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Relationships & Sex Education

Relationships and sex education (RSE) is a topic where you will learn about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, relationships, sex, sexual identity and sexual health. It will help you with the information, skills and positive values involved in having safe, fulfilling relationships. RSE will help you to enjoy your sexuality and to take responsibility for your sexual health and wellbeing.

Throughout the monthly cycle some women get a discharge – clear or white fluid that keeps the vagina clean and protects against infection. This is normal and nothing to be worried or embarrassed about. If the discharge changes (if there’s a smell, texture or colour), or if you are concerned, speak to a trusted adult and see a GP.

There’s no way to know exactly when you’ll get your first period. One day, you’ll see blood in your underwear or on your sheets, and there it is! There may be signs of your first period (like cramps, bloating, or acne), but this doesn’t happen for everyone.

Most people get their first period between ages 12 and 15, but some people get theirs earlier or later than that.

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Masturbation is when you get sexual pleasure from touching your genitals, usually with your hand. You can masturbate yourself or a partner. Masturbation usually leads to an orgasm.

Yes, masturbation is normal. It can be a part of a person’s sexual development – there are no negative side effects. However, as with anything if it starts to dominate someone’s life, it can be harmful in the same way as anything else.

It is completely normal to feel weird or uncomfortable bringing up the changes in your body, dating, or sex with your parents or other trusted adults in your life. But it is important to remember that they care about you and want to help you.

These adults in your life will probably be glad that you came to them with questions, especially with topics like bodies, health and sex. And once you start talking, it gets easier every time. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a plan ahead of time, so you can make sure to get all your questions answered.

During puberty, the penis and testicles develop more rapidly, although the penis doesn’t stop growing till about the age of 21. Each penis is unique, and boys develop at different ages and rates.

An internet based study of 50,000 people revealed that 45% of men would like a larger penis, while 85% of women were satisfied with their partners penis size. It may come as a surprise to some young men, but most people have very little interest in the size of a partner’s penis. Most partners are more interested in whether there is romance, tenderness, and sensitivity to their needs and desires.

In the UK, the legal age of consent is 16, for any form of sexual activity for both men and women. The age of consent is the same, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of a person and whether the sexual activity is between people of the same or different gender. This means that people over 16 should not be having sex with anyone under 16.

However, not everyone who does something that is against the law is charged with a crime and prosecuted. It is up to prosecutors to decide whether it is in the public interest for this to happen.

When making this decision prosecutors have to consider lots of different factors. These include:

  • How close in age and maturity levels those involved are
  • The relationship of those involved
  • Whether the person under 16 consented
  • Whether the sexual activity was a normal part of the process of becoming an adult.
  • Whether the person under 16 was aged 12 or under

Research suggests that the average age in the UK for people having sex for the first time is between 16 and 17. Although it may seem like everyone is having sex underage, the truth is the majority are not.

Choosing when to start having sex is a personal decision and should not be influenced by what your friends are doing. Research also suggests that young people who start to have sex later enjoy their first sexual experience more. Perhaps this is because they have better developed communication skills and feel more confident expressing their needs to a partner.

It is never okay to be pressured into having sex, whether you feel like you have to just because your friends are becoming sexually active, or your partner wants you to, etc. Bullying, blackmailing or in any way coercing someone into sexual activity is abuse and you have the right to expect much more from your relationship. Here’s some tips that might be helpful:

  • If your partner won’t accept that you don’t want to have sex, make up any excuse so that you have time to think about the situation.
  • Try to physically get away from the situation to a place of safety. Prioritise your own safety over potentially hurting your partner’s feelings.
  • Try and shout and draw attention. This can be difficult as many victims freeze with fear and this is completely understandable. However, if you can scream or shout, do so.
  • Whilst it is not always possible fight back, you have the right to defend yourself. The aim of fighting back is to escape the situation.

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If you’re 13 to 16, you have the same rights to confidentiality as an adult. The doctor or nurse would ask a set of questions to ensure you fully understand the information, decisions and risks involved, and that you are not being pressured. They might encourage you to consider telling your parents or carers, but they won’t make you.

If you are at risk of harm or abuse, they can help you by getting you support and other information to help protect you.

For more help and information, you can talk to a trusted adult, visit ChildLine complete our contact form or contact your nearest Spectrum sexual health clinic.