When are you ready for sex?

As a teenager with raging hormones, sex is something that is probably on your mind a lot. This is totally normal. However, just because you think about sex, and have sexual urges does not mean you are ready for sex. The following is a look at how you can know if you are ready for sex:

  1. Know the risks.
    Sex is about pleasure, but there are risks for some really un-pleasurable side-effects. With sex, you run the risk of STD’s, or pregnancy, etc. However, in addition to that you run the risk of heart break and regret. You can only have sex for the first time once, and if you choose the wrong person, you may end up with disease or feelings of loss. The risks are high, so if you have any doubts it is best to wait.
  2. Know yourself. You are the only who knows you well enough to determine if you have the maturity and ability emotionally to handle sex. You can’t expect someone else to know if you are ready, this is something you have to decide.
  3. Know your would-be partner. Are they trustworthy? Will they handle your heart with care? Are they going to treat you with the respect and care you deserve? If this is the first time you will be having sex, you want to ask yourself if it is their first time as well. Sometimes having sex for the first time with a partner who is experienced can be overwhelming, and leave you feeling vulnerable and insecure. So, consider that, who they are, etc. before you have sex.
  4. Know your reasons. Having sex for the first time because of pressure, not good. Having sex for the first time to spite your mom, not good. Having sex for the first time to improve your image, not good. If you are having sex for the wrong reasons, you should not be having it. Sex is an expression of love, and a fulfillment of intimacy. It creates a physical and emotional bond, and should not be taken lightly, or given without thought. If you are going to have sex, you should be having it because you love someone, and want that connection with them, and because they feel the same way towards you.
  5. Know the facts. The law, the basics of sex, etc. are all a big part of knowing whether or not you are ready. If you are under 18, it is against the law for you to have sex with someone over 18. This is something that many teenagers ignore, but it is a law, and should not be ignored. If you are not already familiar with how sex works, and what is expected, then you are not ready. Do you know what oral sex is? Do you know how to prevent contraception? Do you know how to care for yourself before and after? Do you know what to expect the first time? For a girl it can be fairly painful the first time. For a boy it can end quickly. Do you know what to expect?

What you should know about sex

As a teenager, sex is on the mind, but that does not mean you know what you should about sex. The following is a look at what you should know about sex when you are a teenager, especially one considering being sexually active.

  1. How to do it. Any teen who is going to think about having sex needs to know the basics of it. This means knowing how intercourse works, what it means to have oral sex, etc. It can be uncomfortable to talk about sex, and so many teens are a bit ignorant when it comes to the facts.
  2. The risks involved. Many teens know that they want to have sex. They have sexual urges, and feel a need that they want to fulfill. Many teens think only of the pleasures of sex, and forget the risks. The fact is that sex is riddled with risks, especially for those who are teens, involved with more than one partner, or are not prepared for those risks. Obviously the biggest risk of sex is that of pregnancy. People who wait for marriage have the benefit of a spouse, and many of them are not really ready for sex then, so consider how unprepared you may be as a teenager who has class, a minimum wage job, and live in their parent’s home. In addition to pregnancy, there are risks like STDs, HIV, and emotional risks, such as heartache and heartbreak.
  3. The laws. There are laws about who can have sex with whom. If you are under 18 years of age, you are not legally allowed to have sex with someone over the age of 18. It is important that you remember that, and know any other laws in your state, etc.
  4. The emotional impact. Sex is more than a physical coupling that results in pleasure, there is also a very emotional tie that is created when you have sex with someone. Even when you think you are just having sex for the pleasure, you can’t share that much intimacy with someone without creating a real bond. This means that if you get rejected, if things get confusing, or if a problem occurs, it can be really devastating. The emotional side of sex is something you have to anticipate and understand if you are going to have sex. It can leave you feeling vulnerable and insecure.
  5. The good, the bad, the ugly. Sex feels good, is not bad, but can be kind of gross and ugly at times. Some people consider sex to be a sin if engaged in before marriage. There is a lot of wisdom to waiting, especially as it is going to protect you from most of the risks. It also helps you accept some of the ugly, and not feel like you are putting your relationship at risk. Sometimes during sex people fart, urinate, make weird sounds or say or do things that would be weird or uncomfortable in other situations. Being in a secure and trusting relationship is critical for the good, the bad, and the ugly to all work in sex.

Teen pregnancy

One of the risks of having sex as a teenager is that of teen pregnancy. The following is a look at some of the facts about teen pregnancy:

The realities of teen pregnancy:

While it may initially be exciting and even something to look forward to, the reality is that most people do not have children in their teen years for good reasons.

