If you are thinking about having sex, then it’s important that you are ready, can enjoy it, and take responsibility for it. It’s also important to make sure that you get contraceptive advice to protect yourself or your partner from an unplanned pregnancy or STI (or both!).
Sex can be a fun and exciting part of having an intimate relationship with someone, and should be an enjoyable activity in its own right. Whenever you are engaging in sexual activity with someone, it is important to make sure that boundaries, consent, and safety (both physical and emotional) are at the forefront of the situation.
Sexual consent is an agreement to any sexual experience; be it touching someone, kissing them, or having sex. It also includes consent to sharing intimate photos/videos. It is illegal to share intimate photos/videos without the person’s consent.
The age of consent is 16 in the UK, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
If you engage in any sexual activity without a person’s consent, it is sexual assault or rape. So, to protect yourself, and the person you’re intimate with, it’s extremely important to know you have consent. It is important to remember that someone cannot give valid consent if they are incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs.
It’s simple: just ASK!
And when asked, answer honestly and clearly. It is ok to say “no” or change your mind at any point.
You don’t have to wait to be asked. Tell them how you are feeling and if you want to continue or not. Then ask them how are they feeling? Do they want to continue? Does it feel good? It’s all about communication. If you are engaging in sexual activity, then it’s important you can talk about it too.
It’s important to remember that “safe sex” isn’t just about protection, but is also about having sex when you and your sexual partner are ready, and having sex that’s enjoyable and respectful.
Ways that you can practise safer sex include:
Some of the factors that can make unsafe sex more likely include:
Contraception protects against unplanned pregnancy. There are currently 15 methods of contraception available in the UK. Condoms are the only contraception that help to protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Safe sex doesn’t have to be difficult. Tips include:
It is important to be aware that people can carry and pass on sexually transmitted infections without knowing they have an STI. Some people also deliberately do not disclose they have an STI. Protect yourself by avoiding casual sex or by using a condom.
Examples of unsafe sexual activities include:
For more advice on this subject please book an appointment to speak to the USW Health Service.
If you have any concerns about sexual health or are having relationship problems, plenty of help and support is available: