Sexual Health

What sex feels like in your body and your head

Sex and sexuality could be described as a 'learning curve'. So what is considered important at 15 or 16 may not be seen as important to people in their twenties. People we interviewed in their late teens and twenties usually felt that their behaviour, views and attitudes about sex and relationships had changed a lot during the last few years.

Many of those we talked to said that one-night stands or casual sex are 'just sex', or 'raw sex', even a selfish act. They thought that knowing the other person and what each other likes makes sex in a long-term relationship different to a 'one night stand'

Some of those we interviewed thought that men find casual sex easier and more satisfying, but not all the men we spoke to agreed

Some of the people we spoke to said that one night stands or casual sex are without emotional involvement. Sex might be more passionate than in a longstanding relationship, but the passion tends to wear off rather quickly

Many of those we talked to preferred sex in a stable relationship, believing they have more emotional and physical satisfaction. And people had strong views on being faithful (i.e. not having sex with other people). Open relationships may suit some people, but many felt 'cheating' was a waste of time and could make them feel guilty



People we spoke to thought it was important to be faithful, even those we talked to who admitted that they were 'not very good' at it! Some people we spoke to thought honesty was more important so that if a partner was sleeping with someone else they could at least protect themselves from STIs
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Sexual satisfaction is clearly important to most young people but not everyone we interviewed thought it the most important thing in a stable relationshipThey said that a combination of good communication, affection, honesty and trust is what makes a relationship, and sex, special.

Some people we talked to didn't believe in sex before marriage, and felt that sex is something special to be shared between two people who are committed to one another

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Last reviewed January 2016.

Last updated August 2012.

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