1. Dating & Relationships

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

How to Kiss Like in

Let's Talk About Sex!

20 Things You Should Know About "The First Time"

Graphics from Animation Factory

QUICK FACTS** : This year 8936 girls under the age of 15 and 181,444 between the ages of 15 and 19, will have a baby. The actual pregnancy rate in these groups is double, meaning half of all teenage pregnancies end in abortion or miscarriage.

S-E-X. It is a word loaded with social taboos and cultural mystery. It is 100% necessary for the continuation of the human race and yet it is treated as if it is unnatural, even down right dirty. IT'S NOT! But this stigma is what makes parents freak out when their teen announces he or she is ready to give it a try. Now, although this reaction is an instinctive one for parents to have, it is not without some merit. Sex in the new millenium is filled with risks - both emotional and physical. Gone are the days when the only worry the sexually active teen had was unwanted pregnancy (and then that was something the girl worried about more). Y2K ushered in a new "non-sexual" revolution fueled by rampant STDs, record teen pregnancy rates and the incurable AIDS virus. AIDS is on the rise among teens and the fact is, if you are sexually active, you can get it*. If you are considering having sex for the first time there are a few things you MUST know.

One of the most mysterious of the sexual milestones is the elusive "first time". Everyone who is sexually active has had a "first time" and most people will tell you it was nothing like they expected it to be. For boys, the "first time" is a sort of stepping stone to manhood, a sign that you are well on your way to being a real man. For girls, visions of the first time are often clouded with ideas of romance that are more based in dreams than in reality. The decision to have sex should never be taken lightly. If you are making it without any thought you shouldn't be having sex - plain and simple. But if you have given your decision some real thought there you are bound to be full of questions. You have probably heard rumours about what sex is like and what can and cannot happen "the first time". Let us clear up the myths and present you with the realities.

20 Facts About "The First Time"

Your Body

  1. You can get pregnant (and boys, you may not carry the baby, but you still "get pregnant").
  2. The only forms of birth control that work with any reliability for the inexperienced are; condoms, birth control pills (taken for at least a month before), female condoms, sponge, spermicide, depro-provera (given by a doctor well in advance), norplant (minor surgery required well in advance), IUD and diaphram (both need a doctor).
  3. Rythm and Cycles require some real experience and are NOT for first timers.
  4. Standing up right away or jumping up and down will not prevent pregnancy.
  5. You can get an STD, and even AIDS, the first time.
  6. Only condoms (female and male), preferably with a spermicide, can give you any protection against STDs and AIDS.
  7. The only 100% perfect protection against AIDS, STDs, or pregnancy (for adults and teens) is NOT having sex.
  8. You probably won't know what you are doing or if you are doing it "right" - try not to worry too much about it, as long as it is consentual there is no one "right" way.
  9. Your body may not cooperate, even if your mind wants to be having sex, your body will have an opinion too.
  10. You can change your mind and say "NO" whenever you want to before doing it - just because you agreed to have sex doesn't mean you have to go through with it.

Your Feelings

  1. It will NOT go the way you plan, it is best to plan only the birth control, time and place.
  2. If you are a girl; it will not feel very good - if you are a boy; it will be over so fast you won't know for sure how it felt.
  3. You WILL be nervous and maybe a little scared - not necessarily in a bad way.
  4. You will feel different about yourself and the other person - not necessarily in a bad way.
  5. You will NOT suddenly be a woman or a man.
  6. You may feel guilty that you are actually wanting to have sex - try to remember sex is perfectly natural and normal and not something to feel guilty about.
  7. As long as you know you are ready, and care about the person you are with, you will enjoy yourself.
  8. If you don't respect your partner, or you know they don't resepct you, you will have regrets.
  9. If you love, or are loved by your partner, you may still have regrets.
  10. Regrets are normal. You have lost something - your virginity - it is natural and normal to mourn that loss.

Important Links

~ Are you ready to have sex? Take this quiz to see if you know the facts about sex and pregnancy.
~ Test you SQ - Sexual Quotient - do you know as much as you think you do?
~ Do you want to say "No" but feel pressured to have sex? Some tips on how to say "No" with pride.
~ Stories of kids who are glad they talked to their parents - and a look at the cool way parents can react.
~ Important information about HIV and STDs.
~ Gay teens and sex - advice and answers.
~ STDs 101
~ Sex On The Brain - a look at why the pressure to have sex is so great for teens.
~ Fuzzy - Quiz yourself about STDs - a Shockwave game.
~ The Truth About Sex - a video filled with facts, starring Kelli Martin.
~ OOPS! What to do if you need emergency contraception.
~ AIDS and HIV info for teens.
~ Getting and using Condoms.
~ Teen Sexuality: In A Culture of Confusion - an internet documentary.
~ Protect Sex Education - a site full of the facts without any glamour or glitz.
~ Talking to your parents - some advice on how to bring up the subject
~ Straight Facts About Teen Sex - Is Everybody REALLY doing it?

Take Our Quiz
See if you really are as ready as you think!

10 Tips For Talking To Your Parents About Sex

  1. Know your stuff - let them see you are ready by showing them you have done your homework and are going to act responsibly.
  2. Know your reasons - know why you feel you are ready to have sex and what your reasons are; they will ask, and if you can't answer maybe you aren't as ready as you thought!
  3. Be prepared for a negative reaction - it is very hard to see your child ready to be intimate with somone, accept your parents displeasure or anger since it is valid, and be prepared to live with it.
  4. Don't flaunt it in their faces - your descison to have sex shouldn't be a weapon designed to hurt your parents or "put them in their place" while you assert independence, if you are trying to upset them you are having sex for the wrong reasons!
  5. Be calm and polite - this won't be easy for them, even if they are the most liberal parents in the world, if you come out "gangbusters" it will make them react rather than listen.
  6. Talk about birth control and safer sex - I can't explain the horror I felt when my mother asked me about this; spare yourself the shock and bring it up first, it will show that you are thinking about what you are doing which is always a good thing.
  7. Don't sugar coat it - if you want to talk about birth control options, do it; if you want to have sex but aren't sure you are in love, speak up; if you think it is none of their business and are telling them as a courtesy, make it known. This is not a time to hide how you feel.
  8. Be truthful - it is really easy to chicken out and tell your parents what you think they can handle rather than what is true - this is a short term fix and is bound to cause blow ups in the future.
  9. Tell them what a great job they have done - let them know that you value their opinions and are aware of their feelings on the matter (and I hope you are). Tell them that the reason you can come to them about this rather than hiding it is because they have done a good job at earning your trust. Even if your choice goes against values you know they have, make sure you tell them you respect their feelings.
  10. LISTEN - listen to your parents, they do have experience in this matter (you're here aren't you?) and are an invaluable resource, even if you may not like what they say. More importantly, listen to yourself as you talk to them - if anything you hear yourself say sounds wrong when spoken out loud you may want to take a second look at your decision.

Related: Some Listening Advice for Mom & Dad - you may want them to read this BEFORE you sit down to talk.

*AIDS can also be transmitted through infected needles and blood transfusions.
National Center for Health Statistics and the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Previous Features

Mike Hardcastle
About.com Teen Advice

Write for About Teen Advice

Explore Teen Advice
  1. About.com
  2. Dating & Relationships
  3. Teen Advice

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.