Sex & Relationships
Sometimes, when you just want to check something out about sex and relationships, you'd prefer not have to ask anyone you know, including parents or mates.
There are lots of sites that can give you information, but if you want to talk to someone who won't judge you and can offer you confidential information and advice:
- You can visit your local One Stop Shop in Hertfordshire and ask to speak to a Personal Adviser.
- You can visit Sex - Worth Talking About.
- ...or you can phone Brook Advisory Service confidential helpline: 0808 802 1234 for young people under 25.
The helpline is open Monday - Friday 9.00 am - 7.00 pm. Brook also offer a confidential interactive text conversation on 07717 989023 or text BROOK HELP 81222.
If you do decide to have sex, use protection because sex without a condom can result in pregnancy or an infection.
Click here for info on STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)!
The law says you have to be 16 before you have sex and give your full consent to having sex. So even if you are over 16, don't feel pressured into doing something you don't feel ready for. It must be your decision and not something you regret afterwards, so if you can't talk to your partner about how you feel and what you want or don't want, then perhaps it's not the right time or the right person.
For more information on sex and contraception:
- Condoms - (free access to). The C-Card scheme is a confidential service for young people up to 25 years old across Hertfordshire (only 13-19 year olds can register at Youth Connexions premises). It provides easy access to free condoms and sexual health information through a range of outlets. For further information, click here.
- Find a C-Card outlet on a map.
- Lots of useful addresses for health dropins and emergency contraception are in the Numbers You Need download at the base of this page
- Make sure you use condoms safely. Always check there is a kite mark and that they are not out of date, and only use with water based lubricants, not oils of any kind. If you are going abroad and think you might need condoms, it's safest to take some with you rather than buying them when you get there.
- Visit the BBC's health pages for STI information
- NHS website pages for young people - advice about sex and relationships for young people
- Gay/Lesbian or Bisexual - Support in Hertfordshire
- Chlamydia screening- Information in Hertfordshire
- http://www.tht.org.uk/ - This site offers a range of HIV and sexual health services throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
- Hertsaid is a Hertfordshire based HIV and sexual health support charity, offering a range of information and support services to anyone affected or infected by HIV / AIDS. www.hertsaid.co.uk
- The Crescent - Hertfordshire based charity who provide support and care for people with HIV and A IDS and for their friends and carers. The site also provides information about HIV and safer sex practices across Hertfordshire http://www.thecrescent.org.uk
Support for abuse:
Sexual assault is pressuring someone into having sex (this could include touching, kissing, fondling, oral sex or penetration). It can also include other forms of sexual harassment such as taking photos of someone in a sexual situation when they don't want to be photographed or are not aware of it, including on a mobile phone. It also includes sending those photos to other people or posting them on websites.
Sex with someone who doesn't want to or someone who has not given their consent and permission, is rape. It does not make a difference whether the people know each other or not, or what relationship they have. You should never have to do something sexual that you don't feel comfortable with, even if many of your friends are comfortable with similar situations.
If you have been sexually assaulted by someone you know (friend, partner) or a stranger - you are not to blame. Report it to the police or speak to the services listed below:
- You should always challenge sexual abuse or get help from someone you trust. Information and help is available - visit www.direct.gov.uk/thisisabuse
- Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Sunflower Suite) 0808 178 4448 - 24 hour helpline
- Herts Rape Crisis www.hertsrapecrisis.org.uk 01707 276512 Line open 7.30pm - 9.30pm Thursday evenings
- Hertfordshire Women's Resource Centre 01438 742742 (for over 18s) Watford Women's Resource Centre 01923 816229
- Victim Support Hertfordshire Helpline 01707 354626
- Survivors UK Helpline ( Men only) 0845 1221201 Mon, Tues and Thur 7.00pm - 10.00pm
- SACCA - Sexual Abuse Counselling Agency covering Hertfordshire, run by professionally trained counsellors who have experienced childhood sexual abuse themselves. 05602 395396 www.saccaonline.net
Free Chlamydia screening kits are available for young people aged 15-24 at various outlets through Hertfordshire. For your nearest clinic or pharmacy, type your postcode in the search box on their website, www.c-sure.org.uk
Arm Against Cervical Cancer
Aged 16 to 19? Left school? You can now have the HPV vaccination at your doctor's surgery. Find out more here.
Important extra information about abortions
Your doctor can arrange an abortion at either an NHS Hospital or with Marie Stopes International. This means that your treatment is funded through the NHS. You can arrange to use a recommended private clinic such as the ones listed below without your doctor being involved. However, the clinic would need to know where you live and who your doctor is in order to find out whether you can have this treatment free. Otherwise you will be charged for the service.
Marie Stopes International offers a drop-in pregnancy test at all of their branches at a cost of £5. There is a charge for all services if you are going privately, such as emergency contraception and abortion. Advice and booking line 0845 300 8090. Visit www.mariestopes.org.uk/.
British Pregnancy Advisory Service offers advice on unwanted pregnancies, abortion, contraception, emergency contraception and pregnancy testing. Telephone 0845 730 4030 booking line only. Visit www.bpas.org.uk/.
- Numbers You Need booklet
- Click here to find out how to txt for advice
- 'The Mix' - Alcohol, sex and safety