School:

You are in school. You must decide what you are going to do. If you stay in school, you will likely undergo the ridicule of peers. If you drop out you stunt your ability for economic growth. If you decide to do home school or something similar you have to be motivated.

Cost:

You have to consider the expense. Having a baby is very expensive. In addition to the cost of pregnancy check-ups, and the birth, hospital stay, etc. you have to get clothes, diapers, and other items for the baby. You also have to get immunizations, etc. The costs add up fast, and will be overwhelming to someone without a job or with a job that is minimum wage. It can be overwhelming to couples with real careers.

Long term:

Will you and your partner stay together? Will you break up? Who will the baby live with? Where will you live? Are your parents going to let you stay with them? Are you going to need to get a job? Are you going to be able to find a sitter for your baby when you are in school, at work, etc.?

The realities of teen pregnancy are simple, it is not like having a toy, or a doll, it is a person who has to be fed, changed, bathed, and cared for. You can’t leave them home so you can go out with your friends. You can’t hope everything will just work out. You have to provide for their needs, and have a plan. In other words, you have to grow up and be responsible. This is not easy, and it isn’t something that is natural for a teen, who is primarily a selfish creature, to do.

Where to get help: If you are a teen and you get pregnant, your first place to get help should be your parents. They may be angry, but in the end they should come around and support you. The next place you can turn is your church or other groups you are affiliated with. You can also get help from places like Planned Parenthood, and other agencies set up to help teens with unwanted pregnancies.

Your options: As a teen who gets pregnant you are given options, you can abort, place for adoption, or keep your baby yourself. All of these options are difficult to comprehend and even more difficult to grasp the long term consequences of. Initially most teens lean toward keeping their baby, but emotions can cloud your judgment. So, talk with an adult who has your best interest in mind. Consider your values. Consider others. Abortion is something that goes against many people’s religious and personal beliefs, but they do not want to keep the baby either. Adoption is a wonderful option as it gives other people a chance to have babies when their bodies limit them from being able to do so.

How to prevent unplanned pregnancy: Abstinence is the best way to prevent unplanned pregnancy. If you are not going to do that, then talk to an adult and get yourself on birth control. They are not full proof, but they will lessen your chances of an unplanned pregnancy.

Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases are common among sexually active teens, and should be given more consideration. Teens should be more aware of what STDs are out there, and that they should be doing to get tested and to be protected against them.

What are STD’s:

STDs are sexually transmitted diseases. They are usually viral, and often have serious side effects, symptoms, etc.

A look at the common STD’s:

BV – Bacterial Vaginosis: This is a sexually transmitted disease common for teen girls, it occurs when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria. The most common symptoms are pain, itching, burning, discharge, and odor. It is sometimes confused with yeast infections.

Chlamydia and LGV: Most teens have heard of Chlamydia. This STD can damage a woman’s reproductive organs, and make it impossible for them to have children in the future. This is an STD that is often not taken seriously because the symptoms are so mild, and in some cases absent. However, this disease can cause irreversible damage. In a man it often causes infection in the penis which results in discharge.

Gonorrhea: This is another commonly heard of STD among teens. It is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is a bacterium. This particular bacterium multiplies quickly, especially in warm, moist areas. So, it spreads quickly in the reproductive tract of a female, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. It also affects the urethra (urine canal) in both women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus. Symptoms of this STD are a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis. Sometimes men with gonorrhea get painful or swollen testicles as well.

Genital Herpes:  This is an STD commonly joked about, but very common. The reason is that most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms so it spreads easily. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum depending on where the herpes is located. The blisters can break and leave tender ulcers.

HPV or the Human Papillomavirus Infection: This is caused by viruses which are sexually transmitted, and infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva, or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. This infection may not show symptoms, but can cause problems with your reproductive tract. Many people will overcome the infection on their own.

Syphilis: This is a common STD that does not have many signs and symptoms, but it can be spread to an infant if you have it and get pregnant. It is also bad for the reproductive tract.

Trichomoniasis: This is a very common STD in teen girls, and puts them at higher risk of getting HIV infected. This is because it causes genital inflammation which increases her susceptibility to HIV.

Avoiding STD’s:

The best and only real way to avoid STDs is through abstinence. Other good ways is to minimize the number of sexual partners you have, as well as who you have sex with. In addition, it is wise to have all partners tested before you have sex with them.

