Relationships

and Sex

We are taught about love and relationships from a young age through relationships with our friends and family, then when we are older, through books, television, movies, pop songs and social media.

However, these notions of love and how relationships should be can be harmful as they may not portray them realistically. These messages might be helpful for the minority of people that meet their ‘one’ at a young age and then have a happy life-long relationship together. However, for everyone else, they may do more harm than good and may affect the way we feel about ourselves.

How we feel about ourselves can have a huge effect on how we have (or don’t have) relationships with people. If we regularly feel ‘not good enough’ or invisible or rejected, then we may not be great at looking after ourselves and those around us. This can place us in relationships or encounters which may neglect our needs, rather than take care of them. This is at the core of many relationship and sexual problems.

Us (individuals)

– Understanding that we have a relationship with ourselves
– Treating ourselves as well as, and not worse than, a friend.
– Self-care lists (e.g. eating something nice, reading, long baths)

People around us

– Being supportive of each other
– Being there for people (e.g. being someone who can be trusted and relied upon)
– Sharing fun times
– Celebrating relationships (e.g. birthdays)

Society

– Banning photoshopped images
– Creating new and more supportive media like YouTube channels or Tumblr
– Making porn sites harder to access
– Making toys less gendered

If we respect and treat ourselves well then we believe that we deserve to be happy and in turn have positive relationships.

When we are in a relationship and thinking about sex we may look at what we have learnt about sex through our experiences growing up and what society says. This could be:

– Everyone will have, and wants to have, sex
– Everyone likes to be touched in the same place
– Proper sex is penetrative and this should be reproductive (penis in vagina)
– Sex is about technique and doing ‘it’ properly
Apprentices can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. If you’re an apprentice, you may qualify for statutory maternity pay. Maternity Action has more information about maternity rights for apprentices

Safer Sex

When you decide to have sex, there’s the possibility of pregnancy, catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia, or both. Whoever you’re thinking of having sex with, it’s important to talk about contraception and condoms before you have sex. Both of you have a responsibility to have this conversation.

Starting a conversation about the different types of contraception could be a good way to start talking about other issues to do with sex, such as how you feel about it and what you do and don’t want to do.

You could try saying, “I found out there are 15 different types of contraception, if we were to have sex, which one should we use?”. Researching the options together will help both of you feel more confident and in control of the situation.

The C-Card

The C-Card scheme is a national service commissioned by each local authority for young people aged between 13 – 24 to provide free condoms, lube and dams, sexual health information, help and advice.

If you’re thinking about having sex, have already started or are just concerned about the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, then a C-Card is for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, trans or unsure of your gender or sexuality, a C-Card is still for you.

Teenage Pregnancy

Discovering you are pregnant when you are a teenager can be very frightening, particularly if the pregnancy was not planned. If you decide to continue with the pregnancy, there are a wide range of services to support you during pregnancy and after you’ve had your baby. Your midwife or health visitor can give you details of local services.

You may not be sure if you want to go ahead with your pregnancy. You need accurate information so you can talk through your options and think carefully before you make any decisions. If you’re not sure what to do, you can discuss it with a healthcare professional.

Whatever your age, you can ask for advice confidentially. In addition to the above, it is commonplace for there to be many questions and concerns that you may have and there is support in relation to all of them. Some of the most frequent concerns are:

– Who offers support for pregnant teenagers?
– Can I carry on with my education/job whilst pregnant?
– What do I do about childcare?
– What should I do next?

Apprenticeships

Apprentices can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. If you’re an apprentice, you may qualify for statutory maternity pay. Maternity Action has more information about maternity rights for apprentices

uSEful links

Any Concerns

Should you have any concerns or would like more information, please contact SWCA Safeguarding and Welfare Team

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