Sex, sexual orientation, sexual health, sexual wellbeing, what is it all about?
There are so many stories around sex, it's hard to know what to believe! The below will help give you the low down on sex, sexual health and becoming a parent.
You should never be pressured in to doing something you don't want to. Find out more information on consent in this You Tube video on consent
Should you wish to speak confidentially with your School Nurse you can do so by text or telephone them on 07833437363. This number can also be found in your school planner book, School Nurse posters in school, through your school reception or your year principle/pastoral team.
There are many different forms of contraception (about 15 types to choose from!), with advantages and drawbacks to each one. You will need to think about how reliable the method is, how easy it is to use, how it will affect your body and if it will protect you from sexually transmitted infections a well. Most forms of contraception need to be prescribed, but are usually free.
Find out more information on what is available and where to get it from on the NHS getting contraception guide.
YorSexual Health offer confidential, free and friendly contraception services that are available to everyone, including and free online Condom Distribution Scheme which is open to anyone aged 16-24 living in York YorSexual Health - Free Condoms Tel: 01904 721111.
Your GP and Practice Nurse can also offer you advice and a range of free contraception – contact your local practice to find out what is available.
If you need contraception in an emergency - either because you have had unprotected sex or because something went wrong (e.g. you were using a condom which split) you need to act quickly.
There are two types of emergency contraception:
You can get the emergency coil and contraceptive pill free of charge from YorSexual Health. You can also get emergency contraception from your GP and pharmacies.
Find out more information on the NHS Emergency contraception guide.
Most people have sex for the first time when they are 16 years old or older. If you hear someone boasting about having sex, they might be pretending. Remember you should never feel or be pressured to have sex. The NHS are you ready for sex page has more information about sex, including sex and the law, contraception, questions to ask yourself, safe sex including safe sex for women who have sex with women and men to have sex with men.
Find out information on NHS Sexual health facts .
YorSexual Health has clinics across York and North Yorkshire which offer a range of free, friendly and confidential sexual health and contraception services to everyone.
If you require sexual health/contraception care, please call the central booking line on 01904 721111 and press option 1.
Central booking line is open from Monday - Thursday 8:15am-5pm & Friday 8:15am-3:30pm. Saturday 9am-12noon.
If you are 17 and under or a vulnerable person, you can text 07973 775692 to make an appointment Monday-Thursday 8.15am-5pm and Friday 8.15am-3:30pm.
You will be assessed by the team and one of their nurses will call you to discuss the best way to get you the care you require.
Your School Nurse will provide confidential advice and support, text or telephone on 07833437363
Sexually Transmitted Infects (STI) are unfortunately very common. You can become infected no matter how few or many sexual partners you have. Most STIs are easily treated. If you notice any unusual discharge, sores or itching in your genital area, or a burning sensation when you pee, you may have an infection that needs treating.
Often however, there are no symptoms. If your partner has an infection, don't wait for you to develop symptoms. Get yourself checked out. It makes sense to get checked out regularly and especially if you have a new partner.
If you require a STI screen only and you have no symptoms you may prefer to order a testing kit online from the YorSexual Health website.
An unexpected pregnancy is one of the most life altering experiences a person can go through. Whilst it is ultimately the person who is pregnant decision whether they go ahead with a pregnancy or decide to have a termination (abortion), it can have far reaching consequences for the partner too. Abortion can be extremely traumatic for both. If your partner decides to go ahead with the pregnancy then having a child is a major undertaking. If you don't stay together you will still by law have financial responsibility for the child - even if you have no contact with them.
Which ever way you look at it, unless you're both sure that being parents is what you want, the best option is to make sure to avoid pregnancy and this is the responsibility of both partners.
Finding out that you’re pregnant can be daunting, but it is important to know that there is help and support available. Firstly, if you think that you may be pregnant, you need to take a pregnancy test as soon as possible to find out.
Pregnancy tests can be carried out from the first day of your missed period, or if you are unsure when your period would be from 21 days after having unprotected sex. Some sensitive tests can detect pregnancy a little earlier and this will usually be stated on the testing kit. Pregnancy tests can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket and can be done at home. There will be instructions as to how to use it. Pregnancy tests usually require a specimen of urine which can be collected at any time of the day and does not need to be a morning urine sample.
The following services can also offer free pregnancy tests:
The Healthy Child Service (School Nurses) can also support you to access pregnancy tests and can be contacted on 01904 555475. They also have a text service and can be contacted via text on 07833437363.
A positive result will almost certainly be correct. A negative result may be less reliable and so if you have a negative result and still think that you are pregnant, you should repeat the test a few days later, or speak to your GP.
If you are pregnant and wish to continue with the pregnancy, then you should make an appointment as soon as possible to see your GP or midwife to arrange antenatal care, (this is the care that you receive from a doctor or midwife during your pregnancy). This is very important as it checks on both your health and your baby’s health throughout your pregnancy.
Find our more information about the NHS antenatal midwife care.
York's Healthy Child Service pages lets you know what to expect and what support is available to you during pregnancy and beyond..
It is important to take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day ideally before you're pregnant and until you're 12 weeks pregnant. This is to reduce the risk of problems in the baby’s development in the early weeks of pregnancy.
You can get folic acid tablets and vitamins to support your pregnancy from pharmacies and supermarkets, or a GP may be able to prescribe them for you. You may qualify for free vitamins under the NHS Healthy Start scheme.
NHS Healthy Start provides free vitamins and vouchers for milk, fruit, vegetables and infant formula during pregnancy and your baby’s first four years. If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help through the Healthy Start Scheme.
Anyone aged under 18 years who is pregnant is eligible for Healthy Start.
If you are eligible you will be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some shops. The card will be topped up every 4 weeks. You can use your card to collect:
If you are currently receiving paper vouchers for Healthy Start this scheme is ending early 2022, you need to re-apply online to continue receiving payments. You can still use Healthy Start vouchers until their expiry date.
If you are not sure about whether or not you wish to continue with the pregnancy, then it is important that you take some time to consider your options in order to make sure that you make the decision that is right for you.
Talking to people that you trust and getting information about your options may help you decide. You may wish to speak to your partner, family or friends. Alternatively, you may wish to speak to someone less close to you such as your GP or other healthcare professional.
Your options are:
If you would like to talk to someone about your options the following organisations can help you:
Reflect York offer free support for anyone facing a pregnancy choice. They provide free one to one support for individuals or couples. Tel: 01904 676710 Text: 07517 624750 or email email@example.com
Bpas: helpline:0345 730 4030, www.bpas.org
Marie Stopes: helpline:0345 300 8090, www.mariestopes.org.uk
If you are under 25, you can also find information about all options including termination from the Brook website at www.brook.org.uk
Every parent struggles sometimes with the demands of raising a child, not just young parents. Having the right support is really important. This may come from family and friends but there are other people who can help.
The Healthy Child Service will continue to support both you and your baby after the pregnancy. Visit the Healthy Child Service page for more information on the support available.
York Family Information Service offers impartial information, advice and guidance to all parents and carers. You can find out more information about what help and support is available for parents in the families section on this website.