Protection

What you need to protect yourself from during sex: When many teens think about protection during sex the thing that first comes to mind is that of preventing unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. While it is considered somewhat “cool” to be sexually active as a teenager, being a teen parent is far from cool or exciting. However, in addition to protecting against unwanted pregnancy, you should protect yourself from HIV, STDs, and last, but certainly not least, heart break! Heartbreak is common when teens have sex, and most teens do not think about how to protect themselves from it. The following are some tips for protection:

Pregnancy: The best way to protect against pregnancy is abstinence. Find ways to enjoy the opposite gender without sex. However, if you are sexually active, to protect against pregnancy as a girl, consider a pill, patch, ring, diaphragm, etc. If you are a boy consider the use of condoms, spermicide, etc. Talk to your doctor about the option that is best for your body and budget.

HIV: The best way to protect against HIV is abstinence. If you are going to be sexually active the best way to protect yourself against HIV is to have each potential partner tested before engaging in sexual activity with him or her. In addition, certain contraceptives, such as condoms can help lessen the risk, but certainly does not prevent you from contracting it.

STD’s: Sexually transmitted diseases are common among teens because they do not plan sexual partners out well, and thus do not always get tested before engaging in sex. In addition, many teens think of themselves as somewhat invincible, and sort of think of STDs as something that happens to other people, not them. To protect against STDs you can practice abstinence, which is the safest option. Other choices include having potential partners tested. Contraceptives do not really protect you against STDs. Neither does asking your potential partner if they have any STDs, some do not have symptoms, and it is embarrassing to admit to STDs, so even if they do have one, they might not tell you.

Heartbreak: This is the hardest thing to protect yourself against when it comes to sex. It is really easy to get your heart broken if you are a teenager engaged in sexual activity. This is because it is a shared intimacy that many take for granted. If it is given without a true commitment or level of feelings, you can get rejected, and that rejection is felt deeper because of the intimacy that sex inspires. Thus, to protect yourself from heart break when it comes to sex, you should choose your partner carefully. You want to ensure that they are someone trustworthy. You want to make sure that you are not pressured to have sex. If your partner says that you will have sex with them if you love them, etc. then you are probably in for some heartbreak after you give in.

Losing your virginity

As teenagers, the thought of losing your virginity is probably on your mind a lot. People talk about it constantly, and you can’t help but be curious about it. The following is a look at losing your virginity.

What it means to lose your virginity:

Put simply it means to have sex for the first time. However, in more technical terms, for a girl it means breaching the hymen. This means it can be done by means other than intercourse. By some standards virginity means no sex of any kind, oral, anal, or vaginal. So, losing your virginity means having sex of any kind.

The consequences of losing your virginity:

There is no huge change physically when you lose your virginity, unless as a girl you get pregnant, however, there are often emotional changes. Many teens feel remorse, loss, or regret for something they can’t get back. Some feel that it is like a rite of passage, and feel a freedom, as if they have achieved something. The consequences of losing your virginity are individual. Some of the potential consequences are heart break, sexually transmitted diseases, or pregnancy.

As you can see, there are some potentially life changing consequences that comes as a result of having sex. So, the following are some things to consider before you lose your virginity.

Questions to ask yourself before losing your virginity:

Do you feel it is the right thing to do? If you have morals or values that tell you to wait until marriage, you may feel a guilt, or doubt about whether or not you should lose your virginity. You should be 100% certain it is something you want to do as you can never undo it.

Have you been drinking or are you under any substance’s influence? Losing your virginity because you got drunk or high is never a good thing. In fact, you will likely regret it your whole life. So, only make such a big decision if you are in full control of your mental and emotional facilities. That means after a death, fight, split-up etc. you should never make such a big decision, as your emotions may be off kilter.

Who is your partner? Who you choose to lose your virginity to is of great significance. One of the reasons many recommend you wait for marriage is that you know you can trust your partner because they are committed to you legally. You have to ensure that you are not going to have sex with someone who is using you, who will abuse you, will make you feel inadequate, unloved etc.

Have you considered the risks? Pregnancy, STDs and heart break are all very real risks and should not be taken lightly.

You do realize you can never get this back?

Do you know the facts about sex? You can get pregnant the first time, you can’t guarantee that you won’t get pregnant unless you abstain from sex. Sexually transmitted diseases happen, and anyone can get them. There are legal ages for having sex, and it differs from state to state, so you may be breaking the law if you are not old enough. Know the facts!

