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Being gay is okay: Information and advice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and unsure under twenty-fives.

Sex

Sex is a natural and pleasurable part of life. It can strengthen the bond between partners in a relationship, and is an expression of the strong feelings and physical desire felt by both. These feelings are the same for everyone, gay or straight. Sexual thoughts and acts are nothing to feel ashamed of or guilty about. They are the natural world's way of getting people together.

Some people prefer to have casual sex. This means that they aren’t in a committed relationship and have the freedom to have as many sexual partners as they like. There’s nothing wrong with this if it makes a person happy and they don’t hurt anyone in the process.

If you are thinking of starting a sexual relationship, consider the following:

Legal?

In the UK it is illegal to have sex (gay or straight) under the age of 16. This is different in other countries so make sure you know what the age of consent is where you live. The Avert website has a comprehensive age of consent list.

Safe sex

Your sexual health is important. While STIs (sexually transmitted infections) like gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia and HIV needn't stop you enjoying sex, you need to be aware of how to protect yourself and where to go for help if you think you have been exposed (usually a 'Genito-Urinary Medicine' or GUM clinic). It's also a good idea to have a regular checkup, especially if you have more than one regular sexual partner. See Avert's and the NHS's websites for more information about safe sex for young people.

Are you ready?

A virgin is a person who has never had sex. You only lose your virginity once so be sure it’s with the right person. Many people regret drunken sex with someone they didn’t have feelings for; don’t be one of them.

You should only have sex if you feel ready. Don’t be pressured by someone else or feel there’s a rush to lose your virginity because your friends have. People have sex for the first time at different ages, so make up your own mind. If your girl or boyfriend really cares for you, they will be patient and respect your wish to wait.

Activities

Do whatever feels good for you in bed. You can have fun in a variety of ways and it’s okay to say no to something that you don’t want to do. Many young gay men worry that penetrative sex is something they have to do, but this is a myth. If you don’t fancy doing something, then don’t do it.

Communication

It’s normal to be shy about talking about sex. Many of us are raised by parents who avoid talking about it and we end up with a sense of embarrassment and awkwardness around sex. But if you’re old enough to have sex then you’re old enough to talk about it! Being able to talk about sex will enable you to communicate what you do and don’t like in bed, deal with problems and ask for help if you’re worried about something. Communicate with your partner. It’s okay to talk and even laugh during the sex itself.

Fun

Sex is a fun part of life, so enjoy it. There’s no script or list of rules, and sex is rarely like you see it in films. Sex can be clumsy, messy and really quite silly! Don’t stress about sex. Do what feels right for you and enjoy it safely.


Masturbation

Masturbating means manually stimulating your genitals i.e. enjoying sexual stimulation alone by touching your penis or vagina with your hands or using objects. Slang terms for masturbation include wanking, tossing off and jerking off.

Masturbation is a natural way of enjoying and exploring your body. It is a way of discovering what feels good for you and is an outlet for strong sexual feelings that can build up and become distracting in your daily life. Most people masturbate: whether in a sexual relationship or not, young or old, male or female, gay or straight. Some people look at pornography (sexual imagery) when they masturbate, or fantasise about someone they are attracted to.

It’s your body. Masturbation is nothing to feel guilty about or ashamed of. Sexual feelings are very powerful; masturbation is a safe and enjoyable way of exploring them and learning about your body.

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