Sex refers to all acts that can sexually arouse you. Sex is more than sexual intercourse. It also includes things such as kissing, caressing and oral sex. You can also have sex with yourself. This is called masturbation.

Sexuality is a central part of human life. It is a normal and positive way to express yourself. Sexuality involves not only sex but also other matters. For example: sexual pleasure and intimacy, anatomy and having children, as well as taboos and values on sexual orientation.

Reasons for having sex

You can have sex for various reasons. For instance, because you want to:

Different ways of having sex

You can have sex in many different ways:

You can have sex with someone else or with yourself (masturbation).

Sex is not only about the right techniques. It is also important to pay attention to the feelings and wishes of the other person, share intimacy and create the right atmosphere.

Experiment and find out what you and your partner like best. Talk with your partner about your desires and feelings. You can also experiment on your own.

Sex can be different every time.

People’s sex life can change during their lifetime. For example: because their body or sexual desire changes. This is normal. Some people do not have sex for a shorter or longer period of time.

Couple talking in bed.

Different relationships and sex lives

People have many different kinds of relationships and sex lives. For example: some people have sex before marriage, and others wait until afterwards. Some people only have 1 partner, others have several.

People of the same sex can also have sex with each other (homosexuality).

Lesbian couple having sex.

Sexual consent

Each time you have sex you should give your consent and feel ready. Mutual consent means that both people want to have sexual contact. Both people can decide to stop at any moment.

Do not let anyone force you to have sex.

In Belgium, the legal minimum age for sexual contact is 16 years. The law is there to protect young people against sexual abuse. If both young people agree and the difference in their ages is not too great, this is seldom punished.

A woman and a man lying in bed. They both agree to have sex with each other.

More information or help needed?

Family doctor
You can talk to a family doctor about almost every intimate issue. If necessary the family doctor can refer you to a specialised health professional. Find a family doctor in your neighbourhood:
Wijkgezondheidscentrum
You can visit a family doctor in a community health centre. Other care professionals such as nurses and social workers also work at community health centres. Care is provided free of charge. Find a community health centre in your neighbourhood:
CAW - Centrum Algemeen Welzijn
Centre for general well-being - Help with all kinds of issues: a difficult relationship, medical, financial, administrative, legal or material problems, family problems,... CAWs also provide assistance to victims of violence and abuse. Find a CAW in your neighbourhood:
More health professionals

Dictionary and translations