Egg and Sperm
Are you waiting to utter those famous three little words?
If you think you've found your soulmate, you sort of assume you'll know when the
moment is right, but will you?
Finding the perfect moment to say 'I love you' is a difficult task.
Tip one: don't text
You may be completely paranoid that your sweet words will be met by an ice-cold
response, but resist the impulse to declare your devotion over the text waves.
Tip two: find the perfect place
For lots of people, saying 'I love you' represents the ultimate commitment within
a relationship. Best then, to say it at a moment that you can look back on and
sigh (in other words, not while you're in line waiting for fries at McDonald's).
Tip three: wait until you're really, really sure
Also, if you're really worried you're going to get laughed at, hold back on proclaiming
your devotion until you're sure your one and only feels the same.
Not sure you're really in love?
You could try asking yourself a few hard questions. One word of caution: this
isn't a hard and fast test, just meant to get you thinking!
If you've answered 'no' to most of these questions, think about why. Maybe you
need to get to know each other better. Or perhaps you're not ready to really commit
yet. If you've answered yes, then it could be that you are in love!
- Could you let her go if it was for the best?
- Would you wait for him if he didn't want to have sex?
- Would you still love him if he gained three stone?
- Do you really admire her?
- Can you disagree in a positive way?
- Do you feel free to express your opinion? Do you feel your opinion is respected?
Can't keep your hands off each other?
If you can't shake your primal urges, you've most likely been bitten by the love
The three phases of love
Not all love is equal. According to anthropologist Helen Fisher, falling in love
has three phases.
Phase one: Lust
The sex hormones, testosterone and oestrogen, make us positively lustful. Testosterone
plays a big role in the sex drive of both men and women. In this stage, we're
really on the look out for sexual gratification.
Phase two: Attraction
If you spend all of your waking hours thinking of nothing other than your new
love and if you've lost your appetite and can't sleep, you most likely in the
attraction phase. You can blame your strange behaviour on the neuro transmitters,
dopamine and norepinephrine, aka adrenalin. They give you the jitters and make
your heart race.
Phase three: Attachment
When you're ready to make a commitment you're probably in the attachment stage.
Attachment is thought to be partly related to the hormone oxytocin. Released by
both men and women when they have an orgasm, oxytocin is supposed to help you
What are crabs?
Pubic lice (crabs) are tiny parasites that live in coarse body hair, such as pubic
hair, chest, and underarm hair, for up to three months. They sometimes live in
eyebrows or eyelashes but not on head hair. A female crab lays about four eggs
everyday until she dies.
How are they passed on?
Usually passed on through sexual contact. They can also be passed on indirectly
through contact with towels, clothing, sheets, or other shared objects. This happens
less frequently, because crabs can't live away from the body for longer than a
day (they suck on our blood to survive).
Signs and symptoms
Itchy skin and black powder appears in the underwear, caused by mite droppings.
White eggs can be found on affected hair.
What happens if left untreated?
You'll feel itchy and uncomfortable and can spread lice to others. Pubic lice don't cause any long-term health problems.
Lotion or shampoo that kills lice and their eggs. To avoid re-infection, close contacts or sexual partners should also be treated.
They're pretty good swimmers, those speedy sperms. And
if one hits its target, all hell can break loose.
Pregnancy can occur any time sperm makes contact with female genitals, even during
anal sex. Keep in mind, too, that there's sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluid, so any
contact while you're aroused can lead to pregnancy.
If you've taken all the precautions and you still find yourself in the unenviable
position of an unwanted pregnancy, it's important you know what your choices are.
Facing difficult decisions
First, your partner will need a pregnancy test. These are available free of charge
from her GP, a family planning clinic, or sexual health clinics. You can also
obtain them from pharmacies but you'll have to pay for them.
About one in three pregnancies is unplanned and one in five pregnancies results
in an abortion. It can be a difficult choice to make and can be a very emotional
Talking to people you can trust and obtaining accurate information can help you
to make the decision that's right for you. See your GP or go direct to a family
planning or sexual health clinic.
Is abortion legal?
It is legal in Britain under the 1967 Abortion Act, but, in Northern Irelandit
is only available in exceptional circumstances.
What is the legal time limit for abortion?
Up to 24 weeks. (It is safer when it is carried out in early pregnancy. Most abortions
are carried out before 13 weeks and almost all before 20 weeks. Weeks of pregnancy
are calculated from the first day of the last normal period).
