The most important things teens should know about sex.

Mike Hardcastle

Sex; the mere thought of it 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 an STD (that may be with you for the rest of your life), 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 so you should make every effort to ensure the memory is a good one and that the timing is really 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 noises.
Sex is NOT...
  • a way to make somebody love you or make a commitment to you.
  • a test of your love for or devotion to 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; there will be time when you will wonder if it was really worth it.
Remember, when you have sex for the wrong reasons only you have something to lose!

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 "am I doing this right" when having sex yet ironically, this is the thing people tend to worry about the most. Rest assured that there really is no right or wrong way to "do it", but there are laws surrounding how old you have to be in order to have sex (age of consent laws), and what constitutes consensual sex (statutory rape laws, date rape laws, and laws surrounding ones ability to give consent to sex).

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 NOT optional, it is a must.
  • The only protection against STDs 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 sex and some STDs, including HIV and AIDS can be transmitted orally, a barrier method (like a condom) 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 (prescription or street), if s/he is pressured or threatened in any way (including threats to reputation or name calling), if s/he says "no" or "stop" at any point you CAN NOT legally engage in sex -- any or all of the scenarios could result in your being charged with rape.
  • Intercourse occurs when there is penetration of the male sex organ (penis) in the female sex organ (vagina), but sex can still happen without intercourse. It is best to think in terms of sexual activity WITH intercourse and sexual activity WITHOUT intercourse when deciding if you are considered sexually active. FYI: many people consider kissing a sexual act.
  • You can get pregnant, or catch an STD, the very first time you have sex or the very first time you have sex without protection.
  • Birth control and STD 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 STD 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.
Must Have Checklist
  • A willing partner who is legally able to consent to sex.
  • Effective and properly used birth control.
  • STD protection, a male or female condom.
  • Realistic expectations about what sex will, and will not, mean for you.
  • A safe place to engage in sex.
  • The emmotional maturity to understand that sex has consequences beyond the obvious things like pregnancy and STDs.
  • Respect and trust (ideally, based in love) between you and your partner.

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