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Sex Essentials for Teens

The Most Important Things Teens Should Know About Sex

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For teens, the mere thought of sex can be overwhelming. There is so much to think about, so much to worry about, and so much that can go wrong. Whether you are sexually active or not, knowing the facts about what sex is, and what it is not, is very important.

Sex is...

  • both physical and emmotional in nature
  • risky; you can get pregnant, catch a sexually transmitted infection, have your heart broken or your ego bruised, or feel let down and disappointed when it is over
  • a milestone; you only get one chance to lose your virginity
  • sensitive; be sure that the timing is right for you and your partner
  • not to be taken lightly or treated as recreation
  • best when it is a personal expression of caring between two people
  • messy and full of strange, sometimes embarassing noise

Sex is NOT...

  • a way to make somebody love you or make a commitment to you
  • a test of your love for your partner
  • a measure of how mature or grown up you are
  • a good way to get back at your parents or assert your independence
  • a leisure activity
  • always fun or enjoyable, sometimes you will wonder if it was really worth it
Remember, when you have sex for the wrong reasons you hurt yourself!

Being Sexually Active

If you are sexually active there are some important things you should know about the sex act itself. There is so much more to think about than whether or not you are doing it right but this is the thing people tend to worry about the most. Rest assured that there really is no right or wrong way to have sex.

When it comes to se one thing that people should think about but rarely do is the law. There are age of consent laws surrounding how old you have to be in order to have sex and what constitutes consensual sex. There are even laws about the kind of sex acts you can engage in.

Must Know Facts About Sex

Unless you want to get pregnant, and you shouldn't want this if you are a teen, birth control is a must.

The only protection against STIs for sexually active people is a barrier method like a condom. This is a safe sex must even if you are using something else for birth control.

Oral sex is still sex and some STIs, including HIV and AIDS, can be transmitted orally. A barrier method, like a condom or dental dam, must be used for this type of sex as well.

If your partner is under the age of consent, intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, pressured or threatened in any way, or asks you to stop at any point, you CAN NOT legally engage in sex. Any or all of these scenarios could result in your being charged with rape.

You can get pregnant or catch an STI the very first time you have sex, even if you use protection. It is always a risk.

Birth control and STI protection must be used properly to be effective. Missed pills and doubled up condoms are the most common misuse of birth control and can result in pregnancy or STI transmission.

There is no right or wrong way to have intercourse but if it hurts, or if it doesn't feel right emmotionally, you should stop right away.

The Sex Checklist

If you are going to have sex you must have:
  • a willing partner who is legally able to consent to sex
  • effective and properly used birth control
  • STI protection, a male or female condom
  • realistic expectations about what having sex will mean for you
  • a safe place to engage in sex
  • the maturity to understand that sex has emotional and physical consequences
  • respect and trust between you and your partner

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