Elliot Taylor, 19, grew up in south-west England. TheSite.org helped him find answers about sexual health when he couldn’t speak to anyone else.
My parents had just moved me from Dorset to Cornwall, where I didn’t know anyone. I was missing my friends and was finding it hard to make new ones when I came across TheSite.org cited in a magazine’s agony aunt column. I was 16-years-old and decided to have a look at it.
I wasn’t looking at TheSite.org for any particular reason, but I was really impressed by what I found – there was so much information about so many different subjects. I happened to start reading an article about confidence that had some really helpful tips about meeting new people. I tried them out and it made it easier to get on with my new peers. Soon, living in this new place wasn’t so bad.
I met a girl sometime later, called Claire*, and we started going out. She had quite a troubled past and there were issues which I found hard to understand, so I turned to TheSite.org for answers. Her dad could be manipulative and used to upset her a lot, so I started looking up advice which I’d pass on to her. Growing up in a small community where everyone’s parents knew each other’s business, we couldn’t turn to them for guidance, so we confided in TheSite.org. It gave us reliable advice when we decided to try sex for the first time and supported us through potentially stressful situations.
We shared a frightening experience when we were 17, because Claire found a lump on her vagina. She was upset and thought it could be cancer, but she was too scared to go to the doctor because he also treated her whole family – and mine too. We thought he’d tell people and we weren’t ready for that. Instead, we decided to ask TheSite.org what it could be. The advice we received helped us put the situation in perspective. It told us there were a number of reasons that could have caused the lump, so we started eliminating them. We went to the chemist to get some cream, and, to our relief, the lump went away.
I used the askTheSite service many times when I was growing up. I was confused about my sexuality for a while, but just having someone to communicate with about it, completely confidentially, helped me understand what I was feeling and realise I was normal. For a while I also thought I was suffering from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and I became anxious that I would be diagnosed with a mental health problem. But the answer from TheSite.org explained the symptoms and, again, I realised there was nothing to worry about. If I hadn’t been able to speak to someone about it, I think I would have gone crazy.