships, school, family, work, mental health and emotional wellbeing. Privately telling a trusted adult could do a lot to support the girl involved. There are also a number of legal consequences to keeping these images on your phone, tablet or computer, forwarding them on to others, or putting them on social media that should be considered.
Q Would you send a topless photo of yourself to your boyfriend?
A lot of young people are confronted by this issue in their relationships. It is important to consider the consequences of sending a picture. It is really important that you think about why you are doing it and what could happen if you do send a picture. Some of the possible things that could happen include:
Legal ramifications (young people being charged with producing and distributing child pornography),
Viral distribution of the image/s (once you send that image you have no control over where it goes or who gets to see it).
Break-ups. If you and your partner break up, what could happen with the image ... how would you feel about friends, family, teachers, work mates seeing the image?
It is something that might seem fun and harmless at the time but it is a big risk. There are also other ways to be intimate and have fun with your partner.
Q How long do you feel sad for after a break up?
Break ups can be very difficult, even if you were the one who broke it off, and you might feel really crap for a while. Some people cry a lot, some people don’t eat much, and some people want lots of time by themselves. Because each relationship and each person is different we will all feel sad for different lengths of time. It’s important after a break up to look after yourself. If you feel that things are getting worse or you are not coping it may be helpful to talk to someone such as a friend, your mum or dad, or a school counsellor.
Q Is it ok to look at porn?
This is a really personal decision and can be a very sensitive issue. People have very different feelings and opinions about porn. For a lot of young people, viewing porn is their first experience of sex so it is important to remember that porn can give people unrealistic ideas about sex, sexual acts, what women look like, what men look like and what people enjoy in sexual relationships. A lot of on- line porn involves acts of degradation and violence that do not reflect respectful behaviour in real life relationships.
Q If I kiss somebody should I use my tongue?
If it’s a first date or a first kiss and you are still getting to know the other person maybe take things slowly and not use tongue on the first kiss. When you are more comfortable, you might start using some tongue but you don’t have to use it all the time. There is no rule book on kissing but paying attention to how the other person responds may help you (e.g. do they pull away and say, “Yuk! Brush your stinking teeth!”)
Q How do I ask someone out?
It can feel a lot safer to ask someone out online or through a text message because if you’re rejected, at least they can’t see your face. And it can be easier for them to let you down gently. However, if you’re pretty confident that they like you back, you may feel self-assured enough to ask them face to face.
Q My boyfriend asked me for sex before he asked me out! Is this normal?
With all relationships (friendships included) we need to think about how we would like to be treated, what are our rights, what do we want in a partner/ friend and what values are important to us in a relationship. Being sexual is only one part of a relationship and if they are asking that kind of question before asking you out you need to reflect on what you want from a relationship, what it seems they want and consider whether these match.
Q HELP! I found porn – HEAPS of porn – on my partner’s hard drive! What does it mean? Is he not attracted to me?
Different people may watch porn for different reasons. It is not uncommon for adolescents to watch pornography – to pick up sex tips, to aid masturbation, because they’re bored – lots of different reasons. However, when young people substitute real-life intimacy (not necessarily sexual intimacy) with pornography, or if their viewing of porn is intruding on their relationships or other aspects of their life, it can become an issue. If you’re concerned about your partner’s use of pornography, you should try and talk to him about it – however awkward it is!
Q What if you have never kissed or gone out with someone and you’re really self conscious?
Remind yourself that there are many, many people your age that haven’t kissed or gone out with someone before and for most people in your age group this relationship stuff is all new. It’s one of the ‘jobs’ of adolescence to learn how to relate to people in ways that are different from when you were kids. And new things are always a bit scary. If you go out with someone or kiss someone that you are already really comfortable with, you’ll feel less self-conscious and may even be able to talk to them about how you’re feeling.
Q How do you last long in sex?
The length of sex is going to be different for each couple, and even each encounter between the same people will be different. Sometimes people might brag about how long they last or how big they are, but really these things have more to do with body image than they do with sexual enjoyment. The most important thing, if you are concerned about whether or not your partner is enjoying it, is to communicate honestly. See other questions in this section on pleasing a girl and foreplay for more information.
Q I’m really embarrassed about my vagina. My flaps hang out of the bottom and it looks so ugly!
Labia minora are the internal vaginal lips that sit inside of the labia majora and just like the rest of our body they differ immensely from one woman to another. One of the issues with body image and pornography is that we are only shown one body type and that usually means one vagina type. Many women who perform in porn have had labiaplasty – a cosmetic procedure to reduce the size of their labia minora – just like many female porn performers have had breast augmentations. There is no ‘normal’ when it comes to labia, but if your labia minora protrude to the point where they are painful it may be worth talking to your doctor.
Q My girlfriend wants me to be more romantic – what should I do?
There are lots of different things that you could do – it all depends on what your girlfriend likes. What she might be (really) asking for is for you to make her feel special. These things don’t always have to cost money - e.g. a bunch of flowers (stolen from your mum’s yard), making a mixed CD or sending her a nice text so she knows that you’re thinking about her.
