Cover Image
close this bookMezzo: For Young People by Young People (IPPF, 1997, 52 p.)
close this folderHEALTH
View the documentPlaying it safe. Use your head (please)
View the documentFOCUS ON: abortion. Mezzo looks at both sides of this controversial subject
View the documentWhich contraceptive? We give you the low-down on the contraceptives around today
View the documentMaking decisions. Do you want to have sex?
View the documentBetter sex guide. We suggest, you decide
View the documentJoin our club. Which team do you support?
View the documentIrish coffee talk. Irish young people discuss some big questions
View the documentHe loves him, she loves her. Get your facts right about sexuality
View the documentSo what about you, sugar? Find out your rating in our sexperts' questionnaire

Join our club. Which team do you support?

The essential guide to sexual relationships


Playing Style

Abstinence's reputation as defensive masters is wholeheartedly deserved. Like their sister club, Virginity, they have never conceded an STD or a pregnancy and nor do they look likely to. The coach's decision to play without strikers means that despite patient build-up, attacking play in and around the area lacks any real penetration. However, no one can accuse them of being boring. In terms of ability, the players at Abstinence more than match those at the more glamorous clubs but the team elects to play a strategy that revolves around an Impregnable defence. Although Abstinence never score, their approach play can be exciting and adventurous; but always safe. Their players and fans are drawn to the club for a variety of reasons. The club's religious connections are well known, but the club has also attracted new fans and players in recent years, since the advent of AIDS. Players and fans rarely pledge allegiance to the club for life but whilst at the club they are loyal and content.

What the players say

"Realistically, abstinence is rare. I am not for casual sex. I abstain from sex." 20, F, USA "The way things are now, it is better to wait and find the right partner."
22, M, Trinidad and Tobago


Playing Style

Virginity are a young team, with a similar defensive reputation to Abstinence. Like Abstinence, Virginity demonstrate that there is more to the game than scoring, although they can be 3 match [or any club when it comes to creating chances. At times. Virginity look as if they could score at will, but hold back, content to entertain the crowd with nice touches at the edge of the area. Every player plays for Virginity at the beginning of their career. Most move on to other clubs with many transferring direct to Monogamy. The club has a reputation as a training ground for young players, giving them the freedom to learn about the game and develop in a safe environment before furthering their careers at other clubs. It is disappointing that many players feel pressured into leaving the club early in their careers rather than waiting until the move is right for them. Virginity are a club built on high principles, laying the foundations for players early in their career so that they can flourish later in life at other clubs.

What the players say

"Virginity. In a word, it means honour." 21, M, Jordan "If you have sex before you get married, somehow it will not be the some on your wedding night, it will not be special. It would be just another night."
20, F, India


Playing Style

Monogamy are a club built on tradition and family values. Monogamy are a high-scoring team, although they are often accused of being a bit predictable, lacking variety and flair. This is not entirely fair, because with a bit of imagination and creativity, Monogamy an be exciting and attractive. In particular, there is a good understanding between the players which allows them to be patient in their approach play. However lapses in concentration at the back mean that, all too often. Monogamy concede needless unwanted pregnancies and STDs. In recent seasons, the coach has been trying to tighten up the defence, but many of the players at Monogamy remain sceptical about the need for this tactical switch. Team spirit, however, is good with relationships at the club often close and rewarding. Monogamy responds well to pressure, and the players are able to maintain their composure in the face of adversity.

What the players say

"Sexual intercourse is the feeling of becoming one and is something very special to two people."
21, F, Sri Lanka
"I think that sex between two people who love each other is always better than meaningless sex."
19, F, UK

Serial Monogamy

Playing Style

Serial Monogamy are often confused with their neighbor, Monogamy. Whilst their style of play can be similar, Serial Monogamy often undergoes dramatic changes in personnel. Players are always looking for new challenges which can lead to frustration and conflicts off the pitch. The defence can become complacent, making Serial Monogamy vulnerable at the back. Over a season, Serial Monogamy can concede as many unwanted pregnancies and STDs as Casual Sex. The situation is very different if Condom plays in goal. However the coach has a tendency to drop Condom just as he looks like establishing himself in the side. The club is also renowned for folding when put under pressure. Despite their shortcomings, the style of Serial Monogamy suits many young players. Its Laid-back approach and emphasis on experimentation allows players to enjoy the game without the demands of Monogamy.

