Here’s how you can find expert information and access sexual health services
It’s really important to stay on top of your sexual health and wellbeing. We’ve gathered together links to lots of useful and informative resources from sexual health experts Brook, Sexwise and the NHS.
If you need help with a topic that isn’t covered here, you could try searching those sites or you could speak to other TSR members about sexual health issues on our dedicated forum.
STIs and sexual health clinics
STIs – also sometimes referred to as STDs – are sexually transmitted infections (STD stands for sexually transmitted disease). They can be passed from men to women, men to men and women to women through all kinds of sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex.
The Sexwise website has loads of information about STIs here, including how to protect yourself against them, how they’re treated and how to tell if you have one.
If you’re sexually active, it’s a good idea to get tested for STIs regularly even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Sexual health clinics provide free STI tests – find your closest ones on the NHS website here, or use the Brook website to find a sexual health service near you.
The NHS also has this comprehensive guide to visiting a sexual health clinic, so you’ll know exactly what to expect before you go.
You may also be able to get a free STI testing kit sent to your home – check if they’re available for your area and order one on the Brook website here.
If you’re exploring or questioning your sexuality, this article on the Brook website has a useful rundown of the different ways you might define your sexual orientation.
You can also get advice about coming out – that is, telling people about your LGBT+ identity – from this piece on Brook.
And if you’re feeling a bit lost in a sea of acronyms and words you don’t quite understand, this list of definitions on Brook runs through key terms to do with sexuality and what they all mean.
Periods and pregnancy
Find out everything you need to know about periods on the NHS website here – including when they start, how many days they might last each month and which sanitary products are available to choose from, from tampons to sanitary towels and menstrual cups.
Brook has plenty of advice about pregnancy – including information to help you make a decision about your pregnancy, whether that involves having a baby, learning more about adoption or accessing abortion services.
This thread on TSR provides information on unplanned pregnancy. It runs through how to take a pregnancy test and links out to useful resources around having a baby or opting for adoption or a termination.
Brook also has a supportive article about miscarriage, which covers both the medical and emotional sides of pregnancy loss.
Safety from sexual assault and harrassment
Sexwise defines sexual assault as any kind of sexual activity that you don’t agree to, with information here on where you can go for help if you’ve been sexually assaulted
Brook emphasises that it can “happen to anyone” and “however it happens, it is never your fault and there are lots of ways to get support.”
You can find advice on dealing with sexual harassment on Brook’s website here, including links to organisations that could help. This article on Brook covers sexual violence, with links to useful organisations such as sexual assault referral centres.
“To consent means to agree to something, and the word can be used in lots of different situations. When it comes to sex specially, to consent means to agree to have sex or engage in sexual activity,” the Brook website says.
Everyone involved in the sexual activity should be consenting at all times, and “it’s completely okay to say no or stop at any point if you don’t want to continue,” Brook adds.
Watch our video with Not On My Campus to find out more about giving and receiving consent and get tips for staying safe.