Sexual health is a state of wellbeing in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships

contraception.jpgContraception is key to ensuring that when having sex with your partner you are protecting yourself from unwanted pregnancy and ensure sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) are not passed on. When contraception is used as directed it is very effective.

When should I use contraception?

  • Every time young men and young women have sex together they should always use contraception that prevents both pregnancy and STI’s, unless they have decided to have a baby
  • When young men have sex with other young men they should always practice safe sex by using a condom (for anal and oral sex) to protects against STI’s
  • When young women have sex with other young women they should use a condom when sharing sex toys and a dental dam during oral sex.

It is important to choose the right method of contraception that will work best for you, in order to decide which method is best it is important you see a qualified health professional such as General Practitioner (GP) or your local sexual health clinics see details below.

Why do I need emergency contraception?

If you have had unprotected sex it is important to consider the risk of unwanted pregnancy or STI’s. You may need emergency contraception, it is important with emergency contraception to obtain it as soon as possible after unprotected sex. The earlier you obtain the emergency contraception the more choices that are available.

  • If you’ve had unprotected sex and don’t want to get pregnant, you can take the Emergency Hormonal Contraceptive (EHC) pill. It’s commonly known as the ‘Morning after Pill’ however this is misleading as it can be used up to 72 hours or three days after unprotected sex
  • The EHC is available for free from Contraceptive Services, Urgent Care and selected Pharmacies. It’s always a good idea to phone ahead to see if it’s available
  • You can also have a coil inserted into the womb (uterus) which will prevent pregnancies. This can be done up to 5 days after unprotected sex and can be left in to prevent pregnancies
  • EHC is more effective the sooner you take it, so act fast
  • Only women can get emergency contraception
  • Emergency contraception shouldn’t be used as a regular contraceptive.
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    Axess Sexual Health

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    BBC Radio 1 advice

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    Brook

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    Contraception in St Helens

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    Sefton Sexual Health Service

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    NHS advice about sex

consent-2.pngConsent is where you agree to do something of your own free will. Consent should be given freely and not forced or coerced (making someone feel they have to do in return for something or because they are frightened).

When consenting to sexual activity it is important that you feel able to say no to anything you do not feel happy to do or comfortable with. It is also important to respect the other person’s choices and opinions and be sure that they are consenting to any kind of intimate contact.

You give consent to partake in any sort of activity and then change your mind this is your right.

The following video is useful to explain how consent works.

The law

The age of consent (the legal age to have sex) in the UK is 16 years old. The laws are there to protect children and not to prosecute under-16s who have mutually consenting sexual activity.

Any sort of sexual contact without consent is illegal, regardless of the age of those involved. Children under the age of 13 cannot consent to any type of sexual activity. (NSPCC)

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Brook

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Knowsley Family Information Service

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NSPCC

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RASA Merseyside

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Safe Place Merseyside

 

 

lgbt.jpgSexuality and LGBTQ+

Sexuality and sexual orientation is about who you're physically and emotionally attracted to. Everyone is different, and sometimes understanding your sexuality can be confusing.

What does LGBTQ+ mean?

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and more. Even though people refer to them together gender identity is not the same as sexuality.

It's natural to be confused about your sexuality or need time to work out who you are. Some people know who they’re attracted to from a really young age. For other people, it’s not so simple and can take a while to work out. (Childline UK)

There are many different agencies and support groups that can offer support if you are unsure about your gender identity and sexuality. The links below will direct you to where you can find support:

Childline

Liverpool CAMHS

 

Transgender support

When we’re born gender is generally allocated as a boy or a girl. This is usually based on seeing whether the child has male or female sex organs.

Transgender or trans is when someone feels that their gender identity is different from the gender they were given at birth. Trans people might:

  • feel like they’re in the ‘wrong body’ and that their genitals don’t match how they feel
  • want to change their clothes to better match the gender they identify as
  • be scared about telling people about how they feel.

Being non-binary means that you don’t identify as either male or female. Sometimes people might feel both male and female, or they might feel like they’re neither.