How do I go about getting an abortion?
Abortion is available free on the NHS or through private clinics and hospitals
for a fee. You can either see your GP or go directly to a family planning or sexual
health clinic for an NHS abortion. Remember that the number of NHS abortions varies
from area to area, so you may have to go private, and contact specialist abortion
providers. These include the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes.
Current costs (2003) start from around £350.
Will a hospital or clinic tell my GP if I have an abortion?
Many do so routinely, so that your medical records can be updated, but this is
not a legal requirement. Tell the hospital or clinic if you do not want them to
inform your GP.
If I am under 16, do I have to tell my parents?
No, so long as the doctors involved believe you fully understand what is involved,
and that it is in your best interests. They will encourage you to involve your
parents or a supportive adult, but you don't have to.
What if my doctor won't refer me for an abortion?
If your doctor does not believe in abortion, he or she can refuse to help, but
should always refer you to another doctor.
How long will I have to wait?
You should not have to wait more than three weeks from your first contact with
the GP or clinic. This is a minimum standard. So, ideally, you shouldn't
have to wait so long.
Where will the abortion be done?
In either an NHS hospital or a private clinic, usually on the day, without an
What will happen beforehand?
You'll have the chance to talk things through and ask questions. You will also
receive a blood test and be asked to sign a consent form. In addition, you may
have tests for sexually transmitted infections, an ultrasound scan, a vaginal
examination, and a cervical smear test.
What happens during the abortion?
There are three different abortion procedures:
Early medical abortion (up to nine weeks)
This involves two appointments, usually two days apart. Initial treatment with
a hormone blocking tablet (mifepristone) stops the pregnancy continuing. Prostaglandin
tablets or pessaries (which are inserted in the vagina) then make the womb expel
the pregnancy. This method is not yet available everywhere.
Vacuum aspiration or suction termination (usually from 7 to 15 weeks of pregnancy)
The passage through the cervix (entrance to the womb) is dilated, gently stretched,
and opened. The contents of the womb are removed with a suction tube passed through
the cervix. This takes five to ten minutes and can be carried out under local
or general anaesthetic.
Surgical dilatation and evacuation (D&E (from about 15 weeks of pregnancy)
The cervix is dilated and the pregnancy removed in fragments, using a suction
tube and forceps. This usually needs a general anaesthetic. You may be able to
go home the same day if you are healthy and the pregnancy is less than 18 weeks.
Abortion after 20 weeks is uncommon and involves either surgical dilatation and
evacuation or 'medical induction', which causes a labour similar to a miscarriage.
You will need to spend one or two nights in hospital.
Is abortion safe?
Not entirely, problems are less likely early on. You should be advised of any
potential complications related to the type of abortion you have and your stage
of pregnancy. Infection is the most common problem after a surgical abortion.
Most infections are easy to treat. Other problems may include prolonged bleeding.
Will abortion affect my chances of having a baby in future?
There is no harm to future fertility from a trouble-free abortion. Fertility can
be affected by injury to the womb or serious infection, but this rarely happens.
You should have a check-up within two weeks.
HIV and AIDS
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but almost a third of 18-24 year olds think that there is, according to a survey published by the HIV/AIDS charity, the Terence Higgins Trust, in July 2002.
Teens are dying from embarassment
More than 15,000 people in the UK have died from HIV/AIDS over the last 20 years. Teens are embarrassed to buy and use condoms and and STIs are on the rise.
40 per cent haven't heard of HIV/AIDS
Sex education is failing. A survey in 2001 by the Schools Health Education Unit revealed that today's youngsters are much less aware of the facts. It revealed that 40 per cent of 11-year-old boys had never heard of HIV/AIDS.
Contrary to popular perceptions that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has gone away, more people than ever before were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2001 and the numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS is set to rise by half over the next five years. It is now more common in heterosexuals than in homosexuals.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus damages the body's
immune system, so that over time it becomes vulnerable to illness and infections.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is caused by HIV. When a person has AIDS, it means their immune system is
very weak and they have developed certain infections or cancers. These can be
How is it passed on?
Unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Sharing needles or syringes when injecting
drugs. Pregnant women with HIV can pass it on to their babies during birth, although
there are treatments to help prevent this. Can also be passed on through breastfeeding.
