Age of consent is the age that you're allowed to have sex. So if you're thinking about doing it, you'd better check out the laws and guidelines here first...
The age at which you can legally have sex.
The law sees it as sexual assault - it's a criminal offence. This is because in the eyes of the law we are unable to give informed consent to sex when still a child.
The law isn't there to make life difficult. It's there to protect us. Everyone is ready for sex at different ages. But the law has to generalise. To protect those who are most vulnerable, from exploitation.
There is no law against asking questions. Or finding out about sex. What it means, how to do it, how to protect ourselves from the consequences: pregnancy, STIs. And a broken heart.
It's legal, except with someone who's in a 'position of trust' over us. This includes teachers, carers and doctors, who we trust to look after us. It's illegal for them to have sex with under-18s in their care.
Just because we've blown out 16 candles on our birthday cake, doesn't mean we're ready for sex. Do what feels right for you. Just make sure you understand what sex is about and get clued-up on safe sex and contraception before you do anything.