Relationships and Sex

We are taught about love and relationships from a young age through relationships with our friends and family, then when we are older, through books, television, movies, pop songs and social media.

However, these notions of love and how relationships should be can be harmful as they may not portray them realistically. These messages might be helpful for the minority of people that meet their 'one' at a young age and then have a happy life-long relationship together. However, for everyone else, they may do more harm than good and may affect the way we feel about ourselves.

How we feel about ourselves can have a huge effect on how we have (or don't have) relationships with people. If we regularly feel 'not good enough' or invisible or rejected, then we may not be great at looking after ourselves and those around us. This can place us in relationships or encounters which may neglect our needs, rather than take care of them. This is at the core of many relationship and sexual problems.

If we regularly feel 'not good enough' what might make us feel better about ourselves?

Us (individuals)

People around us (friends, peers, family)

Society (media, TV, internet, porn, advertising, shops, government etc.)

If we respect and treat ourselves well then we believe that we deserve to be happy and in turn have positive relationships.

When we are in a relationship and thinking about sex we may look at what we have learnt about sex through our experiences growing up and what society says. This could be:

These are false, harmful and misleading and do not apply to all people and all relationships and so should be ignored. You need to decide when you want to have sex, if you want to have sex and how you want to have sex. To help you make that decision and to help give you the knowledge and skills in order to communicate with your partner about sex and your relationship, there are some really useful online resources at:

These websites should help you to gain the understanding and confidence to cope with the many pressures and challenges of society and help you make the right choices for you. It is important that you learn what is safe and unsafe and how to get help if you need it. Being equipped with these skills will also help with your ability to talk openly with parents or people that you can trust.

Consent is just about 'yes' and 'no' isn't it?! NO, it's a little more complicated then that!

People can feel pressured in to having sex by their partner and just because you may agree for sex to go ahead you may not be comfortable and certainly don't feel like it at that time. Therefore, consent is also about respect, communication and expectations so that we don't feel bad about ourselves should we have sex when we really don't want to.

Please follow this link below:

If you or your partner weren't enjoying something like a film, you would say this to your partner and perhaps discuss whether you should turn it and off watch something else, so why is sex any different?

Safer Sex

When you decide to have sex, there's the possibility of pregnancy, catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia, or both. Whoever you're thinking of having sex with, it's important to talk about contraception and condoms before you have sex. Both of you have a responsibility to have this conversation.

Starting a conversation about the different types of contraception could be a good way to start talking about other issues to do with sex, such as how you feel about it and what you do and don't want to do.

You could try saying, "I found out there are 15 different types of contraception, if we were to have sex, which one should we use?". Researching the options together will help both of you feel more confident and in control of the situation. For more information about how you can have safer sex and the options you have then please follow the links below

The C-Card

The C-Card scheme is a national service commissioned by each local authority for young people aged between 13 - 24 to provide free condoms, lube and dams, sexual health information, help and advice.

If you're thinking about having sex, have already started or are just concerned about the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, then a C-Card is for you. It doesn't matter if you're lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, trans or unsure of your gender or sexuality, a C-Card is still for you.

If you live in Nottinghamshire:

If you live in Leicestershire and Rutland:

If you live in Derbyshire:

This is a national service so if you need to find out where you can register in your local area then pop 'C-Card' and the area in which you live in your search engine and you will be directed to the correct service.

Teenage Pregnancy

Discovering you are pregnant when you are a teenager can be very frightening, particularly if the pregnancy was not planned. If you decide to continue with the pregnancy, there are a wide range of services to support you during pregnancy and after you've had your baby. Your midwife or health visitor can give you details of local services.

You may not be sure if you want to go ahead with your pregnancy. You need accurate information so you can talk through your options and think carefully before you make any decisions. If you're not sure what to do, you can discuss it with a healthcare professional.

Whatever your age, you can ask for advice confidentially. In addition to the above, it is commonplace for there to be many questions and concerns that you may have and there is support in relation to all of them. Some of the most frequent concerns are:

For up to date further advice, information and guidance visit the following websites:


Apprentices can take up to 52 weeks' maternity leave. If you're an apprentice, you may qualify for statutory maternity pay. Maternity Action has more information about maternity rights for apprentices

If you are worried or have any concerns, please contact the Buttercups Safeguarding and Welfare Team.

OFFICE HOURS: 0115 937 4936
OUT OF HOURS: 07483 038898



A huge resource for the under 25s, covering everything from bereavement, exam stress, emotional abuse, mental health to homelessness. A confidential service with a 24 hour helpline.


Pharmacist Support is an independent charity set up to provide help and support to pharmacy students, pre-registration (pharmacist) trainees, pharmacists, retired pharmacists and their families in times of need.