Your Questions Answered: Sexual Health
In the first of our Ahh!dulthood Ask Us Anything series, we asked our friends over at Brook - the UK's leading sexual health and wellbeing charity for under 25s - to answer your questions on Sexual Health. Your questions have been answered honestly and frankly by experts in the field and are intended for those above the age of consent (that’s 16 in the UK!) Here’s what they had to say…
I like the same sexuality as me but I don't see myself as the gender I am, I see myself as the opposite gender and I'm accepting myself for that. What should I do? - Pengtinglikemaddison
Accepting yourself is great! Do you have someone you can talk to about this? It might be good to talk to a family member, or a trusted adult at school about these feelings. If you need support or want to talk about these feelings more, Brook offers counselling too!
When I masturbate, it only takes me an average of two minutes to reach ejaculation and I get erections really easily, maybe too easily. It's really hurting my confidence with trying to get a girlfriend because I know I will be terrible at performing sexually. I'm 16, is this just something I will grow out of or do I have a problem and if so is there a way I can fix it? - James
It sounds as though you have learnt about your own body, what you like and how to pleasure yourself - this isn't a bad thing! It also does not mean you will not be able to 'perform' with a partner. In fact you will be able to teach a future partner exactly what you like. Sexual intercourse is not the same as masturbating, where you know exactly what to do in order to climax, so you might find that two minutes is not enough time when having sex but if you are worried, reach out to your doctor and tell them your concerns. It might be scary at first but there is not a lot that they would not have heard before!
How do you know if your periods aren't normal? (Like pain, length, heaviness, frequency) - LP
Sometimes, periods can be irregular, heavy and painful, especially when they first start. If you have any concerns, it's always best to speak to a doctor or nurse, to see if they are able to support you at all. It often isn't anything to worry about but it's always best to look after ourselves and get the best advice!
What is your advice for someone who wants to have a boyfriend but also fears having one because they don't want to lose themselves again?! - Brave Anxiety Warrior
Sometimes, in relationships, we can feel we lose 'ourselves'. We should always make time for ourselves, ensuring we get a huge amount of 'self love' - keep up hobbies, take time for our friends, family, pets or time alone, and do things we enjoy. We should never lose our own identity for the sake of a relationship. Sharing hobbies and interests can be an amazing way for keeping our own identity and involving our partner.
What do you do if your boyfriend asks you to sleepover? - Mandy
Do you want to sleepover? If you want to sleepover but don't want to have sex, have you explained this to your partner? Do you feel comfortable talking to them about sex? If you don't feel comfortable enough to discuss sex, consent and pleasure with your partner, you might not yet feel ready to have sex, and that’s okay! Just because you are sleeping over, it doesn't automatically mean sex. You could use this time to relax together, learn more about each other and feel more comfortable alone together. A cuddle can be just as connecting!
What's the best method of contraception? - Shaniqua
Whichever one works best for you! There are lifestyle factors to consider when choosing a contraception, for example, if you are not able to take an oral contraception everyday at the same time, this might not be the best method for you. Different types of medications have an effect on some methods of contraception so it is always a good idea to speak to a medical professional if you are taking other medications. Some people prefer long acting contraceptives, whereas others prefer single use methods such as condoms. When researching the different methods think about how they will fit into your life and if choosing something like an oral contraception, it is still a good idea to use condoms to protect against sexually transmitted infections too.
Is it normal to question my gender? - Holly
It's absolutely normal and healthy to question and explore any part of our identity, gender included. It can feel complicated because our society assumes everyone is cisgender (identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth), but lots of people question their gender and there are lots of gender identities beyond being cisgender. Make sure you take your time, this is your own exploration and there's absolutely no rush. There's lots of information about gender on our website if you want to read more about it.
Is period sex safe or not? - Blue
It's entirely safe from a health point of view and lots of people enjoy period sex - it can even reduce period pain. However, it's still possible to get pregnant and contract a STI from period sex, so make sure to use contraception to protect yourself. Period sex can sometimes get messy because of the blood – so think about putting down an old towel first to soak up any escaping fluids.
How do lesbians have sex? - Amelia
Like all couples, lesbians can have sex in lots of different ways. What's important is that you and your partner can talk about what you like and don't like, and that if you're using sex toys you make sure to keep them clean and use condoms with them.
Do two girls need to use protection and how? - AnonymousKillyjoy
Whilst you may not be concerned about getting pregnant, you do still need to consider the risk of getting an STI. If you use sex toys, it's important that you keep them clean and that you use condoms with them (make sure to use a new condom for each sex act - for example, you would need to change condoms between using a sex toy vaginally and anally). If you're performing oral sex on a vulva, you can get dental dams - like a condom but square so that it can stretch over the vulva - but these aren't guaranteed to be 100% effective. If you're worried about what kind of contraception to use, or need more advice, visit your local sexual health clinic.
I'm wanting to sext with my girlfriend but I'm only 16, is that wrong? Because she doesn't want to and I feel dirty. - Rosie
Happy and healthy relationships are built on mutual trust and respect. If your partner doesn't want to, then you should really respect that and not push them into something they aren't comfortable with. Also, please be aware that once those images are sent, they could be anywhere...Images always seem to find a way of getting to other people. How would you feel if your parent, teacher or future boss saw those images?
How do I tell my parents I've started having sex? - Imogin Z
Tell them when it feels right for you. You don't have to tell your parents that you're having sex, but your parents are there to support you, and having the kind of relationship where you can talk to them about sex might make you feel more supported. If you're very worried about it, maybe try to talk to another family member - an older sibling or cousin maybe - first.
Can you get free lube from places? I'm finding it uncomfortable during sex and struggling to buy lube. - Emily Mae
Depending on where you live, there may be a free condom distribution service where you are. These services often offer condoms, lube and instructions for use in their free packs! To find out about your local service, search online for 'local sexual health service', adding your destination, and the details should be there.
When is it a good time to lose your virginity? And does size really matter? - Pita
A good time for 'first sex' is when you are ready, when you feel happy and comfortable and no one has pressured you into it. That time might be different for everyone, it really depends on you. There are legal considerations to be aware of such as age differences between partners and not having sex before you are 16 and more information can be found on our website. Regarding size - it does not matter! We are all different! Different sizes, different shapes and different likes. Sex is meant to be fun and pleasurable and there's no minimum size for that.
Is getting into a relationship important? I get friendzoned every time I've asked a girl out. - J19JW
This is a really good question to ask yourself: what is important about having a relationship to me? Being 'friendzoned' isn't a bad thing, as it shows what an awesome person you are, and that people like being around you. But it would be good to question what you want from a relationship and why it is important to you. Romantic relationships can grow from friendships, and most long term relationships see trust, listening, kindness and friendship as the best qualities. Just because these relationships haven't developed romantically or sexually, doesn't mean that it will never happen. Your time will come!