Sex and Relationships

Healthy Relationships 

If you are thinking about having sex, it is important that you feel ready and can take responsibility. You should be able to enjoy sex and should both consent to it as part of a healthy relationship. It is important to know what a healthy relationship is and the signs of a unhealthy relationship.

Healthy relationships should be happy ones, no matter whether its long term or short term. All relationships will have their ups and downs. There are signs of what a healthy relationship is before making a decision of having sex. Knowing when the timing is right is important, some things to consider are;

  • You feel you could say no and it wouldn't damage your relationship.

  • No-one is pressuring you

  • You each want this as the next step together, not to please the other person.

  • You have discussed contraception.

All relationships should be based on trust and respect.

It is important to know where to go to seek help. If you are or know someone experiencing sexual/relationship abuse visit our urgent help page

For more information and support on healthy relationships please visit; 

What is consent? 

Consent means giving permission. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 for England and Wales says that a person consents to something if that person "agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice".

If someone does not give consent or feels pressured and a person engages in sexual activity with them, this is sexual assault or rape. In a healthy relationship it is important you are able to openly talk about and agree on what kind of activity you want to engage in. The legal age for sexual consent is 16 in the UK. The age of consent is the same regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of a person and whether the sexual activity is between people of the same or different gender. 

To find more information on consent, please visit:

What is child sexual exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse, when people use power over young people to sexually abuse them. This power may come from a difference in age, gender, financial power or intellectual ability or strength. Sexual exploitation can involve organised crime, sending or streaming sexual activities, and giving a young person something they want or need in exchange for sex such as gifts, accommodation, drugs, money or attention.

Some young people are unaware or don't understand that they are being abused and may trust their abuser. If you think a young person is being exploited it is important that you don't confront the abuser, but seek help and advice.

Key contacts;

To find out more on child sexual exploitation please visit; 

The video below provides some useful tips for spotting the signs of child sexual exploitation:


Page reviewed and updated March 2020. Next review: September 2020