Further support:

pregnancy.jpgFinding out you’re pregnant can bring a massive mix of emotions, happy, excited, surprise, panic, shock, anxiety – the list goes on. Everybody is different. Some of these feelings can be caused by a change in your hormonal levels. Even if you feel anxious and uncertain now, your feelings can change.

  • Speak to your midwife or GP who will be able to reassure you and offer you advice.
  • Once you’ve had time to process, here’s what to do next to get your pregnancy off to the best start.
  • Contact your midwife or doctor as soon as possible
  • Take a folic acid supplement every day
  • Change lifestyle habits that may harm your baby
  • Eat a healthy diet and avoid certain foods
  • Stay fit with exercise.

Men can have mixed feelings when they find out their partner is pregnant. Both partners should encourage each other to talk to each other about their feelings and any worries they may have.

For further information on pregnancy and for further advice please click on the links below.

Support

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Axess Sexual Health

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Emma's diary

 

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Support with teenage pregnancy

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Tommy's

     

 

 

 

'Sexting' is sharing sexual messages (including texts), photos or videos. 

If the content has a person who is naked or semi-naked, then it counts as a sexual photo or video.

It is important that you don’t feel pressured into sexting, just because someone sends you a sexual picture does not mean that you need to send one back.

Once you have shared a sexual message, photo or video you no longer have control over what happens to it, and can’t control who it is shared with.As you no longer have control over what you have sent this may mean that you may feel worried and embarrassed about who has seen your message. You could be bullied or harassed following the message being shared with others.

If you have been sent a sexual message respect the senders privacy and delete the message immediately and do not share with others.

If someone has shared an image of you speak to a trusted adult straight away or contact the agencies detailed below.

The Law

The law is clear when it comes to sharing sexual images or videos of under 18’s is illegal.

If you are worried you have sent an inappropriate image of yourself to someone, speak to them explain your worried and ask them to delete the images. If you’re thinking about sending an image consider the consequences of this before sending it.

Do you know about the Zipit app?

If someone’s trying to get you to send them naked images of yourself, use the images on Zipit to keep the situation in control. Zipit helps you get flirty chat back on the right track. It’s packed with killer comebacks and top tips to help you stay in control of your chat game. Zipit is Childline’s app for Android, Apple and Blackberry smartphones (and iPod touch). It’s free to download on the Childline website.

Support

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Childline

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Child Exploitation and Online Protection 

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Think u know

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Merseyside Police

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NSPCC sexting information

 

 

A sexually transmitted Infection or STI is basically any kind of bacterial or viral infection that can be passed on through unprotected sexual contact.

Anyone can get a STI, no matter how many times you have intimate sexual contact that is unprotected. Not all STI’s will have symptoms and this makes it more difficult to detect.

There are many types of STI’s, and they will vary in symptoms. Some common symptoms can include:

  • unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
  • pain when peeing
  • lumps or skin growths around the genitals or anus
  • a rash
  • unusual vaginal bleeding
  • itchy genitals or anus
  • blisters and sores around the genitals or anus

How can I protect myself?

The best way to protect yourself is to use a condom. If you have unprotected sexual contact you should always get yourself checked at a sexual health clinic.

Why you should go to a sexual health clinic

You can see your GP, but they'll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you may have an STI.

Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system. You can usually turn up without an appointment.

You'll often get test results quicker than from your GP and you won't have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.

You don't need to give your real name or tell staff who your GP is if you don't want to.

No information about your visit to the clinic will be shared with your GP or anyone else outside the clinic unless you ask for it to be.

You can ask to see a female or male doctor or nurse if you wish.

What happens at a sexual health clinic

A doctor or nurse:

  • will ask you some questions about your sex life
  • may ask to take a look at your genitals or anus
  • will tell you what tests they think you need

Some clinics offer home testing kits for some STIs.

If tests show you have an STI, you should tell your sexual partner and any ex-partners so they can get tested and treated as well.

If you don't want to do this, the clinic can usually do it for you without naming you. (NHS)

Support

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NHS - STI information Brook Sexual Health Liverpool