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Young People

Feelings & Relationships

Respect for your own and other people’s feelings and wants are important in relationships.

Respect is especially important in relationships involving sex because it makes it easier to get hurt emotionally.

'Sex' includes vaginal, oral and anal sex, as well as activities like mutual masturbation, sexting, phone and cyber sex.

Different people, different relationships

Everyone is different and everyone's relationships are different.
Relationships are all about talking and communication, about compromise and finding ways to be together that are good for everyone involved.
There are not 'rules' about relationships, what should happen in them or when. The main thing is we should always respect each other.


Everyone has the right to their own feelings and opinions. 
Respecting yourself means having the confidence to know that your feelings are just as important as anyone else's. It is also about being able to speak up for yourself and what you want.
Respecting others means accepting that other people may feel different to you about the same thing and want different things to you.
Nobody should ever be forced into doing something they don't want to do - no matter how strongly the other person feels about it.
Use of physical force, violence, threats or emotional tricks (like insulting people or putting them down all the time) to get what a person wants are all forms of abuse.  
If this is happening to you or you're worried it's happening to someone else, it's a good idea to talk to someone you trust, like a trusted adult, school nurse, teacher or youthworker. 
Or you could visit your local Youth Health Drop In or call Childline free on 0800 1111 to talk and be listened to at any time.

Feelings about sex

When we talk about sex it can mean a range of sexual activities.
Anyone who tells you that sex 'doesn't mean anything' doesn't know what they're talking about! 
Whenever two people have sex together there are always lots of strong feelings involved. 
Sex can make us feel closer, but it also makes it easier for us to feel hurt emotionally.
And once you've had sex with someone, you can't take it back or undo it.
That's just one reason why you should talk about whether you're really ready to have sex with each other first and think about what you feel happy doing.
You might find it useful to speak to a trusted adult or member of your family like your parents or a brother or sister.  Having sex is a big deal so talking to someone you trust can help. 
Talk about what you do and don't want.
If you do decide to have sex, talk about what protection you're going to use and make sure you're both clear about how to have safer sex.
For no-nonsense information on different kinds of sex, visit the Sex pages at GetTheLowdown.