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Relationships and Sexual Health

As you move toward becoming an adult it is likely you will continue to develop close relationships with others, some of which might become intimate and involve sexual contact. 

From the age of 16 young people are considered old enough to give consent to engage in sexual activity with other people over the age of 16, if they want to. There are still some laws in place to protect young people where there might be an imbalance of power in the relationship and you can find out more about this and what makes a healthy relationship in the links below. 

It is important to understand that consent is variable and can be withdrawn at any stage or time. People under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not considered able to consent to sexual activity, watch this video for an explanation:
Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and there is a wide variation on what is normal. It is important for you to get to know your body and have an awareness of your sexual and reproductive health.  More information on your body can be found here:

Sometimes we can feel and think differently to the sex we were given at birth, you can find more information at the links below.

Sexuality describes your sexual preferences. Sexual orientation makes up a part of someone’s sexuality, however, it covers more than just who a person is attracted to. You can read more in the link below.

Having sex without contraception puts you at risk of pregnancy or catching a sexually transmitted infection, for more information about types of contraception and STI’s click the sexual health links at the bottom of this page. 

Remember, sending or receiving sexual images of a young person under 18 (sexting) is a criminal offence.

What you can do to help

Pay attention to your sexual health and notice any changes, lumps, bumps, sores, itching or discharge in your genitalia (vagina, clitoris, vulva, penis, testicles) or anal area, you can get support from your family doctor or local iCash if you have symptoms you are worried about.

Get to know your own body and learn about what you like and don’t like, communicate openly with any partners you have sexual activity with. It’s OK to say no and don’t feel pressured to do anything you are uncomfortable with.

From age 15 testicles (balls) should be checked monthly, a guide on how to do this can be found here.

Breasts should be checked for lumps from age 20 and smear testing begins at age 25 (screening for cervical cancer).

Take steps to prevent unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections by using appropriate contraception. If you have unprotected sex this puts you at risk of pregnancy and STI, you can access free testing, contraception and advice at your local integrated contraception and sexual health clinic (iCash) or email:  or call: 0300 300 3030.

Young people in Cambridgeshire can also access free of charge contraception and sexual health advice at Centre 33 (Ely, Wisbech, Cambridge, call on 0300 4141819 or drop-in).

Don’t engage in sexual activity unless you are sure you want to, do so at your own pace and on your terms. If you feel you have been pressured into sex or experienced sexual violence or abuse you can get help at:

The Elms SARC (based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital) offers free support and practical help to anyone in Cambridgeshire who has experienced sexual violence and/or sexual abuse, both adults and children. You can access the Elms SARC via the Police and other professionals, as well as via the self-referral pathway (booking an appointment at the SARC without police involvement):

Who can help?

For more advice about relationships and sexual health speak to one of our team. You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation. **Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm excluding bank holidays**

Older children (aged 11-19) can ask advice from a school nurse by texting our confidential ChatHealth service on 07480 635 443.

Need more information?

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Delivering excellence in Children and Young People’s Services:
a partnership between Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
Funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council

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