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July 28, 2023

It’s OK to Say No: Empowering Your Sexual Health Journey

We’re diving into a topic that’s crucial for all of us: sexual health and the power of saying NO. It’s essential to embrace our right to say NO when it comes to anything that involves our bodies and emotions.

Consent: The Captain of the Ship

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about the big C-word: CONSENT. Think of consent as the captain of your ship on this journey. It’s all about giving, receiving, and respecting permission. When it comes to any kind of intimate activity, whether it’s a kiss, a hug, or anything more, consent is non-negotiable. Always remember, consent is a HELL YES, not an “I guess so” or silence.

What is consent?

Consent is an essential part of any sexual interaction. It means that both partners have agreed to engage in the activity and that they are both comfortable with it.

Sexual consent should be clear, enthusiastic and freely given. It should also be ongoing – meaning that both partners can withdraw consent at any time.

Unfortunately, consent is often misunderstood. Some people believe that it can be implied or that it can be given through body language. However, this is not the case. Consent should always be clear and explicit.

Saying NO Clearly

We know it’s not always easy to say NO, especially when it comes to sensitive stuff like relationships and intimacy. But guess what? Saying NO can be empowering! Here are some tips to help you be clear when setting your boundaries:

  1. Be Direct, Be You: Keep it simple. Use clear language and say it firmly but kindly. Being yourself is key!
  2. It’s Not You, It’s Me: Sometimes, you might feel pressured to explain your NO. You don’t have to! It’s your decision, and you’re not obligated to justify it. Trust your gut.
  3. Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words: Remember, your body language also sends a message. Stand tall, make eye contact, and let your confidence shine!
  4. Practice Makes Perfect: Saying NO might feel awkward at first, but practice makes it easier. You can rehearse with friends or even talk to yourself in the mirror.

Embracing Your Decision

Once you’ve said NO, it’s essential to embrace your decision without any guilt or self-doubt. You are the boss of your life and your body. Here’s how to feel comfortable with your choice:

  1. Self-Awareness is Sexy: Take time to understand your feelings and desires. Knowing yourself better helps you make decisions that are right for YOU.
  2. Own Your Worth: Saying NO doesn’t make you boring or uncool. It shows you respect yourself and others. That’s a superpower.
  3. Surround Yourself with Support: Friends who respect your boundaries are true friends. Surround yourself with people who value and support your choices.
  4. Consent Goes Both Ways: Just as you can say NO, others can say NO to you too. Respect their choices as you expect them to respect yours.

Facing Pressure: Be a Superhero

We get it; sometimes, you might feel pressure to do something you’re not comfortable with. Here’s how to stay strong:

  1. Trust Your Gut: If something doesn’t feel right, listen to that inner voice. It’s your intuition guiding you.
  2. Peer Pressure Power: You don’t have to follow the crowd. Be a trendsetter, not a follower.
  3. Communicate with Honesty: Share your feelings with your partner. If they truly care about you, they’ll understand and respect your boundaries.
  4. Seek Help: If you’re struggling with saying NO or feeling pressured, talk to someone you trust—a friend, family member, or counsellor can lend a listening ear.

Remember this: saying NO is not a weakness; it’s a strength. It’s about respecting yourself, valuing your feelings, and taking charge of your sexual health journey. Embrace consent like a boss, be clear when setting boundaries, and own your decisions.

Let’s always remember that we have the power to say NO and make choices that empower us.

Sexual health is a vital topic, and seeking professional advice from healthcare providers is always encouraged for personalised guidance. You can visit your local GPs and pharmacies for additional advice or feel free to contact us on 0300 303 2637 or provide.essexsexualhealthservice@nhs.net

For further information regarding consent, visit http://www.consentiseverything.com/ and watch the useful ‘It’s simple as tea’ video. #consentiseverything

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