If you start going out with someone you might want to have sex. The key to good sex is feeling comfortable with your partner and understanding what each other wants. The best way to do this is through talking to each other, being honest about what you do and don’t want and taking things at your own pace. Getting to know what you do and don’t like sexually is important and masturbation and getting to know your own body can help you do this.
It’s never okay to feel pressured in to doing things that you don’t want to. If you don’t feel okay about something then say no.
It’s important to educate yourself about safer sex and how to protect yourself from STIs (sexually transmitted infections), including HIV. Talk to your partner about this before having sex. Knowing the facts, understanding risks and protecting yourself are the key to having enjoyable safer sex.
This short booklet talks through the essentials to help you make make sure you have the right info to make the right choices for you and that you're happy and safe in what you do.
You can reduce the risk of catching and transmitting STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) including HIV, by using condoms and oil-free lubricant for anal and vaginal sex, and condoms and dental dams for oral sex.
If you’re having penetrative sex, make sure you always use a condom to reduce the risk of STIs.
Condoms come in a range of sizes and it’s important that you get the right size for you to help make sure that it doesn’t slip off or rip, and feels more comfortable.
You can get free condoms and lubricant from a range of places, including by post, in commercial gay venues and from your local sexual health service. For more information about where you can get free condoms and lubricant speak to a youth worker (see contact details).
To reduce the risk of STIs condoms need to be used correctly.
A dental dam is a square sheet made of thin latex.
Use a dental dam to cover the anus or female genitalia when having oral sex. Make sure you hold the dam in place, and using some lubricant on the underside of the dam can help. Always use a new dental dam for different partners.
Dams come in a range of different flavours and are available free from a range of places. Get in touch or speak to your youth worker for more information on where to get them in your area.
If you have had unprotected sex, are concerned that you might have put yourself at risk of catching an STI, including HIV or have any symptoms it’s really important to get yourself checked out. Some STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) don’t have any visible symptoms so getting tested is the only way to know for sure and keep you and your partner healthy.
You can get tested at your local GUM (Genitourinary Medicine) or sexual health clinic. Many GPs, health clinics and family planning clinics also offer testing. For further information on where you can get tested in your area please visit
When you go for a test the doctor or nurse will talk to you about your sexual history. Depending on what you are being tested for they will then take a urine or blood sample or some swabs. Some results can be given on the same day, while others can take up to two weeks.
If you are concerned about your sexual health and need someone to talk to, please get in touch to speak to a youth worker click here.