This guide to being sexually sensible kick-starts a series of articles created for sexual health week.
By Olivia Adams
The conversation surrounding sex can be a difficult one. In many regards, it is considered a taboo subject. Many have and still frown upon the discussion, perhaps because of the private nature of the experience or because society used to view it differently, which can make it feel as though anything sex-related is negative; rather than a completely natural experience.
However, as our society is becoming more accepting and open about these once disregarded but extremely important topics, this article aims to normalise asking questions, speaking out concerns, and discussing sexual intimacy freely. Whether or not you had sex before, it can feel daunting to have to think about contraception, the risk of STI’s and the experience as a whole. Hopefully, this guide to being sexually sensible will be a helping hand to help you navigate the topic, and answer any questions you may have – or didn’t realise you had.
Here are my five tips to guide you to a safer and more sensible sex life:
1. Contraception: Find out and research the options that are available.
Contraception is the safest way to prevent pregnancy and can remove any worries that you may have about unprotected sex. Although this may seem obvious, some people are unaware of the multiple options that are available and how they differ from one another. Sometimes a quick google search can provide a lot of information about these different types, however, the better option would be to ring/go to the doctors or a clinic to find out more. With there being various options, it can be difficult to find the most suitable for your body and may take a few tries of the different options, but that’s completely normal! Don’t be afraid to ask others about their experiences as most are happy to give advice, however, don’t be scared to try ones that didn’t agree with someone else, as your body may react positively to it! It may feel embarrassing to ask, but I can assure you that it is not, if anything it is responsible.
Here’s a link to the NHS website which gives information about the various types of contraception and has expert advice that you can trust:
2. Emergency contraception: Where to get it and why you shouldn’t worry.
Having the panic of trying to figure out what to do next when an accident happens can understandably feel stressful. However, it is important to remember that it can be sorted; and the quicker it is, the sooner you can relax. You should never feel embarrassed or nervous to get emergency contraception, as I can assure you it happens to so many people, and the nurse/doctor will help to make the process as stress-free as possible. There are various places that you can go to get it and the link below can help to show you the closest option to you if ever in need:
In saying that, there is also the option of getting it delivered to your home if it is more convenient. This will usually mean that it will come the next day and at a cost, rather than when collecting it from a provider for free and on the same day.
3. Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases: How to get checked and why you should.
The thought of going to get checked for STI’s can feel like an inconvenience when perhaps you have no symptoms/signs of one or haven’t had sex in a while. Or, if you have never been to get checked and feel uncomfortable to take that step, that is completely understandable! Yet, when you look at it from the perspective of protecting your own health and your partner/s, even though it may seem like an effort, getting checked is the right thing to do. There are many infections that have no obvious symptoms, and in order to be safe, it is the best option to get it sorted, while also preventing the risk of infecting others. Getting tested is free and can be sent directly to your home, which makes it extremely easy and can take away the nerves you may feel from the whole process! The other option would be to go to a clinic or one of the locations that offer the service near you (check using the link below), to be guided through the process. Although you may feel embarrassed to do it, it is the responsible thing to do when sexually active and should really become a regularity!
Click here to find out testing locations in the UK.
Other helpful links:
4. Talk to the people you trust.
Being sexually active also means being vulnerable; especially if you are new to the whole experience. It comes with lots of questions and potential worries that sometimes all you need is someone you can trust to talk it through with. Always be respectful of your partner/s with what you may be discussing, but in terms of asking a friend for advice about contraception or needing someone to go with you to get checked, it is good to have someone to confide in.
5. Most importantly have fun!
It’s important to remember that despite the potential worries and nerves, sex is meant to be an exciting, enjoyable experience that should be celebrated and respected! It is not something you should feel ashamed of or feel uncomfortable about. Keep in mind that you can still have fun by being safe and never be afraid or embarrassed to talk about sex and all that comes with it!
We hope you enjoyed this guide to being sexually sensible. Come back every day this week for a new article about sexual health.