Intimacy without sex

As a teenager you have no doubt experienced some of the hormones and desires for physical contact and intimacy. Most teens have a desire for an intimate connection with someone. In addition to the sex drive, there is that need to fit in and be loved and accepted, flaws and all, by someone. Many teens turn to sex to find this intimacy with someone, as it is a very intimate act. However, sex is a huge decision, and not something you can ever go back and undo once you have done it. So, a better option for someone who is looking for intimacy, is to find it without sex. The following are some great tips for how to get intimacy without sex:

Spend time together. Being physically close to one another on a regular basis can help inspire intimacy. If you spend enough time together you start to share secrets, camaraderie, etc. So, when you have free time, spend it together, getting to know each other better.

Do things that are not going to be normal interactions of strangers. For example, give each other massages, cuddle during a movie, leave affectionate notes in each other’s cars, lockers, etc. The more familiar your actions, the more intimate your connection will become.

Enjoy the level of physicality you are comfortable with. If you are not engaging in sex, that does not mean you can’t enjoy a good make-out on occasion. Even if you are keeping your hands to yourself, and not fondling one another does not mean you can’t kiss, hold hands, hug, etc. Those steamy make-outs can go a long way in providing an intimacy without sex, just be careful not to let them go too far.

One of the best things you can do for your relationship is not let it get stale. When you first start dating you have the excitement of that first hand holding, the butterflies, the wondering, and the joy. If after a few weeks or months you no longer hold hands in the car, it is time to change that. Hold hands and never neglect to kiss each other goodbye. Sometimes the simple interactions of affection bring you far closer than intercourse. So, keep the simple things alive.

Be emotionally intimate if you are avoiding physical intimacy. Pay attention to them, their thoughts, feelings, needs, likes, dislikes. Write notes to each other. Get mushy sometimes. Surprise them with thoughtful gifts or activities. Plan things. Share with one another. Talk to them about your fears, concerns, dreams, and goals. Listen when they talk to you about theirs.

It is very possible to achieve an intimate connection and relationship with someone without the intimacy of sex. In fact, it is a much better option for teens to achieve intimacy this way so that they do not risk unwanted consequences like pregnancy, etc.

How to talk to your parents about sex

As a teenager, talking to your parents about sex can be difficult. It is especially difficult if you are trying to let them know that you are sexually active, or that you want to be. Avoiding the talk is not wise, so read the following to learn how to talk to your parents about sex.

First, it is good to know why you should talk to your parents about sex:

The first reason you should talk to your parents about sex is that out of everyone in the world, they care about you and have your best interest in heart, and are not going to pressure you to have sex to fit in or to be someone or something you are not.

The second reason you should talk to your parents about sex is that the national statistic shows that teens who talk to their parents about sex are less likely to encounter the risks such as unwanted pregnancy, STDs etc. If you talk to your parents about sex they will likely help you find the right contraception or protection so that your risks are minimized. They will help you to get tested and take precautions with your choice of partners, etc.

Lastly, parents have experience in this area, otherwise you would not exist, so they often know a lot about birth control options, treatment for sex, and even mending a broken heart.

As you can see, talking to your parents about sex has a lot of pros, but that does not make it easy. Try these tips:

1. Talk to them one at a time. Choose the parent you feel most comfortable talking to, and then talk to them alone. It makes the conversation feel more private, and it can help you feel less ganged up on.

2. Let your parent know you are uncomfortable. Sometimes just saying “Hey Dad, this is not something that is easy or comfortable for me to talk to you about, but I want to ask you something” can really help your dad understand how important it is to you, and that you are serious. It also lets them know you are not looking for an argument or a shocker, but to discuss sex in a mature, adult way.

3. Timing is key to any awkward discussion, especially the sex talk, so make sure you do not pop this on them when the timing is bad. If your parent is under a stressful deadline at work, or is cleaning up a disaster in the kitchen, or is planning a funeral for a relative, it is not likely the best time to discuss sex with them. Instead, wait until you are both at home, relaxed, and comfortable.

4. Have a plan. You won’t get a lot of response from your parents, at least not the response you want if you simply say, “I want to talk to you about sex.” Most parents will nub it in the bud with a, “you aren’t having it until you are married.” So, instead, you can say, “I am curious about how you decide if you are ready for sex.” Or, “I am thinking about having sex, what do you think I should consider before I make that decision.” Be as general or specific as you want, but let them know where you stand, and what you want to know.

5. Show respect. Sometimes a parent will teach their child certain morals and values, and it can be a slap in the face for that child to let the parent know they are sexually active, or are considering it. So, be sensitive to how your questions and revelations can affect your parents. Be respectful. Say, “I know you taught me otherwise, but I lost my virginity, and would like to have someone to talk to.” This lets them know that they are still important.

