Thirteen

Sexual Health

On this page we'll look at the following, simply click on the links below to be taken straight to the section.

 

thirteen - healthy relationships
thirteen - sexually transmitted infections
thirteen - contraception
thirteen - sexual consent

 

Healthy Relationships

Relationships can be confusing. A new relationship can make you feel great and it’s normal to enjoy feeling special and like you’ve got more confidence. Sometimes relationships change and it’s hard to know when things are no longer ok.

A relationship is unhealthy when it involves mean, disrespectful, controlling or abusive behaviour. For some people who have grown up around this kind of behaviour it can seem normal and ok. It’s not.

A good relationship involves both people feeling equal and respecting each other. They have good communication that involves trust and honesty, and individuals are able to continue doing the things they enjoy and seeing their friends and family.

The qualities you value in friendship should match up with qualities you look for in a healthy relationship.

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STI's

Having unprotected sex with a partner means that you run a risk of picking up an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection).

STIs include:

  • Chlamydia
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • HIV
  • Genital Herpes
  • Genital Warts
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Syphilis

STIs are passed on between partners when they have sex. You may be unaware that the person you have sex with has an STI as there are often no signs that you can see. This also means that you can get an STI without even knowing it!

Warning Signs to look out for:

  • Rashes
  • Sores
  • An unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Itchiness
  • Blisters
  • Pain in the genital area
  • A burning sensation when you pass urine (pee) or have sex; and urinating (peeing) more than usual.

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Contraception

Young people and adults use contraception when having sex to prevent pregnancy or contracting an sexually transmitted infection . Some people are not sexually active but still use contraception – just in case. There are many forms of contraception including pills, injections, implants and condoms.

Did you know that condoms are the only method which also prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV being passed on.

There are many types of contraception, but almost all of these are designed to be used by women and many of them work in similar ways, by stopping eggs from being released. The condom is the main type of contraception designed for men to use.

Where do you get it?

Most contraception is given by a doctor or a nurse, so you can visit your GP surgery, your local sexual health service or local young person’s clinic.

You don’t need a prescription to get condoms and there are no age restrictions - you can pick up free condoms at all of these places or buy them in a variety of shops, pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as online.

How much does it cost?

All prescribed contraception is free. Condoms are available in different shapes, sizes, colours, flavours and quantities. When sold, they cost from about £2.50 for a pack of three.

Do you have to be over 16 to get contraception?

Once you are 16 you can consent to and make decisions about your medical treatment, including contraception.

If you are under 16, it is not legal to have sex but this does not mean that a doctor cannot give you contraception. A doctor or nurse can give you contraception if they feel you are mature enough to understand properly the decision you are making and the impact it may have on your health and wellbeing.

In particular, they will consider if you are able to tell your parents, if it's likely that you will have sex even if you don’t have contraception, and if it is within your best interests to receive medical treatment without your parent or guardian’s knowledge.

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Consent

The legal age of consent is 16 and the law says that both people need to give their consent before any sexual contact. Consent means giving permission or agreeing to something. Consent is feeling in control and saying yes or doing something because you choose to, not because you feel pressured in to it. If you feel unsure or unsafe it could mean that you are not comfortable and you are under pressure. Ways you might feel under pressure include:

  • being made to feel stupid or bad for saying no
  • being told, “you would do it if you loved me” or “if you don’t then I’m breaking up with you”
  • threats of rumours being spread and being bullied into having sex
  • being encouraged to drink a lot of alcohol or take drugs to make you more likely to have sex.

Remember, you can change your mind at any time and withdraw your consent. Just because you have said yes to doing one thing it does not mean you have to do other things, and just because you have said yes once it doesn’t mean you have to do it again if you don’t want to.

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USEFUL CONTACTS

If you think you may have an STI, don’t worry click here for support about where to get checked conifersexhealth.co.uk

You can even download the app to your mobile phone, look for Conifer Sex App in the app store or Goggle Play store for free!

Yorkshire MESMAC - www.mesmac.co.uk

Stonewall - www.stonewall.org.uk

Corner house - www.wearecornerhouse.org