Sometimes it’s hard to know who to talk to about sex, relationships and us. More about this here and where you can get help and advice.
Check out this video from the Someone Like Me project.
Who do *you* talk to about sex, love and you?
Lots of people in the video said they wouldn’t talk to their parents about sex. There are good reasons for that. They might not be brilliant listeners when it comes to their kids and sex. They often just tell you what to do rather than listen and give proper advice. I give them tips about that here (they’ll try and chat to you whilst washing up, so try and avoid that if you can).
Your parents might not be sexperts but they’ve had feelings. They know what feelings feel like.
Also parents often haven’t had very good #SexEd themselves so their info related advice may be a bit sh*t. But sometimes talking to parents (and carers) can be really important. Particularly if you are worried about your health, or are feeling unsafe in a relationship or are worried about a mate. They’re also good people to talk to about feelings, people to get emotional support from. You may also really feel like you need to tell them something about you and your identity.
So how to talk to your parents.
- Try and pick a good time when they can listen and give you time. Somewhere where you can avoid eye contact if you want to. Like in a car, watching telly or when you’re washing up.
- Remember that they may have different values to you (what you think is right). You might both find that difficult but try to accept and understand that difference. Try not to get upset about that (unless they are being really unreasonable).
- Set boundaries. Just like you don’t want to know about what they get up to in bed, they don’t want to know your embarrassing stories about that time you farted when you had oral sex. (Though they may be interested in knowing how you have safer sex).
- Talk generally about things. Talk about sex and relationships in films or on telly or about celebrities. Use that as a way of talking about what you think about things. What you think is important in a relationship for instance. Get their view too.
- Try to listen as well as talk. These things are better as a conversation. Try not to lecture your parents!
- Don’t just do one big talk. Do it little and often. Don’t freak your parents out with a big long talk all at once.
But, sadly, sometimes parents or carers aren’t the right people to talk to about this stuff. Who else to talk to?
If you have a partner, your partner?
One of the many reasons that people have romantic relationships is so they can have someone to talk to. People often find that they are the person they can speak to most about these things. That’s all very nice – but what if the person you want to talk about is them? It’s a good idea to communicating with a partner about your relationship but sometimes it’s good to speak to someone you trust outside of the relationship. Maybe someone who knew you before the relationship started or someone who can give you a bit of objectivity.
Friends might have the knowledge about sex (or think they do) but they don’t usually have the experience. They can tell you what they would do in a situation but that isn’t always the right thing for you to do, so remember that. Friends are good for chatting about things in general, getting support from, being people to blurt to if you need to get something off your chest. They’re also great for having fun with and distracting you.
Friends can be great people to talk to. They know you really well. They’re fun and they can be challenging too.
People sometimes worry that lads/manz don’t really talk to each other. I don’t think that’s true because I’ve worked with a lot of boys in groups who are always talking to each other about stuff. Sometimes it can be hard talking to another bloke about feelings and things. If they’re a good mate they’ll try and find a way to support you, even if they find it hard to talk about.
There are usually people at school, college, youth clubs you can go and talk to in private about stuff. They’re paid to be there to listen to you – some are even specially trained to do this – especially counsellors. So you can talk to them, even if you’re not a big fan of your school or college.
We’re lucky in the UK that there are people around who are trained to support and give advice to young people for free.
There are often specialist projects or workers who can help if you want to talk about something to do with your sexuality or gender too. There could be other people that you know and trust from different communities or groups you’re involved in. For instance there might be some religious people who are pretty cool about this kind of thing (I know, I’ve met loads of them).
Sexual health services
You can go to sexual health clinics for advice about sexual health, but also for advice generally about sex and relationships. If you have worries or concerns that you want to talk about you can go there for free and confidential advice. More about what that means here. You can see a psycho-sexual therapist or be referred to a mental health specialist from there too.
Sexual health services are great for advice and are free and confidential too.
Websites such as this one can help a lot (I hope) if there isn’t another person you can talk to. They can also help you to talk to someone #meta.
Hopefully websites can help!
Remember that you can ask questions here at Bish but if you want some more in depth advice I always recommend the amazing Scarleteen. They have moderated forums with trained sex educators answering questions. They also have a live chat service which is awesome. More about the services available here.
© Justin Hancock 2015