Q How can I talk to the person I have a crush on without acting like a dickhead?
Lots of thoughts and feelings arise when you are around the person you like – and a big one is the fear of rejection. Most people are scared of being rejected because they think that it means that there is something wrong with them. But chances are, if you’re trying to act like anyone other than whom you really are, you’re probably acting like a bit of a douche. Just remember that this relationship stuff is new to everyone your age and the person you like is probably just as nervous about getting it right as you are.
Q How can I make my boyfriend be more romantic?
Some boys are more romantic than others. Just because he’s not buying you flowers every week doesn’t mean that he’s not into you. People show their affection and love in different ways – some people are good at talking about how they feel, some people do little thoughtful things and Ryan Gosling will go to war, write to you every day for a year, build your dream house, wait years and years for you, take you on a row boat through a flock of swans and declare his love to you in the pouring rain...
There are a lot of romantic movies out there that might give us unrealistic ideas about romance and what relationships are like. What you need to remember is that everyone is different and not everyone is going to act like they do in the movies. That said, it is nice to get spoilt from time to time. If you are feeling a little neglected you might have to let your boyfriend know. You might need to do it in a very obvious way e.g. “Take me out to see a movie THAT NO ONE GETS KILLED IN”.
Q What is rape culture?
Rape culture is a complex series of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy. In a rape culture, both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life and that there is nothing that anyone can do to change that. It’s a culture that teaches, “Don’t get raped” instead of “Don’t rape”. It is a culture where men are expected to be hyper-masculine (aggressive, tough, and violent) and women are expected to be submissive and sexually objectified (compliant, passive, and sexually available). Clearly, this belief is wrong. Most men are not sexually violent. And no woman ever ‘asks’ to be raped. The problem is that rape culture limits us to behaving in one particular way and people are so much more than some dumb stereotype sold to us by people that want our money.
Q Why do people abuse?
People abuse their partner because they believe that they are entitled to more power and control in the relationship than their partner is. They may see their partner as someone that they ‘own’. They may have bought in to the popular culture myth that men are dominant and aggressive and women are passive and submissive. However, it’s important to remember that it is never the abused partners’ fault – no matter what the abuser says. The myth that some abused people like the abuse is just that – a myth. Nobody likes being abused and nobody asks for it.
Q But don’t some women ask to get raped by getting really drunk and stuff?
No. Nobody EVER asks to be raped. Being raped means being forced or coerced in to sex with another person. The idea that some women ‘invite’ rape by being drunk, or going to a party alone, or wearing this, that or the other is what is called victim-blaming – and victim blaming is a horrible, horrible part of rape culture. Victim blaming tells the victim that ‘if they got raped, it’s their fault and if they don’t want to face that fact then they should shut up’. Victim blaming leaves the victim feeling responsible for a crime that was committed against them, isolated from support and humiliated. Victim blaming encourages people to stay quiet. And when people stay quiet, nothing changes. It also tells rapists (just so we’re clear, that’s people who have sex with someone without their enthusiastic consent) that their behaviour and the choices that they made are not their fault. Rape is the fault of the rapist. And that is that.
Q Do girls really like being tied up and smacked around when they are having sex?
There are a lot of sexual acts that young people might think are normal and common because they tend to happen a lot in porn. However, porn doesn’t always give a realistic image of healthy relationships. Just like every sexual act, you must make sure that all parties are consenting to each new act. If at any stage one person feels uncomfortable or changes their mind it’s ok to stop. That’s why checking in and communicating with your partner throughout is important. It is also important for you and your partner to consider everyone’s personal safety (that’s physical and emotional too) in any sexual activity.
Q How do I please a girl?
Every girl is different and is going to enjoy different things. Again, it comes back to communicating with your partner about what they enjoy and what they don’t by asking questions and being honest with each other. Foreplay is a very important part of getting each other ready for sex, so take your time exploring each other’s bodies and discovering what you do and don’t like. Remember too, that what you might have seen in porn is not a realistic picture of what girls or guys really enjoy.
Q What is foreplay?
Foreplay is any sexual activity that happens before penetrative sex, for example; kissing, touching, digital penetration and mutual masturbation. It is a way for both males and females to become physiologically and emotionally ready for sex and can certainly increase the pleasure for both of you throughout sex. It is also a way to explore and experiment what does and what doesn’t excite your partner.
It’s really important to communicate with each other during the process so that each of you knows what the other is comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are uncomfortable and continually check-in with your partner to make sure they are consenting and comfortable throughout the entire process.
Q What is slut shaming?
This is something that happens, pretty much, just to women. Slut Shaming is when women and girls are attacked, put down, gossiped about and laughed at for breaking the ‘supposed rules’ of being a female in this world. A girl or woman might be called nasty words for having consensual sex, she might be called the s-l-u-t word because there are rumours or people think that she is having sex or engaging in sexual activity. She might cop slut shaming for flirting with someone she likes, or for wearing a skirt or worst of all, for having non-consensual sex (that means a girl/ woman who is raped gets called a s-l-u-t/ w-h-o-r-e/ other-horrible-name).
