Sexual Health

Being gay and lesbian

Many gay people told us that they found it difficult to find places to meet others. Gay clubs and pubs were popular but some people said they could be too focused on alcohol and sex.

Some use the internet to meet people, particularly if they live in the countryside or away from cities. It's seen as a safe place for people who haven't yet 'come out' to talk to others but it's important to be careful when meeting people from dating sites in real life. 

Advice includes to always meet in a public place and to let a friend know who the person is and where the meeting is taking place and to get the person's telephone number. A few people find the websites and chatlines are limited because people only use them if they're looking for casual sex. 

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Many of these groups run clubs or support groups where people can meet. As one person said, "You feel relief, you feel you are not alone and there are other people out there that have been through the same that can offer advice". 

Groups also have the advantage of giving information about sexuality or sexual health and provide a supportive environment where people can share experiences or ask questions, particularly about safer sex. 

One man had done youth work in the inner city, he said that all his knowledge about sexually transmitted infections and the need for gay men to practice safe sex came from there.

Safer sex information was appreciated by the gay people we spoke to because 'it's sort of street language, rather than sort of posh, scientific terms', although some said that it could be clearer.  

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Most gay people feel there's a need to create an atmosphere where young gay people are able to develop their sexual identity and meet others in safety. A negative reaction about sexuality from friends or school in the past can cause problems.

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Last reviewed January 2016.

Last updated August 2012.

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