Contraception and safe sex

If you’re sexually active or thinking about it, it’s important to think about contraception. Get the information you need and find out what’s right for you.

What is contraception?

Whenever someone has unprotected sex or is sexually active, it’s possible to get pregnant or catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Contraception helps to stop someone getting pregnant, and some types of contraception can also help prevent STIs. Contraception is a really important part of anyone’s sexual health.

There are lots of types of contraception, and it’s simple to get different types for free from your doctor or a sexual health clinic.

It’s important to talk to your partner or the person you’re with about contraception if you’re thinking about being sexually active. You can also speak to Childline about any questions you might have.

4 things to remember about contraception:
  • Contraception can stop you getting pregnant, and condoms can help stop you catching an STI
  • Anyone can access contraception, and you can get it for free from your doctor or a sexual health clinic
  • There are lots of options, and it can help to talk about what’s right for you
  • If you’ve had unprotected sex it’s possible to get emergency contraception, but you should do this as soon as possible

Types of contraception

It's important to learn about the different types of contraception and find the right one for you. Remember, using more than one type of contraception can make it less likely that someone will get pregnant or catch an STI.

You can find out the different types below.

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Get advice on visiting your doctor

Contraception and relationships

It's important to talk about contraception with the person you want to be sexually active with. You both should feel comfortable with the type of contraception you use, whether you’re in a relationship or not.

It can feel difficult talking about contraception sometimes, but we’ve got advice to help:

  • look up information about contraception before starting, or make sure you have things like condoms ready in case you need them
  • decide what you want, if there’s a type of contraception you don’t feel comfortable using then think about alternatives
  • if you’ve used condoms, talk about how it felt afterwards and consider trying different types
  • make a plan for what to do if you can’t agree.

It’s never okay for someone to pressure you to be sexually active or to do anything sexual without your consent, that includes not using contraception when you want to use it. It is also never okay for someone to remove the male condom during sex without telling you, and this can be considered sexual assault.

If you’re worried about anything to do with sex, contraception or being sexually active, then you can talk to us.

Getting advice about contraception

It can be confusing to know which type of contraception you should be using. It’s natural to have questions.

To help you decide what contraception is right for you, you can: