Study, work or travel in the UK. British culture and life.
Information for heterosexual men coming to the UK
|Sex and contraception|
a Man's Guide
Like to Meet
Author: Jay Hunt
Publisher: BBC Consumer Publishing (Books)
Date: August 2002
Click here for other books in the category: sex
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Cupid (Roman god of love)
Normally British men just say "hello" or talk about some general
subject when they first meet a woman. Shaking hands is only common in more formal
When talking to her, do not stand too close, and allow her to move away from you if she wants. You should only move your head or body close to her or touch her if there is a romantic atmosphere
When saying goodbye to a woman, in an informal situation it is quite common
to give a woman a light kiss on one or both cheeks or a quick, gentle hug. The
woman will usually understand this to be a sign of friendship, but not necessarily
a sign of sexual interest. Kissing on the lips is usually only between a boyfriend
Note that you should not follow a woman. Even if she already knows you this will probably make her feel scared, and if it is reported you may be arrested by the police.
How can I ask for her contact details?
It is more gentle and polite not to ask a woman directly for her contact details.
Offer her your own address, telephone number or e-mail address. Tell her if
you want to see her again or if you want to stay in contact with her by letter
of e-mail. You might suggest a time and place to meet again. Don't force her
to give you an answer immediately. If she offers you her own contact details,
you can use these to contact her (remind her who you are and where you met),
but otherwise you should wait for her to contact you if she wants, or just wait
to meet her again at the same place.
I'm attracted to this girl, but does she like me?
British women do not always talk openly about their emotions, especially when
they do not know you well already. However, even if she does not tell you directly,
it should become clear whether she likes you, from her body language and the
way she speaks to you. Some possible signs might be:
- She may start making more direct eye contact with you, and smile more often
- She may ask more personal questions, for example "Do you have a girlfriend?"
- She may complement you about your appearance, for example "You have lovely eyes"
- She may act in a jealous way when other women talk to you
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Some English woman will wait for the man to ask her out, so don't wait too
long for her to ask if this is what you want (if you keep meeting her, she will
probably decide to think of you as a friend instead of as a partner). However,
it is also perfectly normal for a woman to ask the man to go out with her, so
don't be surprised if this happens.
In Britain it is more common to ask someone to go out with you informally. For example, you might ask "Would you like to come to the cinema with me next week?" instead of "Would you like to go out with me?" Don't ask her when she is surrounded by friends or if it is quiet and other people can hear your conversation.
A British woman will not normally say no directly if she doesn't want to go out with you: instead, she will usually make an excuse (for example: "I'm afraid I'm busy then"). She is trying to avoid making you (and herself) embarrassed, so don't keep listing other days. You could say something like "Well, maybe another time then".
How can I get close to her?
If you feel attracted to her and she feels the same, you should be able to
tell. She may keep looking at you, or move closer or touch you. If you do these
things and she doesn't look away, move away, or look uncomfortable, she may
feel attracted to you too. If you feel it is appropriate, you can kiss her gently
on the lips and see how she reacts to you (many women don't like to be asked,
"Can I kiss you?")
If people kiss and touch, they normally prefer to move away into a private area where people cannot see them. Do not do too much in public, or you could be stopped by a policeman. You could invite her to come to your place if you are allowed to take a guest there. It is normal in Britain to say something indirect like, "Would you like to come up to my room?" If it is easier to visit her room, you could ask, "Could I come round to your place?" Always respect the girl's right to say no at any time or stop or leave if she wants.
I want to stop being her boyfriend. How can I tell her?
There is no pleasant way of telling someone that you don't want to go out with
her any more.
Choose the right moment, and explain to her how you feel. Let her answer you, but be firm about your decision if you still want to leave her.
For example, you might say "I'm sorry, but I think we should stop seeing each other for a while", followed by a brief explanation of why you want to split up.
In Britain, men sometimes remain friends with former girlfriends; let her know if you still want to meet her as a friend, and let her decide if she wants to do that.
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Should I have sex with her?
In Britain, it is your own decision if you want to have sex with a consenting
Most churches advise people not to have sex until you are married, but these days sex outside marriage is common in Britain.
Do not feel pressure to behave in a way that you do not feel comfortable about.
Try not to worry about what other people might think about you, or what other people do.
Respect your partner's decision if she doesn't want to have sex with you.
If you don't want to have sex with her, tell her clearly what limits you want to set.
If you want to have sex, think about if you want to take precautions against becoming pregnant or catching a sexual disease (see below for more details).
Where can I have sex?
If you are sharing accommodation with other people, remember that they probably will not like to hear you having sex.
If you are staying with a host family, your landlord or landlady may not want their children to be aware of your sexual behaviour.
You should ask your landlord/landlady for permission before letting someone else stay overnight in your room. If this starts to happen regularly, he/she may ask you to move or to pay more rent.
There are no love hotels in the UK. You cannot usually rent a room for a short time: one night is usually the minimum period.
In Britain, it is illegal to have sex in a public place, although it is rare for the police to take action if nobody can see or hear you. Kissing and fondling in public are accepted provided that you keep private parts of your body covered and try to be discreet.
Visit your doctor or local Family Planning Clinic for advice on contraception
or if your partner wants a pregnancy test. The Family Planning Association's
website is at: http://www.fpa.org.uk
Brook Advisory Services provide information on sexual matters to people under 25: http://www.brook.org.uk
A User's Handbook
||Companies making condoms include:
Durex ; Mates
Various makes are available from:
My girlfriend is worried that I might have made her pregnant. What can I do?
Show support and understanding to your partner - try not to be selfish, and
consider how she might be feeling.
If she visits her doctor or pharmacy as soon as possible (and certainly within 3 days) after having unprotected sex, she can obtain the "morning after pill" to avoid possible pregnancy. For more details: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/sex_relationships/facts/morningafterpill.htm
Encourage your girlfriend to visit her doctor or the local Family Planning Clinic for a pregnancy test. Offer to go with her if she wants you there.
If she is pregnant, talk with her about what you both want to do. You may also
wish to contact the British Pregnancy Advisory Service: http://www.bpas.org
Abortions are legal in the UK, but they are usually only carried out less than 20 weeks after the last period. Make sure that she contacts her doctor if she is thinking about having an abortion, and make sure that you provide any emotional or financial support that she needs. Consider the consequences carefully - as well as stopping the development of a baby, an abortion may have physical and emotional effects.
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In the UK, erotic magazines (pornography) can be bought from the top shelf of most newsagents or from sex shops or can be ordered by mail order. If you buy these you should not look at them in public places. In Britain, most people consider it perfectly acceptable and normal for a man to look at sexy pictures or to masturbate, provided that it is done in private. You should not look at pornography on a computer in a public place such as an internet café, and you should not send such pictures by e-mail.
A licensed sex shop is a place where erotic magazines, films, clothes and sex toys are sold. Despite the name, sexual services cannot be sold in a sex shop. You have to be over 18 (male or female) to enter such a shop.
Prostitution / sex industry
In the UK it is illegal to offer or to receive sexual services for money. However, these services do exist, often described as massage or escort services. If you have sex with a prostitute, you can reduce the risk of catching a sexual disease by wearing a condom. Be careful about "sex shows" with low entrance charges: once you are inside they may charge you very high prices for drinks or even force money from you. It is better to avoid the sex industry, as the cost will be high and you may be taking a risk with your health and safety.
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