Sex and intimacy

Anyone aged 12 years or over who wants to chat in confidence about any of these subjects can do so at our Drop-In Service – a trained member of staff is always happy to answer any questions you have or information you’re looking for. Crew Drop-In is available at 32 Cockburn St Edinburgh EH1 1PB and also via

The Drop-In opens 1-5pm Mondays to Saturdays except 3-7pm Thursdays, closed Sundays.

As well as drugs harm reduction information and support we also provide:

  • A confidential place to chat about any questions and get support about sexual health
  • Free condoms & lube
  • Blood-borne virus testing (for HIV, Hep B & Hep C)
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Signposting to other services.

Sex

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

Consent

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  • Something that can be withdrawn at any point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 all intimate or sexual activity, it is important that 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. 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!Any kind of sexual activity without consent is illegal and may count as harassment, assault or rape.  Find out more about consent, the law and getting support in our consent resource here.

Sex and drugs?

Chat with the person you are with about sex and consent before getting high. Talk 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 have 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.

Before taking any drug, do your research. Visit our drugs information page for harm reduction advice.

For information on chemsex, visit SX.

Sex and the law

In the UK, consensual sexual activity is legal between people who are aged 16 and overIf someone is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, their ability to consent may be compromised. Under UK law, a person does not have capacity to consent to sex while under the influence of drugs including alcohol.

Anyone who has been affected by any kind of assault or abusive sexual experience can contact Rape Crisis.

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 helps you to 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, to reduce exposure to sexually transmitted infections
  • Using lube to reduce friction or tears, and increase pleasure
  • The use of contraception such as the contraceptive pill, implant, injection or IUD (intrauterine device)
  • 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, including us here at Crew!It can take a while to find the right condoms for you. There is a wide range including latex free, internal condoms, and different sizestextures and materials. The better your condom fits, the better and safer the experience. It’s a good idea to try different types until you find the one that works best for you. We have a range of free condoms, no questions asked: you can also order condoms online at C:Card postal service.Not sure what kind of contraception might work for you? Brook has helpful contraception information on their website to help you decide. Remember that contraception can prevent pregnancy but (apart from condoms and internal condoms) it cannot protect from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as chlamydia or HPV (human papillomavirus).

Testing and treatment

At Crew we offer:

  • Pregnancy testing (onsite) – drop-in service (no appointment needed) but you can also email us at dropin@crew2000.org.uk or text 07860047501 during drop-in opening times to check.
  • Blood-borne virus (BBV) testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV – available most afternoons. Results take around 2 weeks to return and are given face-to-face at the Drop-In. To book email dropin@crew2000.org.uk or text 07860047501 during drop-in opening times.
  • Checkpoint @ Crew (rapid HIV & syphilis testing) in partnership with SX/Waverley Care – this is available to anyone who feels they should be tested: get results for HIV and syphilis while you wait! Every 2nd Thursday 5–7pm (2022 dates start from Thur 27th Jan) To book the rapid HIV/syphilis testing service click here.

Lothian Sexual Health Services (www.lothiansexualhealth.scot) offer a variety of services including:

  • Healthy Respect + for people aged 13-18 years – the clinic opens Monday to Friday in Chalmers Health Centre – click here for information and booking links. The page also has contact information for the HR+ Dalkeith clinic.
  • For people 18 years and over, some walk-in clinics are limited due to Covid restrictions, but you can call 0131 536 1070 for information or to make a booking; you can also book online. Services includes smear tests and STI treatment.
  • Specialist services including gynaecology appointments, Women-only discreet services, and psychosexual therapy.
  • Local clinics – check here for updates.
  • STI Home Testing Kits are available to order for free on 0131 536 1070 (online booking for kits is also in development). Get more information about STI Home Testing Kits here. 

SX Scotland 

HIV Self Testing Kits (postal service) 

  • HIV Self-Test Scotland provides free access to HIV self-testing kits to anyone living in Scotland. HIV self-testing kits are delivered by post, in discreet packaging, allowing you the freedom to test at a time and place that suits you. 

More useful links

Want to chat?
Text 07860047501