What the players say
"I think if you are responsible there is nothing wrong with it. It's not as if you go steeping around with everyone."
19, F, USA
'There is nothing wrong with it if, and only if, the people are using contraceptives."
21, M, Botswana

"It's a personal choice in life." 21, M, Cameroon
"Everyone can live their lives the way they want to." 18, F, Mexico

Casual Sex

Playing Style

Casual Sex rely more on individual flair than on teamwork. On their day, Casual Sex can be exhilarating and entertaining. The Fans expect Casual Sex to conjure up a goal from nowhere and as a result, the players are more than happy to try their luck with long shots. However, in the drive for a moment of magic, all too often the need for precaution is abandoned. Casual Sex lack consistency, and if they don't score early in a game, they are easily frustrated. Their games are frenetic at times and can lack the sophisticated interplay of Monogamy and Serial Monogamy. Their carefree approach in defence makes them susceptible to conceding unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Players are often accused of being selfish, playing for themselves rather than for the team. Their critics say that Casual Sex lack the commitment required to play the game. However, it is exactly this lack of commitment (and responsibility) which attracts many of the players and fans to the club. In the end, Casual Sex do not always live up to expectations, which can leave the players and fans demoralized and Low on self-esteem.

What the players say

''Casual sex is gooood! I like it, I like it a lot."
19, M, USA
"It's cool as long as both parties know the score."
21, M, UK



Abstinence is when someone (who may have had sex before) chooses not to have sex. A person may decide to abstain for a variety of reasons - there may be a cultural taboo prohibiting sex (e.g. after the birth of a child); it may be for religious reasons; a person may abstain if engaged to be married or after an unpleasant sexual experience (e.g. abuse, rape) or a person simply may not want to have sex.


Virginity is when someone has never had penetrative sex. In many societies, virginity is retained until marriage. Indeed, in some cultures, the virginity of the bride must be assured to validate a marriage. Many young people choose to remain virgins until they meet the right partner or the person they intend to marry.


A person is monogamous if they have only one sexual partner. Monogamy usually implies, although does not necessarily mean, that a person has a long-term sexual relationship with commitment which may be formalized through marriage. For many people, monogamy is the ideal, indeed only, way to live. Monogamy, if strictly observed, reduces the risk of STDs/HIV.


Serial monogamy occurs when a person begins a new monogamous relationship when another one ends. Whilst a person has only one sexual partner at any one time. he or she may have several short-term monogamous relationships over a period of a few years. Not everyone chooses serial monogamy, but may end up being a serial monogamist whilst looking for a stable long-term monogamous relationship.


Casual sex describes sexual relationships which occur outside monogamous relationships. It includes one-night stands, commercial sex, illicit affairs and open sexual relationships (i.e. not monogamous). For a number of reasons, people do not always use condoms when they have casual sex. As such, casual sex carries a high risk of STD and HIV transmission as well as unwanted pregnancy.


"Before the war I was happy I had many friends real friends. You never asked them about their background. It didn't even matter whether you were Bosnian or Croatian or Serb We didn't even know then We are all from mixed backgrounds anyway. But then during the war I lost my friends. All at once I was declared a Muslim And so I lost my friends I find it difficult to make new friends now


Before the war I used to go out with many boys I didn't have sex until I was married. but I know at a lot of girls who were doing that Now alter the war it is very different - sex has become too easy. Young people don't care any more. People want to forget so they try to have fun and sex is one way of having fun.

It is very difficult for me to talk about sex now you know after what happened to me I would never have believed that things like this could happen to me. I fled from my home leaving my parents I learned of my parents death a little later, but I couldn't believe it in 1994. I returned here Then people around me started dying. My schoolfriends were killed at the frontline - they were standing on the other side. Then they came and raped me I just cannot talk about it. It depresses me and I am plagued by many questions for which I have no answers.


But being at the shelter helps me a lot. They trust me and I trust them.
This place means a lot to me. It brought me back to reality it gives me strength to start a family.