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Check this out for some common sense advice...

This is a good place to start in getting good advice about sexual health. Don't forget that your specialist nurse will also answer any questions if you still need answers. Please don't be nervous about asking - your nurse gives this sort of advice every day!

Confidentiality

If you are unsure or want to talk further about relationships and/or sex, talk to someone you trust. Remember, whatever your age, you have the right to confidential advice. If you talk to a school nurse or youth worker, nothing will be said to anyone (even if you are under 16) – including parents, other families members, care workers or school, without your permission.

The only reason they may have to consider passing on confidential information without your permission, would be to protect you or someone else from serious harm.

We are here to listen, not to tell...

We will NOT tell anyone: including teachers, your friends, social workers, your doctor or family members. Whether you are under 16 or over 16. Any information kept about you or meetings with you will be kept securely.

Sex, the Law and You

The aim to the Law is to protect young people and to make it easier to prosecute people who pressurise others into having sex they don't want. Forcing someone to have sex is a crime and it applies to men and women whether they are gay, lesbian or straight.

  • The Law says it is a criminal offence for sexual activity to take place between two people where one or both are under 16. However, the Law is not intended to be used against young people who are in consenting sexual relationships, so you can be reassured that you still have the right to access confidential advice and support to help you stay safe if you have chosen to have sex.
  • It is an absolute offence to have sex with someone under the age of 13 and those who do, will face very serious criminal prosecution. If you are 12 or under, the Law considers you unable to give consent and there is no defence
  • 'Consent' – What Does it Mean? The Law considers you able to consent if you agree by choice, and have the freedom and ability to make this choice
  • Your ability to make an informed decision between agreeing and refusing to have sex will be hampered if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • No one, no matter who they are, has the right to persuade or force you to do something that you don't want to do

Contraception

It is important to use condoms alongside other methods of contraception because only condoms protect from STIs (sexually transmitted infections).

A wide range of condoms and lubricants are available; different sizes, latex free, flavoured, ribbed – this makes sure there is a condom to suit everyone to ensure pleasurable, safe sex every time!

Visit your local condom/pregnancy testing service for free condoms. Text POP 07814 877 859 to find out where your nearest service is.

If you've made the decision to start having sex, use contraception every time you have sex to protect yourself and your partner. Discuss the options with your partner.

THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF FREE CONTRACEPTION AVAILABLE:

  • Condoms – for protection against STIs and pregnancy
  • The Pill – most GP Practices provide some sexual health services and can refer you onto other services
  • Implant – Safe, easy and reversible – lasts up to 3 years
  • Depo (hormone) injection – 12 weeks protection from pregnancy – access via GP

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

  • Chlamydia – Up to 1 in 10 young people may have this but don't know because they have no symptoms
  • Genital Warts – Warts can take a year or more to develop after infection with the wart virus. Warts are not always visible
  • Gonorrhoea – you may have a thin coloured discharge from your vagina or penis and need to pee more often

All the above are easy to treat, but if left untreated can have serious consequences including infertility. Treatment is straightforward so don't be embarrassed to seek help.