Signs and symptoms
A flu-like illness may occur shortly after being infected, but most people don't notice. Symptoms vary from person to person and occur when the immune system is so damaged that other infections begin to cause health problems.
Tests and treatment
The only way to establish if you have the virus is to have an HIV test. After a discussion about the test and the consequences of the result, a sample of blood will be taken and tested.
You'll need to wait three months after infection might have occurred before doing the HIV test.
There is no cure for HIV. However, drugs are available to slow down the damage that HIV does to the immune system. People who are HIV positive can now stay healthy for many years with anti-HIV drugs.
What is it?
The most common sexual disease. A bacterial infection, chlamydia, can affect the
genitals and the cervix (entrance to the womb), the urethra (tube where the urine
comes out), the rectum (back passage) and sometimes the throat and the eyes. Babies
born to mothers infected with chlamydia infection are susceptible to eye infections.
How is it passed on?
Mainly from one person to another through vaginal, oral, or anal sex, or by sharing
Signs and symptoms
Over 70 per cent of infected women and 50 per cent of infected men have no symptoms. Symptoms include unusual discharge from the vagina or penis or pain when peeing or urinating.
What happens if it isn't treated?
It can spread to other parts of the body, causing serious long-term health problems,
such as reduced fertility or infertility.
Type of birth control
What are condoms?
Made of latex, plastic or natural membranes. Condoms prevent pregnancy and STIs
because they stop the exchange of semen and other bodily fluids.
Condoms must be put on just before intercourse or oral sex. Look for a condom
with spermicide for added protection against pregnancy, and never use two condoms
at once - this doesn't provide any extra protection because it increases the chance
of a condom splitting. Don't reuse condoms and don't use the same condom for vaginal
and anal sex. You must hold the rim of the condom during withdrawal.
Condoms are usually 97 per cent effective, but 14 per cent of condom users will
have an accidental pregnancy in the first year. If you're new to using condoms,
you should use them with another birth control method such as the pill (which
doesn't prevent STIs), the diaphragm, cervical cap, or sponge.
- Prevents both infection and pregnancy when used with each act of sex
- Prevents spread of STIs, including HIV, and AIDS
- Available without a prescription
- No hormonal side effects
- Use can be part of sex play
- Some guys "last longer" when they use condoms
- Come in a variety of colors, sizes, flavours and styles
- Can make sex less messy as semen stays inside the condom
- Interrupts sex unless used as part of foreplay
- Vulnerable to tearing, splitting or leaking
- Can only use water-based lubricants. Oil-based lubricants (vaseline, suntan
oil, whipped cream, etc) will eat away at a condom in seconds
- Some guys complain about lack of sensitivity. Tip: put some water-soluble
lubricant (saliva, KY jelly) inside the tip of the condom to increase sensitivity
- Man must pull out soon after ejaculation. If he becomes soft, the condom
can fall off and be left in the vagina or anus
- Some people are sensitive or allergic to latex, lubrication, spermicide,
or find the smell very unpleasant. Natural membrane condoms (skin condoms)
are an option but they aren't as effective and are more expensive
Stroking, nuzzling, caressing, licking, nudging, rubbing, massaging. Anyway you
do it, touch is one of the best ways to show somebody affection. It shows your
partner how important he or she is and it's a really good excuse to be able to
explore somebody else's body.
Why it feels good
When we're touched or we touch someone else, our bodies produce a hormone called
oxytocin. In turn, oxytocin promotes a desire to touch and be touched because
we feel good when oxytocin is released. In fact, even thinking of someone we love
can stimulate this hormone.
Increases sex drive
Oxytocin increases testosterone production (responsible for sex drive in both
men and women). More testosterone generally results in an increased sex drive.
Oxytocin makes the penis and nipples more sensitive, improves erections, and makes
orgasms more intense. What's more, sexual activity increases the production of
Keep your hands to yourself
While touching someone else is a highly pleasurable activity, don't neglect your own body. Masturbation alleviates stress (unless you do it in public or your granny's bathroom) and helps you learn about your own anatomy and sexual response important for the enjoyment of sex.
What is it?
A virus. Two types of herpes virus can affect the genitals; one also affects the mouth.
How is it passed on?
Through direct skin contact, mainly during vaginal, oral or anal sex, or kissing.
Signs and symptoms?
