There are many questions or dilemmas around sexual health that young people may be faced with and require answers to but are unable to speak to anyone else about these.
The questions below are some common questions that young people have raised and offer some advice, but there is information regarding local services in Kirklees with fully trained professionals who will be able to offer the best possible guidance for you and it is all confidential.
If there are any other questions you feel young people would benefit from, then please do contact us with the question.
It may feel like there’s a lot of pressure out there to ‘get on with it’ and have sex for the first time from things your mates say, articles in magazines stating ‘the best position’, lyrics in songs and a partner who is eager to ‘get it on’! You might begin to feel like everybody is doing it except you, and you don’t want to be the odd one out.
Is Everybody Doing It?
NO!! Research shows some young people do have sex before they are 16, BUT most young people WAIT until AFTER they are 16 to start a sexual relationship, so you can bet a lot of the people at school and your friends who are saying they’ve ‘done it’ are just making it up to try and brag!!
Many young people decide to wait to have sex for the first time because they want to make sure the first time is a good time!!! After all, who wants their first time to be a complete let down and something you regret?
How Will I Know When I’m Ready?
Although the legal age for sexual intercourse is 16, being ready to have sex happens at different times for everybody, there is no ‘normal’ or ‘right’ time to do it! Deciding when you’re ready to have sex for the first time is really important, and only you will know when the time is right, and only YOU should make that important decision!
Here are some of the things that might help you to know if you’re ready:
- You know each other really well
- You have fun with each other doing other things as well, and your partner treats you with respect
- You can talk to your partner about having sex, how you would like it to be and whether you will tell any one else afterward
- You understand the risks of Pregnancy & Sexually Transmitted Infection’s, and have agreed with your partner about using Condoms or other forms of Contraception
- You feel you could still say no if you wanted to.
Take It Slow!
There’s no rush! Thinking about having sex is a normal part of growing up and going through puberty. Your hormones are racing around, your body is changing and your emotions and feelings of sexual attraction are all developing, but that doesn’t mean you have to rush into anything.
If you’re thinking about having sex it’s a good idea to take things slowly so that you and your partner can get to know each other well, understand each others bodies and talk about what both of you want from a sexual relationship. It sure will help to make your first sexual experience positive and one that you’ll actually want to remember!
And remember, NEVER DO ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH!!!
Talk It Over
If you are thinking about having sex for the first time then it’s really helpful to talk it over first with someone who can listen to how you are feeling, and give you support. It’s really important to be able to talk to your partner about having sex, but it might also help you to talk to someone else, such as:
- An adult you trust, could be a Parent, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin or someone else who knows you well
- School Nurse – many school nurses run Open Door Sessions, and they can offer Confidential support and advice, won’t be judgmental and can help you think about whether you’re ready.
- CASH Services – if you would rather talk to someone in a service, they will be able to support you with your contraception needs.
- Young People’s Drop-Ins – will be able to discuss with you about being ready for sex, and support you to make the decision when the time is right for you.
- National Websites/Helplines – there are some really good, free and confidential phone lines where you can talk to someone who’s totally used to discussing this stuff with young people, and will be able to point you in all the right directions!
Dutch Courage or Just a Big Blur?!
Many young people say they use alcohol or drugs to give them the extra confidence to flirt, snog or even to have sex, BUT research shows a lot of young people who have sex for the first time when they are drunk or have taken drugs say they regret it afterwards, were less likely to have used any contraception and some wished it had never actually happened.
A small amount of Alcohol can make you feel more confident and make it easier to chat to someone you’ve fancied for ages, but too much drink often means you stop making decisions about what you’re going to do next, and things just happen!!!
It’s really difficult to know that you’re making the right choice when you’re off your face; and waking up the next morning not sure if you had sex, who saw you or even who you were with is not a great place to be!!
Make sure if you’re drinking or taking drugs that you are with friends who will keep an eye on you, and who won’t leave without telling you. Don’t get so off your face that you lose sight of who you really are, and end up doing something that you might regret later… REMEMBER YOU CAN’T REWIND THE NIGHT IF IT DOESN’T GO TO PLAN!!
You Don’t Have to Keep Doing It!
Just because you’ve had sex and lost your virginity, doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it!
If after having sex you feel like you weren’t ready, or that it was disappointing you can stop, take a break and think carefully about how you want it to be the next time.
