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Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Now you’re well into puberty you may start experiencing new physical feelings and emotions, like finding yourself attracted to that certain someone…

Finding yourself being drawn to someone is called ‘sexual attraction’ and is totally normal. Who knows why we feel attracted to some people and not others — it could be to do with looks, personality or whatever you think is attractive in a person — but one thing's for sure, it’s different for everyone.

What Is ‘Sexual Arousal (1)

What’s a crush?

We’ve all had them. Whether it’s on a friend, someone in your class, a teacher, sports coach, TV or celeb, having a crush is normal and can be exciting. As you get older, they often subside or you find you like someone else so don’t panic — you won’t feel awkward around that cute teacher forever! Your crush might even be someone of the same sex. It’s your body’s natural curiosity towards others and could be the start of your sexual preferences developing. As with any new feelings, give them time to develop, don’t rush, and remember everyone is different. Also, don’t be put off if your friends don’t get why you’re attracted to a certain person... At least you don't have to argue about which one of you they'd choose!

What if my crush doesn’t like me back?

Try not to worry about how your crush feels about you and all the things you do; chances are they’re more occupied with trying to perfect a TikTok dance or hanging out with friends. Try to relax, be cool, but above all, be yourself. Remember, you should always try and do what makes you happy and comfortable. If they’re interested in you, they’ll want to get to know you for you! As we said, not all crushes last forever, so try to remember there will be others that you like in the future – there are lots of people out there!

What is ‘sexual arousal’?

You may notice new sensations in your body now and these are, again, normal! Things like spotting your crush, reading something, watching TV or a movie that shows romance or something sexual, can all make you feel a little excited in different parts of your body. Don’t worry, this is sexual arousal and it’s the physical reaction to that attraction, conjuring sexual feelings. It’s not wrong if you want to act on it but it’s worth remembering that any kind of sexual relationship with a boy or girl under the age of 16 is illegal.

So, what’s masturbation?

It’s natural to be curious about your own body, whether you’re a boy or a girl, and how it works and feels when touched. It often results in people masturbating — when they touch their own genitalia (your “down there” bits) and might feel tingly inside. It’s both natural and instinctive, but some people are frightened by how it makes them feel and believe masturbation is wrong or harmful. It’s perfectly normal to get to know yourself but it’s totally up to you if you choose to do it or not!

What do I do if I’m being peer pressured?

One thing worth remembering with all things sexual is to not allow peer pressure to influence you, part of becoming an independent young woman is embracing your right to choose. A peer is someone of a similar age, who you might share likes and dislikes with and can be a close friend or even just someone in your class. When that relationship turns into something less fun and you feel pressured to act, think or look a different way, that’s called peer pressure and it’s not cool – especially when it comes to anything sexual. If something is not right for you, don’t be afraid to say no. If you find that any kind of peer pressure is getting too much it’s worth having a chat with a trusted adult, guardian or parent. They will have experienced similar things at school and sometimes even at work so they’ll probably have some great advice for you. Remember, you’re doing a fab job of navigating puberty and together we’ve got this!

Teens FAQs

What are tampons?

Most tampons are made from a cotton like material, which is compressed into a small cylinder shape. Tampons are worn inside your vagina to absorb menstrual fluid. There are two different types of tampon, known as applicator and non-applicator and these give you a choice about how you insert them.

Why is period blood different?

Menstrual blood is not the same as the blood you see when you cut yourself elsewhere on the body. Menstrual fluid lines the walls of your uterus and is called endometrium; this is a mixture of blood, tissue cells and natural secretions from the vagina and cervix and is not toxic or harmful in any way.

How long will I have periods for?

On average you can menstruate for up to 40 years, with 13 periods each year, that’s a whopping 520 periods in a lifetime! So now you can see why it’s important to understand your menstrual cycle and use the correct products for your flow.

How much blood is in a period?

It can look like there is an awful lot of blood being lost but don't worry! You’ll be surprised to learn that for people with an average menstrual flow, no more than 2.5 tablespoons or an egg cup full of blood is released each month.

What colour is a period?

Menstrual fluid is not always red in colour – it can vary from very light brown to dark red (almost black) and this is perfectly normal. Your period may be lighter in colour at the start or you may only experience a lighter colour on the last couple of days... It all depends on your individual flow!

Will my period stop if I go in water?

You may have heard the rumour that periods stop in water due to water pressure, or depending on how cold the water is and therefore you don’t need to use any protection at all. This is NOT TRUE, menstrual fluid is released when the muscles surrounding your uterus contract and they can do this anywhere and anytime, even in water. So make sure you're always protected - a tampon is the best option because it's worn internally.

What do I do with used tampons?

Don’t flush your used tampon down the loo! Instead roll it up in tissue and pop it in a bin in the toilets or with other household waste.

When am I going to get breasts?

Breast development can start from the age of 7 -15 with the average being around 9-13, so don’t worry if your friends start developing or wearing bras before you, we are all different and it’s not a competition!

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