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Sue and Julia from Lancashire NHS join us in live chat to answer your questions around sexual health. We find out more about dental dams, Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC), the pill and sex as part of a healthy relationship.
Sue: Hi guys, feel free to ask me anything, I'm here to answer any questions you might have around sexual health and my colleague Julia is here with me to help out too.
Sue: Hi me2 thanks for your question. You don't need your parents' permission to go on the pill no, but you might want to think about talking to a parent or trusted adult about it when you feel ready. The nurse that you see at the clinic will just check that you're able to make an informed decision about it on your own. I hope that answers your question. Is there anything else that you're worried about?
me2: I'd prefer not to tell my parents. They wouldn't understand and wouldn't be too happy. What do u mean by 'informed decision'? And can I check as well, am I right in thinking that only condoms protect against STIs?
Sue: The health professional that you see will be checking that you're not doing anything you're not really sure you want to do - for example that no one is putting pressure on you to have sex. That's what we mean by informed decision.
As to the condoms you're quite right, it is only condoms that can protect against STIs but we would really recommend using another method of contraception as well as condoms.
me2: OK thank you. We don't use condoms; that's why I asked.
Sue: If you feel nervous about going to your local service then why not take a friend along?
me2: OK, thank you.
Sue: The only time that neither of you would be at risk is if neither of you had ever had any sexual contact before, including oral sex. Always using a condom when you're having sex is a really good habit to get into.
me2: I haven't before but he has.
Sue: Thanks for being honest. It's worth remembering that if he really cares about you then he should want to use a condom to protect you both. It might be worth thinking about having a Chlamydia screening at your local service too.
me2: You mean me have one?
Sue: Yes you, it's important to look after yourself and make sure you use a condom from now on ;)
me2: OK, thanks.
Sue: No problem and all the best.
shy_girl: I'm disabled and my boyfriend isn't. Whenever we try to be intimate, it starts off ok, and then he just loses his erection completely. He's thinking about Viagra.
Sue: Hi shy_girl, thanks for your question. Lots of young men do lose erections for all sorts of reasons, do you feel it might be related to your disability or a separate issue? Have you talked to him about it?
shy_girl: We have talked about it. It's hard for us because of my disability to be able to perform penetration. I don't know what to think. I don't know where to go for help.
Sue: OK shy_girl, first of all, do you know if he's able to have an orgasm on his own through masturbation?
shy_girl: Yes he is able to do that.
Sue: It's taken a lot of guts for you to come and talk about this. You're obviously really keen on each other.
shy_girl: We've been together for 3 years.
Sue: Great sex doesn't always revolve around penetration however this is obviously really important to both of you.
shy_girl: It is.
Sue: We'd recommend some psycho-sexual counselling where you would be really supported in practical ways to making this happen.
shy_girl: Do we go to the doctor first?
Sue: Not necessarily, you could go to your GP for the referral though. We'd also suggest putting the viagra to one side, this sounds like it's more about your relationship and working through things together.
**Helen** : Hey shy_girl, just to add to this discussion - I'm not sure if you've seen on TheSite we have an article about disability and sexual confidence...you might find it helpful to check out some of the 'next steps' options on the right-hand side. There's some discussion groups and specific help options :) It might be interesting to chat with people in a forum who may have had similar experiences.
Sue: I hope that helps shy_girl.
shy_girl: It does, thank you.
"For any contraception to work it has to be used every single time you have sex. If this is the pill, it means taking it properly."
Sue: Great, we wish you both lots of luck :)
**Helen** : Cool shy_girl, really glad you've popped in.
Sofia_blue: I have been having pain whilst getting aroused for months. I've been referred to the sexual dysfunction clinic. They haven't really been able to do much, they suggested that I masturbate more, but that's it really. I was abused as a child and I told them but they didn't want to deal with any of that.
Sue: Hi Sofia_blue. Can I ask, is it during penetrative sex or do you get pain when you're by yourself?
Sofia_blue: Before penetration, and when I'm by myself.
Sue: It sounds like you've tried to do the right thing by going to the sexual dysfunction clinic, well done for that, don't give up. You might want to try some counselling.
**Helen**: You might want to take a look at the youth access website to identify something in your area too.
Sofia_blue: I'm also getting pain when I'm not doing anything sexual since I've had a coil fitted.
Sue: In that case we'd suggest you go back to where you were fitted with the coil so that they can check for any problems that might be adding to the pain you've been experiencing.
Sofia_blue: Ok. Am I right that I should be spotting six weeks after it was fitted?
Sue: We're not sure about the spotting so we'd suggest that you go back to get it checked out, that would be the first step. There are a few different things going on here so dealing with them one step at a time is the best way forward :)
Sofia_blue: Thank you. One other thing - I occasionally have sex with women, and I have no idea about safe sex between women, what should I be doing?
Sue: First of all, don't share sex toys and use a dental dam during oral sex. There's some great information on TheSite about dental dams. That should answer quite a few of your queries about them :)
Sofia_blue: Doesn't it make it difficult to perform oral though, using a dental dam?
**Helen**: As it says in the article: "Add lubricant to the side in contact with the vagina for increased sensitivity and sensation." That should make it more enjoyable for you.
Sue: Risks are relatively low with STIs and oral sex but do give it a go and take a look at the article, it might take a bit of getting used to that's all :)
OnlyMwa: Me and my boy friend have been going out for about a 5-6 months, we have been having sex. We don't really talk about anything, other than sex most of the time. We do use contraception, but we give it the odd miss some days. Will that be affective at all? Will not using contraception cause anything other than becoming pregnant? I'm only 14 and my boyfriend is 17. I don't think we know all the safe and not so safe things about having sex.
Sue: Hi OnlyMwa, thanks for joining in and thanks for being honest about your age. It sounds to me that you might be having doubts about whether you actually want to be having sex. It's quite common for girls of your age to feel this way and to have doubts about this
You're also right to be worried about missing using contraception. For any contraception to work it has to be used every single time you have sex. If this is the pill, it means taking it properly. You can also be at risk of STIs as well as pregnancy.
Try to remember that sex isn't everything. You're only 14 so do think seriously about the quality of sex that you want in your life and your relationship. Relationships are meant to make you feel good - hanging out and talking and spending time together is all just as important and maybe you need to do a bit more of this? Good luck!
OnlyMwa: Thanks Sue, it's the sex part I'm worried about like what contraception we'll need.
Sue: I'd suggest you go to your nearest service and talk to them, they will probably recommend condoms as well as another method such as a LARC (long acting reversible contraception). This might be the implant or the contraceptive injection.
OnlyMwa: How would I find the nearest service? And thanks, will look in to that.
OnlyMwa: Thank you Sue and Helen!
**Helen**: OK, so one more minute to go...
Sofia_blue: Is there a safe way to 'trib'?
Sue: Hi again Sofia, as we're out of time Helen is going to post a link where you can find out more about that and there is another instant messaging service that you can use.
**Helen**: Sofia, the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard has an instant messaging service that you can access on certain evenings. It offers a chance to get 1-2-1 support with any of the issues you've raised around lesbian sexual health.
Sofia_blue: Thank you.
Sue: Thanks for all your interesting questions tonight folks. I hope it's been useful and see you again sometime soon :)