If you have had unprotected sex, that is, sex without using contraception or when you think your contraception may have failed, you may be at risk of an unwanted pregnancy or contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection.
You can use emergency contraception to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
There are two methods of emergency contraception, which are both available completely free of charge and confidentially:
- Emergency Hormonal Contraception (known as the emergency contraceptive pill or the morning after pill). It can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.
- The copper IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
What Is Emergency Hormonal Contraception?
The Emergency Contraceptive Pill is a tablet containing progestogen, a hormone which is similar to the natural progesterone women produce in their ovaries.
How Does It Work?
The Emergency Contraceptive Pill can prevent an unwanted pregnancy by:
- Stopping an egg being released (ovulation)
- Delaying ovulation
- Stop a fertilised egg from settling within your uterus.
How do I take it?
You will be given one pill to take. It can be taken up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex, but it is more effective the SOONER it’s taken.
- 95% effective within 24 hours of unprotected sex
- 85% between 25 – 48 hours
- 58% if between 49 and 72 hours.
Where Can I Get The Emergency Contraceptive Pill?
You can also buy the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (around £26.00) from:
If you have had unprotected sex over 72 hours ago, you may be able to have an Emergency IUD fitted to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, free and confidentially.
What Is The Copper IUD ?
An IUD is a small plastic and copper T shaped device that is fitted in the womb. The IUD used to be known as the ‘Coil’. It can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
How Does It Work ?
The main way an IUD works is to stop sperm reaching an egg. It does this by preventing sperm from surviving in the cervix, womb or fallopian tubes. It may also work by stopping a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.
An IUD does not cause an abortion.
Where can I get an IUD fitted ?
The Emergency IUD can only be fitted by a trained doctor or nurse and therefore is usually only available from:
Go to Find A Service for information on services in Kirklees.
What if my period is late?
If you have used Emergency Contraception you should attend a clinic or buy a pregnancy test if your period is late. It is important to find out if you are pregnant as early as possible to give you more time to think about your options.
Where can I go for more information and advice?
There are many organisations that offer Sexual Health information and advice confidentially to young people. Go to Useful Links to find some of the places where you can access information on-line, or through a telephone helpline. Alternatively, go to Find a Service for more local organisations.
Anyone who has had sex without using a condom may be at risk of contracting an STI, and some types of STI can even be picked up if you’ve used a condom, such as Pubic Lice (Crabs) and Genital Warts. Most STI’s are caused by viruses or bacteria and can be passed on during Oral, Vaginal or Anal Sex. The most common STI’s amongst young people are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital Warts and Herpes.
How can I tell if I have an STI ?
Many STI’s have only mild symptoms, or sometimes no symptoms at all so you really can’t tell who might have an STI just by looking! Although some STI’s might have symptoms such as genital itching, a discharge from the penis or vagina, or a burning sensation when you pee, these symptoms may clear up without treatment, or you may have none of them!
Who is at risk of contracting an STI ?
Anyone who has had sex can contract an STI! Boys and girls are just as likely to contract an STI, but you are at more risk if you have had unprotected sex (that is, sex without using a condom), have several partners at the same time and change partners frequently.
Why should I go and get tested ?
If you have had unprotected sex you should always go and get tested, because left untreated many STI’s can go on to cause serious problems which may become painful and/or cause infertility and other reproductive problems. If you have an STI but don’t know it you could be passing it on to other sexual partners, and that’s not going to be very good for your relationships or your reputation!
What will happen if I go to get tested for STI’s ?
If you go to get tested for an STI you will be asked for some basic information, such as your name, age etc, and then some questions about your sex life……but remember this information is completely confidential and will not be shared with anyone, even if you are under 16. Some people may find it a bit embarrassing to discuss their sex life with a stranger, but you really should tell them the truth so that they can help you, plus remember they talk to people about sex every day, so it would be pretty difficult to shock them!
Getting tested for most STI’s is quite straightforward with either a simple urine sample (you will be given a small pot to take to the toilets to pee in), or sometimes by taking a swab.
Taking a swab is done by using a small cotton tipped swab to collect a sample (for girls) from the vagina, cervix (neck of the womb) and Urethra (where you pee from), and for boys from the Urethra (the opening at the end of the penis where you pee from) and if necessary from your bottom and your throat depending on if you have had anal and/or oral sex.