Many infected people show no signs of the virus. Others don't recognise the symptoms,
which can be very mild and include tingling in the genitals, followed by blisters
that leave painful sores.
What happens if it isn't treated?
Serious problems are unusual. Genital herpes doesn't affect fertility and treated
women can go on to have a normal pregnancy and birth.
The virus will always remain in the body and no treatments get rid of it completely. Tablets taken during the first outbreak will help clear it up. Self-help measures include avoiding stress and cutting down on smoking and alcohol.
What is it?
A bacterial infection, also known as 'the clap', that can infect the genitals,
urethra, rectum, and throat.
How is it passed on?
By vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Signs and symptoms
About 10 per cent of men and up to 50 per cent of women have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include unusual discharge from the vagina or penis and pain when urinating or peeing.
What happens if it isn't treated?
It can also spread to other reproductive organs, causing serious long-term health
problems, such as reduced fertility or infertility.
Early treatment with antibiotics is usually simple and effective.
Anthropologists believe that kissing evolved from
sniffing. Our ancestors would sniff to express sexual attraction.
While smelling good is an important part of attraction today, we've grown up considerably
since those early days of body snorting.
Neck nibbles, French kisses, finger kisses, quickie kisses, tongue sucking, there's
an endless variety of ways to snog.
Is it okay to kiss on the first date?
By all means but only if it's what you want to do.
What if I have bad breath?
Just chew some gum but make sure to keep it in your own mouth.
What should I do about my braces?
Be gentle and make sure you're kissing someone who's gentle too.
If I kiss somebody, does it mean I'm dating them?
Kissing somebody does not mean you've signed on to a full-time relationship. While
it's not the best idea to kiss everyone you meet, it does happen. But if you've
kissed someone and then decide you don't like them, you should let them know as
soon as possible. Remember to put yourself in their shoes and make sure you tell
it too them nicely.
How should I kiss?
Everyone you kiss will want to be kissed in a different way. And each person will
kiss you differently. Kissing is just one of those things you have to try.
One tip to keep in mind if you're kissing someone for the first time is not to
shove your tongue down the other person's throat. Start out slow and be gentle.
What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a bacteria that infects the vulva, urethra, or cervix in women, and
the penis or foreskin in men.
How is it passed on?
It is passed on through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, by sharing sex
toys, direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who has syphilis sores or rashes,
or from a mother to her unborn child.
Signs and symptoms
Sometimes symptoms go unnoticed. Typical signs of first-stage syphilis infection
include one or more painless sores on or in the genital area of men and women
that can last 3 to 4 weeks.
If the infection is not treated, second-stage syphilis can occur and typical symptoms
- A rash over the whole body or in patches
- Flu-like symptoms, such as swollen glands, tiredness, headache, and sore
- Flat, wart-like growths on the genitals
What happens if it isn't treated?
Left untreated, syphilis can have very serious consequences over time to all the
major organs in the body and this damage can be fatal.
Antibiotics. To avoid re-infection, your partner should be treated too.
Hands off buddy
Sexual harassment is any kind of inappropriate sexual behaviour (from actual touching
to language) that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Examples of harassment
include unwanted pinching or touching, obscene or sexually suggestive remarks
/ displays, sexist behaviour, unwanted requests for sexual behaviour, and threatened,
attempted, or complete sexual assault.
Harassment at school is a difficult issue, because in many situations a 'boys
will be boys' attitude is adopted and the school may not have any really well-enforced
ways of holding the harasser accountable.
Many female teens (and adults for that matter) don't have the confidence to stand
up for themselves when being harassed.
Not just for boys
Harassment isn't just restricted to guys either. Every day, male and female teens
use sexually charged conduct as a weapon against each other. In some cases it's
unintentional, like if a guy or girl comes on a bit heavy. Even so, it's important
to make it clear when attention isn't wanted or warranted. The best thing to do
is to politely but firmly ask the person to stop.
If the behaviour doesn't stop, or if the harasser is intimidating others as well,
you need to get some help. Talk to a teacher or counsellor that you trust.
But what if it's just flirting?
There's a fine line sometimes between flirting and harassment, but, in general,
harassment is an one-sided activity that makes you feel bad, while flirting is
a two-way activity that makes you feel good about yourself.
When you first start your periods, they can be really irregular. Periods may be
completely unpredictable until you start to ovulate regularly. Periods of light
to heavy bleeding may be followed by no periods for two or three months at a time.