Q I really want to go on the pill/ get an Implanon. How do I bring it up with my mum?
I think this is a really good question that shows courage and also a lot of maturity. Although this might be a really difficult conversation to have – not just for you but also for your mum, I’m sure your mum would appreciate being included in the discussion rather than finding an empty pill packet in your room. If you talk about this with your mum you are showing that you have thought about safe sex, possible repercussions and also responsible ways to prevent unplanned pregnancy. It’s important to remember that the pill/implanon only prevents pregnancy and does not protect against STI’s. If your mum is aware that you have been in a relationship for a while she might be anticipating that this conversation would come up at sometime but here are some helpful tips... Find a time when ma isn’t preoccupied so you can sit down (privately) and chat. Think about how you could bring it up. Be prepared to be asked some uncomfortable questions (when did you start having sex?) and try to be honest and calm.
Q Does sex hurt (the girl)?
It shouldn’t. If a girl’s body isn’t physically ready for sex (she hasn’t produced enough natural lubricant) then sex may be a little painful. This can be avoided - mainly through communication between partners. However, there are certain medical conditions that can make sexual penetration painful and uncomfortable for the female and she will need to see her doctor about this.
Q What is gray rape?
There is no such thing as ‘gray rape’. But I expect that you’re asking about rape where it’s not really rape. And just so you’re sure – there is no rape where it’s not really rape - rape is rape. However people (rape apologists) may like to dress it up (or down) by using terms like ‘date rape’, 'marital rape’, or ‘she changed her mind half way through’... sex without consent is rape. It's ideas like this that feed the rape culture belief that rape is only ‘real’ rape when it’s a stranger, even though women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know.
Q What if me and my partner have a fight – does that mean we are broken up?
Disagreements and discussions are part of communicating in a respectful relationship. Having a fight doesn’t need to mean a break-up but it does mean that you have an issue that needs to be resolved. If there are any power and control issues in the fighting, then it is not a healthy and respectful relationship.
Q Is it ok to lose your virginity at the age of 15?
In Queensland the legal age for consent is 16 for vaginal sex and 18 for anal sex.
Only you can decide when you are ready to have sex. It is important to think about why you want to have sex. Sex is both a physical and emotional experience so it’s important that you feel comfortable and can openly communicate with your partner about sex. Before you have sex it is important to talk about how you feel about each other while also considering contraception and possible consequences such as STI’s, unplanned pregnancies and how sex may change the relationship. Remember that all parties of sexual activity need to give their informed consent.
Q How are babies made?
When girls and boys reach puberty, their bodies start to change and become more mature. From this time, if a male and a female have sexual intercourse, it is possible that the girl could get pregnant. When a male ejaculates sperm from the penis during sexual intercourse, they swim up the vagina through the cervix, into the uterus and then into the fallopian tubes of the female. These sperm are looking for an egg to fertilise. When a female is born she carries hundreds of eggs ready to use when she becomes an adult. Once a month, the female releases an egg. If an egg has been released, a sperm can fertilise it and make the first cell of a new baby. Once one sperm has fertilised the egg, no other sperm can get in. For the sperm it's like a race and there is only one winner. This fertilised egg immediately divides into two cells; these cells then divide again and again over the next couple of days as the cluster of cells makes its way to the uterus (womb). Here it is implanted in the lining of the uterus and continues dividing its cells to make billions of new cells. The female is now pregnant. Over 9-10 months, these cells will grow into a new person - a baby.
The best way to avoid an unplanned pregnancy is to use contraception.
Q Is it normal if I find it hard to cum?
Again, everyone is different and will experience sex differently. It may be reassuring to know that 30 – 50% of people in their teens to 20's have never experienced an orgasm. Some of the things that can impact on whether you cum or not include; feeling comfortable and confident with your own body, knowing your body and what you enjoy as well as honestly communicating with your partner about what you like (if you are in a sexual relationship).
Q How do I break up with my boyfriend/girlfriend without being mean?
Breaking up is hard for all involved, whether you’re breaking up or being dumped. The most important thing is to be respectful, try to put yourself in their shoes (e.g. if you wouldn’t like to find out you're being dumped by a text message, then don’t do it that way). Try to make sure they are the first person to find out – one of the worst things is finding out through a friend or a Facebook update. Make sure you have time to talk in private (it can be rather upsetting/embarrassing to be dumped in front of other people) and sometimes it may help if you think about what you want to say and what you don’t need to say. Relationship break ups can be tough and sad for both involved so it’s important that you have some support.
Q Is it natural to not know if you like the opposite sex at this age?
It is natural and normal to have a lot of new feelings and thoughts during adolescence. There are hormones racing around, making your body do all sorts of different things while your brain is trying to keep up with it all. Many adolescents develop same sex crushes that aren’t necessarily sexual which can confuse things as well. Some people know from a very early age which sex they’re attracted to, but some people take a while to work it all out. Be honest with yourself and find a trusted adult you feel comfortable talking to about your feelings.