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Know The Facts First!

Facts about Sex

Is everybody having sex?

Everybody's talking about it, but that doesn't mean everyone is doing it. Did you know that less than half of teens in high schools across the United States report they have had sex? So while there is a lot of talk about it, many teens are choosing not to have sex.

No one really talks about how they decided to have sex or what questions they considered before deciding. So let's talk about it! Your answers to a few questions may help you make the decision about whether or not to wait.

  • Is it my choice or am I being pressured?
  • Does having sex fit with my morals or religious values?
  • Am I comfortable talking about having sex and using protection with my partner?
  • Am I prepared to handle the consequences of getting pregnant or an STD?
  • How will I feel if others find out? Will my parents or friends be disappointed?
  • How committed am I to this relationship?
  • Is this the right person and time?

It's good to take the time to think about these questions. Once you make a decision, the questions may continue.

What is sex, exactly?

A lot of times people use the word "sex" when they mean vaginal intercourse, but there's actually a huge range of things that are considered sexual activities. You can get an STD from any kind of sexual contact. It's important to understand the risks so you know how to protect yourself. Here are clear definitions for three types of sexual activities:

VAGINAL SEX

When most people say "sex," they are probably talking about vaginal sex. This is what happens when a penis enters a vagina. This type of sex can result in pregnancy. If you are going to have vaginal sex, female or male condoms are the best forms of protection against STDs. The surest way to avoid STDs is not to have sex or to have sex only with one partner who has been tested, is not infected, and who is having sex only with you. You also can lower your risk of getting an STD by using condoms all the time (from start to finish) and in the right way. The best way to prevent pregnancy is to use hormonal birth control. It is important to use dual protection — a condom in addition to a hormonal form of birth control — to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Learn more about what causes pregnancy.

ORAL SEX

Oral sex is any kind of sex that involves contact between the mouth and genitals. Both people participating in oral sex can spread or become infected with an STD. You can decrease the chances of being infected with an STD if a female or male condom is used during oral sex.

ANAL SEX

Anal sex is when a male's penis enters the anus of his partner, female or male. Anal sex will not result in pregnancy, but may have an even higher risk of transmitting disease when there is no condom used. This is because of the high potential for bruising, scarring, and tearing of fragile tissues in the anal area. If you are going to have anal sex, be sure to use a condom to protect yourself and your partner.

Am I ready?

Everyone has questions and thoughts about sex. The fact is, it's better for your health to wait. There are few people who regret waiting to have sex, but many are sorry they started too early. If you don't think you're ready, you're not alone. Here are some of the questions that might be running through your head as you think about having sex:

  • Am I making the right choice?
  • Will he/she be mad at me if I say no?
  • Will he/she break up with me if I don't do it?
  • Will I feel different after?
  • Will he/she tell his/her friends that we did it?
  • Does he/she have protection?
  • Can I bring the condom?

There is a lot of confusing information out there! As these kinds of questions come up, a good place to begin is by educating yourself on the best ways to prevent STDs.

Know The Facts First! Think about how you're going to handle a situation before you're actually in that situation. You might consider talking with a parent or another trusted adult (like your doctor, teacher, older sibling, or relative). They might be able to help you get the information you need, give you valuable advice, or support you in making a decision. When you know all the facts first, you're more likely to make the decision that's right for you.