It may take up to three years for things to settle down.
Things like stress, losing lots of weight, travel and disruption to your routine
can also cause irregular periods.
If your period is late, it could be due to these reasons, so worrying about it
may delay it even further. However, it could be a sign of pregnancy. If you usually
have regular periods, have not been sexually active and miss your period for more
than three months, you should go to your GP for advice.
Bleeding between periods
Spotting or bleeding between periods should always be investigated by your GP.
The majority of cases are not serious and may be due to hormonal changes, but
they can indicate other gynaecological problems, so it's important to seek advice.
Most women usually have a discharge from their vagina, which is like a whitish
stain in your knickers and is completely natural. However, if you notice any change
in your usual discharge, it may be a sign of an infection, so it's best to seek
Common infections, such as thrush, urethritis, chlamydia, and bacterial vaginosis
can all be treated. But ignoring them could lead to further complications - for
example, untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and even
infertility (when you can't have a baby) and can cause problems for men, too.
Treatment for most infections is simple - your GP may be able to treat them, or
you could go to your nearest sexual health clinic (sometimes called a 'GUM' or
'STD' clinic) or young people's clinic.
Fancy girls instead of guys?
If you can't get your mind off that hot girl you met at football last Tuesday,
you probably won't feel like joining when all your pals are sharing notes over
the lads they love.
You might even feel like the odd one out.
But keep in mind that lusting after a girl is a normal thing and, whether you're
just experimenting or think you're gay, there's nothing to be ashamed about.
Playing it cool
Love can be tricky, whether you're straight or gay. If you've got a crush on a
girl, it's probably a good idea to find out if she likes girls too before you
take it a step further.
When to talk
It's your choice whether or not you talk about how you feel. While some people
won't understand, you don't have to necessarily keep your feelings secret. Telling
your friends can be a difficult decision, but if they're trustworthy and supportive
(they're your friends after all) you might find it helps to talk to them.
What if you like girls and boys?
Being bi doesn't mean your some kind of weirdo. A lot of sex experts (including
the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud) think that everyone is bisexual but that,
as we grow up, we are 'socialised' (convinced by society) to be heterosexual.
While society is becoming more tolerant towards people being gay, bisexuality
isn't as well understood. You'll need to be as honest as possible with your partner.
Anyone who is sexually active - having a sexual relationship - is at risk of catching
a sexually transmitted infection (STI). STIs are infections that can be passed
from one person to another through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Some STIs, like
pubic lice and genital warts, can even be passed on through close contact of the
genitals. STIs are very common and you don't need to have had lots of sexual partners
to get one.
If you think you may have genital warts on your penis, (they're usually smallish
lumps around the base of the penis), see your GP or go to your nearest sexual
Genital warts are caused by a virus, which can't be cured, but the warts themselves
can be easily treated. They can easily be passed on during sexual activity - using
a condom can reduce the risk of passing them on, as well as avoiding sex while
you have an outbreak of warts.
Impotence - or problems with getting or maintaining an erection - affects most
men at some time. This is not usually a cause for concern - in fact, it is often
the worry itself that causes the problem! Things like having too much alcohol
or the worry of starting a new sexual relationship can affect your ability to
get an erection or keep it up, as can stress and worry.
Often, men worry about how they will perform sexually, and feel that they need
to keep an erection for hours on end to be a good lover. This is not the case
- try talking to your partner about your worries, as this may help.
If the problem persists, and you can't stop worrying about it, you could go and
see your doctor. If the doctor feels it is necessary, there are now very good
treatments for impotence and, even if you do need treatment, it won't necessarily
be for life. Another important reason for seeking medical advice is that impotence
may indicate a circulatory problem - which may be a warning sign of cardiovascular
problems - so it is a good idea to get it checked out.
There's a certain assumption that guys have to be studs or that they can't get
enough of sex. But this is not always so.
Don't be pressurised into having sex for the first time before you're really ready.
We're often made to feel boring, immature and unattractive if we don't have sex.
It's true that people do start having sex younger these days but, on average,
it actually occurs a good deal later than most people imagine.
The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyle recently reported that the
vast majority of men - two-thirds of men - don't have sex until their late teens.
Research also suggests that people who delay losing their virginity until their
late teens are more likely to have an enjoyable and memorable experience and that
their decisions are more likely to be based on feelings of love and romance.
