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Sexual health

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.

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. The age of consent is the same regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

It is an offence for anyone to have any sexual activity with someone under the age of 16. However, there is no intention to prosecute teenagers under the age of 16 where both mutually agree and where they are of a similar age.

It is an offence for people aged 18 or over to have any sexual activity with someone under 18 if the older person holds a position of trust (e.g. a teacher).

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. 

Visit the NHS Choices website for further information about sex and the law.

Contraception

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.

Do take the time to read about all the different contraception methods on the Let's talk about it website.

For further advice you can drop in the No Limits advice centre or visit a Health and Wellbeing drop in, which are in schools and further education colleges in the city. Free condoms, pregnancy tests, C Cards and Chlamydia tests are available at all these venues over 65 hours a week.

Useful telephone numbers

Sexual Health and National AIDS Helpline - 0800 567 123

Southampton Young People's Clinics - 023 8038 8916

Southampton's Sexual Health Services - 0300 123 7399

Remember, you can always talk to your doctor about anything if you can't get to see your doctor.

Medical Confidentiality

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 NHS Choices and for the Marie Stopes charity 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.

Other websites Family Planning Association Marie Stopes - STI Testing Let's talk about it No Limits

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