Q: How do you know when you are ready to have sex?
A: There’s no perfect moment when you’ll suddenly know that you’re ready for sex. Sex is a complicated and personal decision so it’s all about knowing what’s best for you. No one else can tell you when you’re ready but here are a few things you should consider: Are you doing this because YOU want to? Or are you thinking about having sex because someone else wants you to? Maybe you’re not sure you’re ready, but your partner is putting on the pressure? Or maybe all your friends seem to be having sex, so you feel you should be too? Have you seriously considered the physical and emotional consequences of having sex? Do you know how to protect yourself?
The decision to have sex is a BIG one. If you feel comfortable with the situation and have had an open and honest conversation about sex with your partner, maybe you are ready. But if you aren’t totally comfortable with the decision, then you probably aren't. It might help to talk to someone you trust about the situation. Even if it seems tough, try talking to your parents, or try another trusted adult, older sibling, or responsible friend who is willing to talk to you and give you their advice.
Q: What is the best way to make sure I don’t get pregnant, or get someone pregnant?
A: The only 100% guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy is to not have sex. But if you're going to have sex then you need to make sure you use protection carefully, consistently, and correctly EVERY SINGLE TIME. There are lots of methods of contraception available that are considered either hormonal or barrier. The barrier methods that act as a wall to keep the sperm from reaching the egg and that can also protect against sexually transmitted diseases are male and female condoms, which can be purchased without a prescription. The hormonal methods release specific amounts of hormones that prevent a female from ovulating so that an egg cannot be fertilized. Examples of hormonal methods include the pill, patch, shot, and ring. Hormonal methods only work for girls and require a prescription.
Q: Can you get pregnant or get someone pregnant the first time you have sex?
A: Yes, you can. Every single time you have sex there is a chance that you can get pregnant or cause a pregnancy. The first time and every time. The only 100% foolproof way to avoid pregnancy is to not have sex in the first place. If you are having sex, it's important that you use protection each and every time you have sex. No exceptions.
Q: Can I get pregnant if I have sex during my period?
A: It is possible. A woman can become pregnant when she is ovulating (releasing an egg from the ovary). A woman ovulates 14 days before the first day of her next menstrual period. If a woman's menstrual cycle is very short (meaning 21 days or less between menstrual periods), she could be ovulating during her period or shortly after. Therefore, having unprotected sex during her period could put a woman at risk for pregnancy.
Q: If I miss my period, does that mean I’m pregnant?
A: Not necessarily. Sometimes girls miss their periods. If you have had sex and missed a period, then it is possible you have become pregnant. However, many other things like stress, weight loss, infections, and medications (including birth control) can cause missed periods, too. The only way to know for sure if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. If you continue to miss periods or if your period is very irregular, you should talk to your doctor.
Q: Does “pulling out” prevent pregnancy?
A: No, it won't. When a guy becomes aroused, his penis produces a small amount of pre-ejaculatory fluid (pre-cum). Pre-ejaculatory fluid contains sperm as well as any STD that the male may have. Even if he withdraws, or pulls out, from his partner before he ejaculates, there could be enough sperm released to cause his partner to become pregnant or he could transmit an STD.
Q: Is emergency contraception ("Plan B" or the "morning-after pill") the same as abortion?
A: No. Emergency Contraception Pills (ECP), like Plan B or the "morning-after pill," are a concentrated dose of birth control pills that are approximately 94% effective in preventing pregnancy from occurring when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex. ECP will not work if a woman is already pregnant and won't harm the pregnancy. Abortion is the termination of an already established pregnancy.
Q: Do I need my parent’s permission to go on the pill?
A: The pill is a prescription-only method of birth control, meaning that you can't just go into a store and buy a pack like you can with condoms. You’ll have to see a health care professional to get a prescription; if you’re not comfortable going to your doctor, or you’re concerned that your parents will find out, there are health clinics you can visit that don’t require a parent’s consent. Once you have a prescription, you take it to a pharmacy to be filled, just like for any other medication.
Click here to find teen-friendly health care providers near you.
Q: Do condoms really break? What do I do if that happens?
A: Yes, it’s possible for condoms to break but that’s not very common if you’re using them correctly. For example, you have to make sure that when you open the package you don't damage the condom with your teeth or fingernails, you have to roll the condom on right side up (yes—you CAN put condoms on inside out!) making sure that there's no air trapped inside, and you have to leave a little space at the tip. You also have to make sure you're not using expired condoms or lube that will break down the latex (petroleum jelly is a big no-no). Use only water-based lubricants like KY Jelly, Astroglide, Wet, or ID Glide. These are sold next to the condoms at most drug stores.
Click here to learn ALL about condoms.
Q: I've had unprotected sex and I've never gotten pregnant. Does this mean I can't get pregnant?
A: No. If you are sexually active and not using protection, you have an 85% chance of getting pregnant within one year. Just because it hasn't happened yet is no guarantee that it won't. If you're in doubt, get checked out by a health care professional, and use that as an opportunity to talk about the best birth control method for you. Unless you are actively trying to prevent a pregnancy, chances are good that you'll get pregnant. The only 100% way to avoid pregnancy is to not have sex. If you are having sex, use some kind of birth control each and every time you have sex. No exceptions.
Q: Won't having a baby make my relationship better or make my boyfriend stay with me forever?
A: Having a baby often leads to a lot of problems in a relationship—it usually won't strengthen a relationship and doesn't necessarily lead to marriage. In fact, 8 out of 10 fathers never marry the teen mothers of their babies. Raising a child is hard. Raising a child alone is even harder. Being a teenager is a great time for growing up, getting an education, meeting new people, and having fun–not pregnancy and parenthood.
Q: What if I am being pressured to have sex?
A: In a healthy relationship, both parties are ready and feel comfortable with sexual activity. You shouldn’t have to have sex to keep your boyfriend or girlfriend. You may feel comfortable kissing or holding hands, but not want to go any further. That’s ok. Deciding whether you want to have sex or when you should is a decision you should make when it feels right for YOU. In a healthy relationship, your boyfriend or girlfriend respects your decisions -- even when they don't like them. If you are thinking about when to have sex, keep in mind:
- You should feel comfortable with your decision.
- Talk with your partner about safe sex practices, like getting tested for STDs and considering birth control options.
- Be honest with yourself and your partner. If you’re not ready, that’s ok and your partner should respect it.
- If something scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable, you can say no at any time.
- You have the right to talk openly and honestly about your fears, worries and feelings.
- If your partner tries to threaten or guilt you into having sex, it can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. You deserve better.
- No matter how long you’ve been with someone or how many times you’ve done something, you have the right to say no at anytime for any reason.
- You have control over your body, and no one else has the right to tell you what to do with it.
Q: Can a girl get pregnant from swallowing semen?
A: Most definitely not. The stomach has no connection to the uterus/ovaries etc. The way a woman becomes pregnant is by sperm somehow entering her vagina and fertilizing one of her egg cells. This is because the reproductive system is not connected to the digestive system. However, there is still a risk of spreading STDs when people engage in oral sex.
Source: Making A Difference
Q: How can you tell if someone has an STD?
A: The signs and symptoms of STDs to look for on another person may include bumps, rash, blisters, sores, or warts on or near the genital area. However, some STDs do not have any symptoms at all. Remember, the most common symptom of an STD is having NO SYMPTOMS. Therefore, you cannot always tell if a person has an STD just by looking at them.
Click here to find more information and STD testing sites near you.
Source: Making A Difference