Sex and relationships

Sex and relationships can sometimes seem complicated and give you a lot to think about. That's why we have advice and frequently asked questions on how to have safe sex, deciding if you’re ready for sex and what consent means, coming out, gender identity, healthy relationships, and communicating with children. We also have a page on rape and sexual assault with support and signposting on what to do and who can help.

In this section
  • Safe sex

    Sex isn’t just penetrative vaginal sex. It can also include oral sex, anal sex and masturbation. Safer sex does not mean less pleasurable sex. It simply means taking a couple of steps to reduce the risk of your body fluids and your partner’s body fluids (semen, vaginal fluids and blood) from coming into contact.

    Man opening condom in bed with woman in the background
  • Having sex for the first time

    Having sex for the first time can feel like a big deal for a number of reasons. If you’re between the ages of 16-20, you probably feel like everyone else is doing it but you. In reality, only 1 in 3 people of your age group has had sex.

    Two teenagers touching hands
  • Sex and consent

    Consent is giving clear permission for sex or any intimate activity to happen and being comfortable to do so. You should never assume that someone is giving consent - you have to be sure. Sex should always be a choice and you should never feel pressured into saying yes.

  • LGBTQ+

    We’re all attracted to different people and this isn’t something we can control. Some people are attracted to people of a different gender, the same gender or both. There are lots of different sexual preferences so don’t worry about fitting into a type of sexuality or being different.

  • Trans and identity

    Trans as an umbrella term that we use to refer to people whose identity differs from the sex they were given at birth. People are more complicated than the two traditional gender categories of male and female suggest.

  • Making your relationship stronger

    Healthy relationships are an important part of our overall wellbeing. They are about respecting, not resenting each other, compromise and giving each other the space you need.

    Young couple holding hands
  • Communicating with your children

    When children grow up, they become vulnerable to getting hurt as they explore their feelings. This can lead to challenging behaviour for parents to manage.

  • Rape and sexual assault

    If you have been sexually assaulted or raped, it’s important that you are seen as soon as possible for physical and/or emotional support. This is not your fault and you are not alone. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, class or background. There are lots of people and organisations that can help you.

Further advice

If you’re under 25, you can get lots of information and advice at Brook covering everything from sexuality to relationships and from gender identity to staying safe online. The BBC also have a great online area on sex & relationships including information on porn, virginity, dumping your boyfriend or girlfriend, age difference and online relationships.

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