How to say “no” to your significant other

Your virginity and your body are yours. They are very personal, and you have every right to give or withhold based on what you want, not on what someone else wants. However, sometimes as a teen in a relationship, it can be difficult to say “no” to your significant other when they want and are ready for sex and you aren’t. The following are some things to consider:

Even though you know that a good relationship requires communication, it can be difficult to communicate about sex. You do not want to disappoint, or threaten someone. You do not want them to stop liking you because you are really conservative, inexperienced, or nervous when it comes to sex. For some reason, as a whole, teens seem to think that the more they act like they know everything about sex, the more accepted they will be. However, you can’t tell your significant other “no” if you do not communicate your feelings with them. You will be sending mixed signals that will be sure to end the relationship if you act like you want it, then deny them. So, rather than letting your fear of how they will take it mess up your relationship, you mess it up yourself.

So, talk to them. Tell them how you feel, and if you do not want to go into details, a simple, “I am not ready, and I am not sure when I will be” should suffice. The fact is you don’t really need to tell anyone why you don’t want to have sex, just that you don’t. Be clear though. You can’t say you don’t then jump on them for a long make-out session that gets them hot and ready.

Even though you know that loving someone doesn’t just give them permission for sex, and that someone who uses that against you is not worth it, that does not make it easy to move on. If your significant other is telling you that you will have sex with them if you really love them, a red flag should go up.

If they put conditions on you, or your love, and those conditions involve sex, there is a good chance that things won’t work out in the long run. However, knowing this and doing something about it can be two very different things. As a teenager, you want to have those relationships, that person to rely on, to hang out with, to get comfort from. So, sometimes it feels like the price (sex) is worth the payoff (the companionship). A good tip to help you combat this and still say no is to say, “If you love me you will wait until I am ready.” This will put the ball back in their court, and will show that that your love for them does not determine when you are ready for sex. You don’t have to explain. If they can’t handle it, then there is no denying it, you need to move on. This gives them an out, and gives you a viable excuse for their raging hormones. But, if they fail the test, you have to get used to being alone for a while.

Getting tested for STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases can happen to anyone, but are more common in people with multiple partners, and thus are extremely common in teens. The following is a look at the basics of getting tested for STDs.

What does it mean to be tested for STDs?

It means that you see a doctor and have them run a test to see if you carry the virus or strain of sexually transmitted diseases they test for. Most STDs are viruses. Some can be taken care of with prescriptions. Some you have forever.

Who should be tested?

Anyone who is worried they may have one should be tested, but generally you want to get tested before you start engaging in sex with a new partner, as you do not want to risk passing an STD to them. In addition, you want to get tested if you have had multiple partners, or if your current partner has had multiple partners. The more partners you or your partner has had, the higher the risk of getting a common STD like Chlamydia or gonorrhea. Testing for other STDs is usually done at the doctor’s discretion based on your answer to questions they ask. For example, a pregnant woman who has had multiple sexual partners will be tested for syphilis. This is because it can be very risky to an infant. Other high risk groups may be tested or screened for other STDs. If you don’t have symptoms, however, you will not usually be tested for STDs unless you ask, or answer questions in ways that indicate risk. So, if you are worried, ask to be tested!

When and where should you be tested?

When you get tested depends on who you see. If you go to a public clinic, such as Planned Parenthood, you will likely be tested for STDs as a standard part of a yearly exam. However, if you are seeing a private doctor you won’t likely get testing as a part of a normal exam. So get tested any time you get a new sexual partner, or yearly if your sexual partners change frequently. Do not assume you are fine because your doctor has not mentioned anything. As a teenager, many doctors may assume you are not sexually active, and thus there is a good chance you have not been tested at all. You should always ask what screening tests your doctor has performed, and don’t hesitate to ask for additional tests if you think they are appropriate. For example, if you hear your ex-boyfriend has a specific STD, you may want to be tested for that STD.

How are tests typically performed?

The tests and screenings for STDs vary from disease to disease, but you can bet they will be done one of the following 3 ways:

Urine samples: This is more typical for males, as their urine passes through the same place as ejaculation, and thus if there is an infection the urine will pick up the bacteria. A girl’s urinary tract is not going to do the same thing.

Swabs: A swab on an area displaying symptoms, or infection of some kind can be tested for specific bacteria cultures.

Blood tests: Syphilis for example can be detected in the blood.