Although the process of taking a swab may be a little embarrassing or uncomfortable, it really isn’t painful, and the trick is to just try and relax and remind yourself that the Doctor/Nurse seeing you will have seen hundreds of other people that week !
If your feeling a bit nervous you can ask for your partner or a friend to come with you into the examining room, and the staff will explain exactly what they are going to do before they do it.
When will I get my results back ?
Sometimes the clinic will offer you treatment before your results come back, or they may ask you to telephone in to get your results in a few days or a week, depending on which STI’s they have tested for. Many STI’s can be treated with Oral medication, although some may need you to come back into the clinic for treatment. It is usual for them to ask you about your recent sexual partners and request that they can contact them on your behalf to ask them to come in to get tested also, as it is likely that if you test positive for an STI than any recent partners will also be infected.
Where can I get tested for STI’s ?
You can get tested for STI’s at:
- GUM Clinics
- Some Young People’s Drop-Ins
- Some CASH Clinics
- Some GP’s
- Chlamydia Screening Sites
You can also request an on-line Chlamydia Screening Postal Kit here. Go to Find a Service to find more details on services that provide STI screening in Kirklees.
There are many organisations that offer Sexual Health information and advice, confidentially, to young people. Go to Useful Links to find some of the places where you can access information on-line, or through a telephone helpline.
How Does Pregnancy Happen ?
Pregnancy happens when a man and a woman have sexual intercourse without using contraception (unprotected sex), or when the contraception they were using has failed, and a sperm has fertilised the woman’s egg.
It is possible for pregnancy to happen even if full sexual intercourse has not taken place if the man’s penis has come into contact with the woman’s vagina, or sperm has been transferred by hand to genital contact.
If you have had unprotected sex within the last 5 days you may still be able to use Emergency Contraception to avoid becoming pregnant.
Not Sure if You Are Pregnant ?
If you think there is a chance you may be pregnant, it’s really important to find out for sure as soon as possible to give you plenty of time to consider your options ! There are lots of places where you can go to get free confidential pregnancy testing, even if you are under 16, along with information and advice:
Home Pregnancy Tests
Some people prefer to do a home pregnancy test, which you can buy from many pharmacies or major supermarkets from around £3 – £10, even if you are under 16.
How Does A Pregnancy Test Work?
All Pregnancy Tests work by detecting a hormone in your urine that is only present when a woman is pregnant. The Hormone is known as hCG, or sometimes called the Pregnancy Hormone.
Can I be Sure A Home Pregnancy Test is Accurate?
A Home Pregnancy Test will show if there is hCG, the Pregnancy Hormone in your urine. The amount of hCG hormone in your urine will increase over time, and although many Home Pregnancy Testing Kits claim to be able to show the hormone on the first day of your missed period, it is likely you will get a more accurate result after your period is one week late. Testing your urine first thing in the morning may also help you to get a more accurate result.
A Negative Result
Some Negative results will be correct; however some may be a mistake as the Pregnancy Test has been done too soon, before there is enough hCG, the Pregnancy Hormone in your urine. If you get a negative result and your period is still late it’s really important to do another Pregnancy Test a few days or a week later. There are many places where you can access free and confidential Pregnancy Testing, with information and advice.
If your period does arrive it’s still really important to contact one of the following places for help to plan your contraceptive use for the future and make sure you don’t have to go through the whole Pregnancy Testing thing again !
A Positive Result:
This is definitely accurate. The Pregnancy Test has found hCG, the Pregnancy Hormone in your urine which means you are pregnant. The result cannot be a mistake.
Finding out you are pregnant, especially if its not planned, can be a very confusing time. You may feel like you want to ignore the Positive Result and hope that the Pregnancy will go away, but it won’t. The sooner you seek help from one of the free and Confidential Services available the better, as this will give you more time to consider your options.
I’m Pregnant – What Are My Options?
If you are pregnant, you have 3 options; you could continue the pregnancy and keep the baby, continue the pregnancy and place the baby for adoption or fostering, or you could end the pregnancy by having an Abortion, sometimes known as a Termination of Pregnancy (even if you are under 16).
There are many people who you can talk to confidentially who will be able to help you make the decision that is right for you. You can contact:
There are many organisations that offer Sexual Health information and advice, confidentially to young people. Go to Useful Links to find some of the places where you can access information on-line, or through a telephone helpline.