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Sometimes called termination, abortion means ending a pregnancy. Abortion is legal in the UK up to 24 weeks of pregnancy although most abortions (90 per cent) are carried out before 13 weeks.

To arrange a free abortion on the NHS, the first step is to speak to a doctor or nurse at your local Brook Centre, young person's service, family planning clinic or your GP surgery.

There are different methods of abortion and the method used will on how far pregnant you are. Most abortion services will be able to offer you a choice of methods.

It's important to act quickly. The earlier you ask for an abortion the easier it is to get one for free on the NHS. There can be a waiting list of between 2 to 4 weeks, but how long you wait will depend on the waiting list for abortions in your area.


When someone is intentionally hurt, used or neglected. Abuse means different things to different people, it can be physical, such as hitting someone or emotional, such as bullying or using emotional blackmail, sexual abuse or making someone do something against their wishes.

Younger people are not always aware that what is happening to them is abuse. If you think you are being abused you should let someone you trust know. It is never the fault of the person being abused, so you will not get into trouble.


A term for the years between the start of puberty and becoming an adult.


When someone who's married has sex with someone who is not their husband or wife.

Age of consent

The age at which it is legal to have sex. In the UK the age of consent is 16 years old for everyone. The law is there to protect young people rather than prosecute them, so if you are under 16, it's highly unlikely to get into trouble as long as both partners consent (are happy) to have sex unless there is a large age difference between partners.


Stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a term used for someone with HIV whose immune system can no longer cope and develops a further illness. Usually now referred to as later stage or advanced HIV infection (see HIV).


Absence of periods during a time of life when they should occur.

Anal sex

Penetration of the anus or bum hole, sometimes called buggery or sodomy. Anal stimulation can be any kind of stimulation of the anus, including penetration of the anus with a penis, finger or sex toy, rimming (stimulating the anus with the tongue) and fisting (putting a hand into the rectum).

Some men and women get really turned on by the thoughts or sensations of anal stimulation but a lot of people just don't like the idea.

The anus is a very sensitive area, because it's got lots of nerve endings, so some men and woman get lots of pleasure from stimulation of their anus. Some people like the idea of trying something new or like the idea that it may be taboo (unacceptable or forbidden) and can find it a turn-on.

Some people are just pushing their luck and are on a bit of a power trip, and perhaps don't have their partner's best interests at heart. Remember, as with any sexual activity, it's important not to feel pressurised into doing anything that you're not comfortable with.

Anal Warts

Genital warts are the most common STI seen at GUM (genital urinary medicine) clinics throughout the UK. Most genital warts are caused by two types of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

The genital wart virus is easily passed from one person to another through sexual contact between both men and women. You don't need to have penetrative sex to catch them, as just close genital contact ie. skin to skin, is enough to pass it on.

Most people will not develop warts and the virus will go away without treatment. But you may not even know whether you or your partner has the virus. However if you do get visible warts, you might notice small, fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes which can appear anywhere around the genital or anal area -either externally on the skin or internally. Treatment can involve prescription creams - but definitely not over-the-counter wart preparations - freezing, laser, or surgery.


A food or drink that makes you feel sexy. There is no scientific evidence to prove that any food or drinks can do this but that won't stop people from trying to sell them to you!

Artificial insemination

A way of getting pregnant without having sex. Sperm is placed directly into a woman's womb. Artificial insemination can be helpful when there is a problem with the man's sperm or if the woman has endometriosis. Also useful for Lesbian couples where one partner wants to give birth to a child.


Asexual is a sexual orientation where a person does not experience sexual attraction or does not have interest in or desire for sex.

Asexuality is not the same as celibacy, which is the deliberate avoidance from sexual activity.

Some asexuals do have sex.

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