Ages 16 & Beyond

At this age young people are at the legal age of consent and many, but not all, will be in intimate relationships and will be interested to know about thechallenges of long-term commitments and the qualities needed for successful loving relationships. They will be interested in what issues can be difficult to talk about in intimate relationships, for example sexual pleasure and contraception and how this can be addressed.

They will be interested to know more about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Young people at this age will need more information on sexual risk, pregnancy, sexual health, fertility and infertility. They will be keen to discuss gender stereotyping, violence, exploitation, the law, and discrimination. Learning about the relationship between self esteem and body image and how to challenge negative messages from peers, the media and society is also important.

Questions to help you understand what young people want to learn about are listed in themes below.

Relationships

  • What are the challenges of long-term commitments and the qualities needed for successful loving relationships?
  • What issues can be difficult to talk about in intimate relationships for example sexual pleasure and contraception and how can this be addressed?
  • What is the psychological and emotional impact of relationships breaking up, loss, grief and death? What help and support is available?
  • How can I be assertive in communicating with others?
  • How can I be a better listener?
  • What is the experience like of 'coming out' about being gay, lesbian or bisexual to family and friends?
  • What is the experience like of disclosing positive HIV status to a sexual partner, family and friends?
  • What are some of the challenges of parenting?
  • How can parents and wider families support children in their social and emotional development?
  • How do I think children should be educated about sex and relationships?
  • How can power in a relationship be affected by gender?

 

Feelings and attitudes

  • What are realistic and unrealistic standards for bodily appearance?
  • How can bodily appearance be changed and what is the impact of plastic surgery?
  • How are bodily appearance, self-esteem and behaviour linked?
  • How can I recognise depression and mental health problems linked to poor self-esteem?
  • Is there such a thing as self-esteem that is too high?
  • What are gender norms and attitudes to gender equality in different cultures?
  • What are my personal values about gender roles and gender equality?
  • What does transgender mean and how can I challenge transphobia?

 

Influences on behaviour

  • What is the impact of culture and law in determining what is considered acceptable and unacceptable sexual behaviour in society and how has this changed over time?
  • Do peer norms impact on the use of condoms and contraceptives?
    What is the impact of the media on self-esteem and expectations about our bodies, sex and relationships?
  • How can negative messages from our peers, the media and society be challenged?
  • Does pornography present particular values in relation to power, gender and sexual behaviour?
  • What forms of pornography are illegal?
  • What protection does the law offer in protecting against discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation?

 

Keeping safe and looking after my sexual health

  • What is the difference between efficacy and effectiveness of contraceptive methods?
  • What are the pregnancy, STI and HIV risks of anal and oral sex and of non-penetrative sexual activity?
  • What are the dangers of erotic asphyxiation?   
  • How does sexual functioning and reproductive capacity vary across our lives?
    What are some of the causes and impacts of infertility and what fertility treatment options are available?
  • Is it problematic to use alcohol and drugs to increase sexual confidence and reduce sexual inhibitions?
  • What are some of the key signs of sexual exploitation?

 

People who can help me/Sources of help and advice

  • Do I know how to access sexual health services in my local area including services for contraception, abortion and counselling?
  • How can I stand up for the right to affordable and confidential health services?
  • How can I confidently give information to peers about sexual health and services available to them?

 

See questions for other age groups