Patients, Visitors & The Public

Sexual Health

Contraceptive and Sexual Health

When it comes to sex there's a lot you need to know.

From how to avoid Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as Chlamydia, getting to grips with contraception, to being clear about your sexual orientation. It can all seem a bit daunting.

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection, most common in 15-24 year olds. In many cases, there are no symptoms, so it is easily passed around without people knowing. Even though it is invisible, it has serious consequences such as infertility. The good news is that testing and treatment is easy and free for under 25s.

Alcohol and Sex

One too many?

Alcohol is commonly drunk to make people feel more relaxed, confident and sociable. Because of these effects, some people also use alcohol to help them start new sexual relationships. However, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce inhibition and impair judgment. This increases the likelihood of sexual risk taking, which in turn increases the risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and/or becoming pregnant. In a worst case scenario it may lead to
sexual assault.

If you want to cut the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when you mix drink and sex, remember to follow these easy steps:

1. Have a game plan
You don't necessarily go out expecting to have sex

2. Know your limits
The more you drink the less likely it is you'll use a condom

3. Out without a bag? No pockets?
Fit condoms in your shoe/sock/bra/pants!

4. If you're on the pill
Take it well before you start drinking so if you're sick your contraception will still work

5. When you're out
Keep an eye on your drink to make sure no one spikes it

6. No contraception?
Loads of bars and clubs have condom machines. Keep condoms at home just in case

7. You're out ... but your contraception is at home
Take a pill with you if you can. To see fpa's missed pill advice

8. Is safer sex possible when you've been drinking?
Alcohol affects coordination. If you're drunk can you or your partner still put a condom on?

9. Alcohol affects judgment
Will you feel okay about what happened the night before ... the morning after?

10. Don't want sex?
Don't have it! Never let a partner or friends pressure you. Man or woman, you can say NO to sex at any time

11. Something happened
Don't panic. Get advice from fpa or a health professional. Take emergency hormonal contraception within 72 hours of unprotected sex and get tested for sexually transmitted infections.

Gay or Lesbian?

Guys or girls:Are you confused about your sexual orientation?

Lots of things in life can be confusing. Your sexual orientation can be one of them. Working out whether you're straight, gay or bisexual can be easy for some people. For others, it may be more difficult.

Most people, if they're honest have fancied or had feelings for someone of the same sex. Some may have even experimented with another person of the same sex. The important thing though is to realise that this is a perfectly normal part of your sexual development.

Whether you are gay (attracted to people who are the same sex as you), straight (attracted to the opposite sex) or bisexual (attracted to both sexes) what really matters is that you are comfortable with who you are. What's also important is that you don't take risks when having sex, so that you reduce the chances of unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted illness.

STIs - the full story

STIs or sexually transmitted illnesses are just that - illnesses that are passed between people while having sex. There are lots of different STIs, but many of them share the same symptoms. Things like...

  • An unusual discharge from the vagina
  • An unusual discharge from the penis
  • Sores or blisters round the vagina, penis or anus
  • Rash or irritation round the vagina, penis or anus
  • A burning sensation when you pee
  • Pain or soreness when you're having sex

Got one or more of those? Then you could have one of these...