As part of the Frisky Not Risky campaign, 20-year-old Elin shared her thoughts about sexual health and relationships and talked about her experience accessing support from the SHOT: Healthy Relationship Service.
The taboo of talking about sex and relationships
Lots of things affect how young people think about relationships and sex. For example, someone’s mental health can stop people from doing what’s best for them. My own experience means I find it hard to talk about some things.
Sex and relationships are part of life, and people should know about them. Young people need to discuss these topics to normalise them and make them feel more comfortable. When I started my period, I was so scared because no one had told me about it. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have been scared. I would have known what to do.
Learning and tackling stigma
Before SHOT, I mostly got info from my doctor or searched for content online on TikTok. Now I get advice and information about sex education that I never had before or only had a little bit of in school.
At first [when speaking to the SHOT team], it was hard because I find it difficult talking about stuff like this. There have been some barriers, like embarrassment, so I’ve avoided discussing them. Some people can’t talk to their parents because it’s not okay because of their religion or other things. Like my mum, she doesn’t know about these things.
Becoming informed and empowered
However, having someone to talk to about relationships and sexual health has been good. My worker is really nice and not judgey at all. She doesn’t make it a big deal and is just easy to talk to. She makes me laugh and is easy to get on with. She’s not as scary as a doctor and helps me with my problems.
We’ve talked about relationships, contraception, STI information, and knowing your body. Next, we are going to talk about keeping safe, sex and the law, consent, online safety, sexual exploitation and risky behaviour.
Knowing I can talk to someone about these things is good because I don’t have anyone else to talk to.
Check out TheSprout’s Sexual Health information page, where you can find loads of helpful info on local and national sexual health information and support services.
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