Sexual health is not just about using contraception or avoiding infections. Sexual health means enjoying the sexual activity you want without causing yourself or anyone else suffering, physical or mental harm.
For online sexual health advice visit RU Thinking
Making positive choices about contraception and sexual health is important not just for your physical health, but also for your general well-being. If you're anxious about your sexual health or feel unwell, this can have a knock-on effect on all aspects of your life - your work, your studies, your future and your relationships with your partners, family and friends.
The law says it’s legal for you to consent to have sex from the age of 16. In Northern Ireland, you have to be 17.
But it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. Because while a girl under 16 isn’t committing a criminal offence if she has sex, the man she’s having sex with is - even if she has given her consent.
Gay sex is legal if you’re 16 or over in England, Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland it’s 17. And 18 in Jersey.
If you are under 16 you have the same right to confidential services as adults and can seek advice about sex and relationships whatever your age.
For further information about sex and the law please click on the website link opposite.
It can be very embarrassing talking about sex and sexual health, but you need to think about it and be prepared!
Young people don't always feel comfortable talking to parents or carers and your mates might pretend to know all the answers, but they are usually in the same situation as you!
Always remember that there might be a lot of peer pressure to say you have slept with someone, but before you do, you must make sure that you are ready to make that step. Don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared. You must always do what's right for you and remember - the legal age for sleeping with someone is 16!
There are lots of places where you can get free, confidential advice, not only about sex, contraception, sexual health and pregnancy, but also if you need to talk to someone about making the first step.
You can visit your doctor, local sexual health clinic, or look at our suggested websites.
Websites such as Sexwise and Likeitis give you information on sex, relationships, contraception and sexual health,and they're aimed particularly at young people. They also tell you a lot more about confidentiality and what that means for you.
When it comes to contraception there are many choices, and it's so important to use what's right for you. This will change as you go through life.
If you click on the Contraception website link this will take you to the contraception section of the Sexwise website and this explains all about the different contraception methods
Useful websites and telephone numbers
Guide to the different types of contraception available
Information about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s)
Brook’s Young People’s Information Helpline
0800 0185 023 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm)
Family Planning Association Helpline
0845 310 1334 (Monday to Friday ,9am-6pm)
0800 282930 (7 days a week, 7am-Midnight)
If you think you are pregnant and live in Portsmouth and the surrounding area, contact Sex Sense for information and advice.
If you are pregnant, a Youth Adviser can help you with the decisions you will need to make around your health, education and money. Contact your local centre for details.
Please click on the Connexions Direct-Pregnancy link for a good article that aims to dispel the common myths about how you can and can't become pregnant. This article also includes information about recognising the early signs of pregnancy, what options are available to you if you find out that you are pregnant and if you are a teenage dad.
For further advice and a free booklet 'The Young woman's guide to Pregnancy' visit Tommy's.
Please click on the Connexions Pocket Guides for a list of local sexual health clinics and services and a list of national help lines.
If you're having sex or thinking about having sex, it's important to be responsible. That means using contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy and to avoid catching any Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
The FPA (Family Planning Association) and your local Contraception and Sexual Health service(CASH) can give you expert information on anything sexually related, including contraception, emergency contraception (morning after pill), STIs, pregnancy and abortions.
You can even get free condoms and free prescriptions for the pill from your local Contraception and Sexual Health service (CASH).
And remember, you can always talk to your doctor about anything or a Youth Adviser if you can't get to see your doctor.
Page updated: Friday, September 25, 2009 10:19 AM