Sex and intimacy


People define sex in different ways. Sex looks and feels different to each individual – it can be exciting, pleasurable and empowering. But it can also be daunting, nerve-wracking or bring up unexpected emotions.


Consent means getting a person’s permission to do something to, with or for them, before it happens.

It is also…

  • An agreement that lasts only as long as everyone involved wants it to
  • Something that can be withdrawn at any point
  • Requires everyone involved to fully agree every time it happens
  • Involves accepting and respecting a person’s wish not to take part or to stop the activity

For sex, it is important we always seek enthusiastic consent – where everyone involved is happy and keen to take part (regardless of whether a relationship is established or casual). People also need to know exactly what they are agreeing to. This applies to any intimate activity. Good sex and consent go hand in hand. Some people might think asking for consent is awkward or likely to ‘ruin the moment’ but it actually makes sex more pleasurable!

Find out more about consent, the law and getting support in our consent resource here.

Sex and drugs?

It can be a good idea to have a discussion about sex and consent before getting high. Chat about what you feel comfortable with and what to do if anyone stops feeling comfortable or gets too high.
If you or a partner begin to feel too high or uncomfortable in any way – stop. It happens and the best way to respond to the situation is through communication.
Sex can feel different when you are high – even if you’ve taken cannabis and had sex before your body and your brain might respond differently this time. Feelings, good or bad, can be intensified. Take time to check in with yourself and any partners.  Long-term use can lead to an increase in tolerance which means over time you will need more to get the same effects.

Sex and the law

In the UK, consensual sexual activity is legal between people who are over the age of 16. If someone is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, it is understood that they cannot consent to sexual activity.
Anyone who has been affected any kind of assault or abusive sexual experience can contact
Not sure about an experience you have had? It is a good idea to talk to someone you trust or contact Rape Crisis to chat.

Safer sex

Safer sex is something that helps you stay physically and emotionally well. Safer sex involves a whole range of things including:

  • The right sexual partner(s)
  • Considering your boundaries, expectations and emotional needs
  • Consent – you and any partner(s)
  • The use of barrier methods such as condoms or dams
  • Lube to reduce fiction/tears
  • The use of contraception such as the contraceptive pill, implant, injection or IUD
  • Researching any practices or communities you want to take part in
  • Chatting to someone you trust about your choices! This could be a friend, counsellor or a sexual health service service (including us here at Crew).

It can take a while to find the right condoms for you. There is a whole range including internal condoms, different sizes, textures and materials. Anyone who has a latex allergy can also access latex free condoms if needed. The better your condom fits the better and safer the experience. It’s a good idea to try different options until you find the one that works for you.

Not sure what kind of contraception might work for you? Brook has some helpful contraception information on their website to help you decide. Remember that contraception can prevent pregnancy but cannot protect from Sexually transmitted Infections (STIs) such as chlamydia or HPV.

Testing and treatment

At the moment Lothian Sexual health services do not have capacity for STI tests for people without symptoms, vaccinations or smear tests. All other appointments are being moved online to a phone triage system. Please follow this link to book either an STI symptoms or contraception appointment if you have any issues you feel you need to discuss. Keep an eye on the website for updates as more services begin to become available again.

You can access free contraception through the postal service. Find out more here.

Join Crew on the Kiltwalk 2020

You can help Crew reduce more drug-related harm by joining us to walk the walk at any of the 4 Kiltwalk 2020 events in Scotland!
Go for it!