Sex doesn't always mean sex
Just because you don't have sex doesn't mean you aren't sexually active. A virgin
is someone who's never had sexual intercourse, not someone who doesn't have an
active sex life.
You think you're gay?
It's common for guys to ask themselves if they are gay and to wonder about their
own sexuality. But it is only through the slow process of sexual development that
an individual learns and recognises his or her sexual preferences.
Being gay or bisexual is not a disorder or an abnormality; like heterosexuality,
they are legitimate sexual identities. But there are no universal guidelines to
identify heterosexual, gay or bisexual identities. They are just words that we
use to define our own - or others' - sexual identities and you don't have to use
these words to describe your sexual orientation if you don't want to.
It's worth remembering that, while some people are sure they're gay from an early
age, others only discover it later in life.
Teenage sexual experimentation is common and a few casual encounters with someone
of the same sex would not necessarily mean you are gay - even if it included kissing
and masturbation. Also, fantasising about someone of the same sex doesn't necessarily
mean you are gay.
There's no right way to work out exactly what your feelings are, just try to be
patient and pay attention to your feelings and sexual urges and eventually you
will be able to work it out for yourself.
What is the pill?
The combined pill (referred to as 'the pill') is the most popular type of birth control in the UK. The pill contains two hormones - oestrogen and progestogen - which are similar to the natural hormones women produce in their ovaries.
There are many different brands of pills, each of which has different combinations
of oestrogen and progestogen. You either take one pill a day for 21 days (21 day
or phasic pills) or one pill a day for 28 days (28 day pills). Each type of pill
has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is worth becoming familiar with each
type and with the different brands available.
How effective is it?
How effective any contraceptive is depends on how old you are, how often you have
sex and whether you follow the instructions. The pill is 97 to 99.9 percent effective
as birth control. It does not protect against STIs, so condoms should also be
used for full protection against STIs, such as HIV/AIDS.
- Periods may be lighter, more regular and less painful
- May help with premenstrual syndrome
- Easy to use
- Does not harm future fertility
- Doesn't interrupt sex
- May protect against uterine and ovarian cancers
- May reduce acne
In order to tell if the pill is right for you, it's a good idea to speak with
your GP or visit a sexual health clinic. It's worth doing some investigating on
your own first as well. Research the advantages and disadvantages of several kinds
of contraception before making a final decision. Additional types of contraception
you might want to investigate include:
- Side effects (some may be temporary) including headaches, weight gain or loss, nausea, breast tenderness, spotting between periods, mood changes
- Does not protect against STIs, including HIV/AIDS
- Must be taken every day
- Less effective when taken with some drugs
- May increase blood pressure
- Raised risk of heart attack and stroke
- Requires a prescription
- Progestogen-only pill
- Contraceptive injections
- The Intrauterine Device (IUD)
- Female condoms
- Contraceptive implants
- The Intrauterine System (IUS)
- Diaphragms and caps
- Contraceptive patch
Every month a women produces one (yes, only one) egg.
You might think that means you've only got an itty bitty chance of getting pregnant.
Not so. When guys ejaculate their semen contains 40 million to 600 million sperms.
Here's a few other things you need to know. Without protection you can get pregnant
If you've had unprotected sex
- It's the first time you have sex
- You don't have an orgasm
- The guy pulls out
- You're having your period
- You douche (squirt water into your vagina)
- You're on top (you can get pregnant in any position)
If you've had unprotected sex within the last five days, or think that your contraception might have failed (like a condom splitting or missing a pill), emergency contraception can usually prevent a pregnancy.
There are two types of emergency contraception available:
Emergency contraceptive pills
Also known as the 'morning after pill', emergency contraceptive pills must be
taken within 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex. It's important to take
them as soon as possible after unprotected sex because they're more effective
the sooner you take them. You can get the pills free from GPs who provide contraceptive
services, family planning clinics, some sexual health clinics and some Hospital
Accident & Emergency departments and NHS walk-in centres - but phone to check
Pharmacies: Emergency contraceptive pills are also available direct from pharmacies
if you're over 16 - but at a cost (2003) of £24.99. Emergency contraception
is not as effective as using other methods of contraception regularly.
An IUD - or intrauterine device - must be fitted within five days of unprotected
sex. It should be put in by a specially trained doctor or nurse at either a family
planning clinic, young people's clinic, or possibly by your GP.