Relationships can be wonderful. But like anything else in life some relationships don't work out and are not healthy and constructive.
RELATIONSHIPS – THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Sometimes it's hard to figure out who is good for us and who is not. Some people play games, others want control or just want to take and never give of themselves. Some resort to manipulation, force or intimidation to get what they want.
When a young person is in a happy relationship, how do they feel?
When a young person is in an unhappy relationship how do they feel?
What can you do if the relationship is abusive?
If your relationship is abusive; emotionally, physically or sexually you can:
• Tell the other person that the violence must stop
• Confide in trusted friends and family
• Be kind to yourself, do things which make you feel stronger
What can you do if your friend is in a bad relationship?
• Helping them recognise signs of emotional physical and/or sexual abuse
• Make sure your friend is in control and can make their own decisions. Support them but don't take over their lives
• Encourage them to feel strong and good about themselves
• Respect the decision they have made. If the relationship is still abusive, they'll need your friendship more than ever
There is more to relationships than just boy/girl attraction, some people are attracted to people who are of the same sex and others are attracted to both sexes.
• Lesbian women and gay men are people who are attracted to members of the same sex. The word ‘gay’ is sometimes used for both.
• Bisexuals are people who are attracted to both sexes.
• Transgender people may believe that they are a male born into a female body, or a female born into a male body.
• A study in Northern Ireland found that the average age for a young man to realize that he is LGBT is 12, while for young women it is 13. However, the average age when they first tell someone about their sexual identity is 17 for guys and 18 for young women.
• It can be difficult knowing that you are LGBT and feeling that you cannot tell anyone. Probably, the best thing to do is to talk to someone you trust about it.
Myths and Facts
Myth: Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is a choice.
Fact: Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is no more of a choice than being heterosexual (straight).
Myth: All gay men are camp and all lesbian women are butch.
Fact: Anyone can appear both ‘camp’ and ‘butch’. Whatever way someone is perceived, everyone is unique and important.
CAN YOU THNK OF ANY OTHER MYTHS?
SEX – EVERYONE’S DOING IT, AREN’T THEY?
Do you get to a certain age and all of a sudden everyone around you is having sex? It sure seems so. They’re doing it on TV, your friends might be doing it, your body’s going through all of these changes and now you’re starting to think about it…
IT’S YOUR DECISION
In Ireland, the age of consent for sex is 17 years old for straight men and women and gay men. The age of consent for non-penetrative sex and therefore lesbian sexual activity is 15. Did you know this?
In general the age of consent for attending a Doctor or hospital is 16… this means that the Doctor cannot discuss the reason for your visit with anyone else.
If you don’t want to or don’t feel ready to have sex, then you don’t have to. If you say "NO" and someone forces you (or if you force someone) to have sex then it is rape. Sex shouldn’t be violent, harmful, threatening or make you feel bad. Sex should really be a positive experience.
Things to think about…
• Ask yourself if you are mature and ready in every way
• If you do it, will you feel guilty or bad about yourself?
• Does your girlfriend/boyfriend really respect and care about you and how do you feel about them?
• Can you talk about the things that you do and don’t want to do?
• How can you have more trust and respect in your relationship?
• Who can you turn to if you have an unpleasant sexual experience?
PREGNANCY AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS (STIS)
If you decide to have sex, ALWAYS use protection like a CONDOM. If you don’t, you might have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy or catch a STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) and that will affect your life, mental health and physical health in BIG ways.
STI’s can be very painful and problematic. Some can cause infertility like Chlamydia and some there are no cure for like herpes or HIV. You may not always know if you have an STI as some STIs have no symptoms. The only sure way to tell is to have a test through your GP or clinic.
Some people might lie about their past sexual experiences. So if someone doesn’t want to have safe sex with you, then the chances are they have had unprotected sex before and are putting you and themselves at risk!
Also being on any drugs and alcohol can affect your decisions and actions about sex and safe sex – so think about it!
There is no way around using protection and no matter what anyone tells you, you always need to practice safe and consenting sex – it’s the only way you prevent STI’s and unplanned pregnancies.
GET THE RIGHT INFORMATION
Read the instructions on the condom packaging or talk with a doctor.
You can also find info about safe sex and sexual health on the Internet e.g. www.spunout.ie
Talk about sex and relationships with your friends and family to find out their opinions and thoughts.
SEX – NOT EVERYONE IS DOING IT.
Not everyone around you is having sex and lots of people wait for a time or a girlfriend/boyfriend that is right for them.
There is no time or age limit that you should have sex by and you can’t make someone like you more by having sex with them. Remember it’s your body and what you do with it is up to you. Have respect for yourself and be safe and respectful in what you do.