Let's talk about sex

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch East Riding of Yorkshire undertook research with young people about attitudes to sexual health, after hearing concerns about access to services. They spoke to 343 young people at workshops and via a survey.

Those who had accessed sexual health services had largely positive experiences, although there were some reports that they could be more accessible and less daunting. There was a majority awareness of where to go for advice for STIs, and also how to access free contraception, however there is room for improvement in young people’s awareness. Having more information about services, more access points, and earlier sexual health education were the areas that young people themselves thought could be improved.

In terms with wider attitudes towards sexual health, young people place a lot of trust in their friends for support; a group who may not have the factual answers to the questions about sexual activity or relationships. Young people would then ask parents and family members.  Only 5% would look online.

It was clear from discussions that young people are exposed to stereotypes of the ideal body image. Young people feel social pressures to fit in, and questioned their own attractiveness and image compared to others. Despite feeling these pressures, many of the young people we spoke to were very aware of the many negative connotations of such pressures; citing the potential for eating disorders, body dysmorphia, steroid use, cosmetic surgery bullying, self-harming, and poor mental health as potential implications.

A substantial number of young people reported that they had been exposed to explicit pictures via text and online with 16% having sent an explicit picture, 41% having received one, and 55% knowing of someone else sending explicit content. Many young people said that sexting was an everyday thing. More education and awareness is needed in relation to pornography and healthy relationships.  Young people felt that these discussions need to take place earlier and before the behaviours have become common place.

The report contains three recommendations about information resources, improving awareness of services and approach to sexual health education.

The report includes a response from the provider outlining the action they intend to take.

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General details

Report title 
Let's talk about sex
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch East Riding of Yorkshire
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 27 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 April, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 31 March, 2020
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Sexual health

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
1-15 years
16-17 years
18-24 years
Asian / Asian British
Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
Sexual orientation 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Tangible impact (not cost related)

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.