Let’s Talk About S-E-X
Talking about sex can be awkward, but it’s super important! In fact, it’s so important researchers and doctors came up with a name for it, “sexual communication.” It means talking about what you know about sex, your experiences (if any) with sex, and your views on sex.
Did you know that teens who talk with their partner(s) about sex are more likely to use condoms and the most effective birth control methods too? This means they are less likely to get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or have an unplanned pregnancy and are more likely to enjoy sex.
You might be wondering when to have a conversation with your partner about sex. Experts agree that you should talk about sex before, during and after any sort of sexual activity. I know what you’re thinking, “AWKWARD” but trust me; it gets easier each time you have a conversation about sex, which should be often, especially, if you’re having it.
Here are some topics to get the conversation going:
- CONSENT. You should talk with your partner(s) about whether you want to have sex and what kind of sex you want to have or not have. Remember, you can always change your mind, and so can they.
- BARRIER METHODS. Barrier methods provide a layer of protection during any kind of sex. The most common is the male condom, but there are other methods too. Some examples are female condoms and dental dams. A lot of people think barriers should be used only during sex with a vagina and a penis. The truth is barriers should be used with any kind of sex, so any contact between mouth, vagina, penis, and/or anus. Barrier methods are the only way to prevent an STI other than not having sex. Talk to your partner(s) about whether you want to use a barrier method and why.
- BIRTH CONTROL. If you are having sex where a penis and vagina are touching, then you can get pregnant. Birth control is something you and/or your partner can use to prevent a pregnancy. The most effective methods are made for people with a vagina. If you plan to have any type of sex with a vagina and a penis, make sure to talk with your partner(s) about birth control.
- STIs. STIs are sexually transmitted infections, which means they are infections you can get with any type of sexual contact (i.e. contact between mouth, penis, vagina, and/or anus). Most people with an STI do not have any symptoms, and don’t even know they have one. Make sure to ask your partner(s) if they have been tested. Let your partner(s) know if you’ve been tested too. Remember to talk about the results of the STI test(s) and treatment (if needed) as well.
- PLEASURE. Sex should be enjoyable. Talk to your partner(s) about what each of you like and don’t like (which is equally important). This can include the type of sex, preferred positions, and sex toys.
By talking, you’ll make sure that sex is both enjoyable and safe for you and your partner(s). Sexual communication means having an honest and respectful conversation about as little or as much as you feel comfortable discussing. In the end, the most important thing is to talk.
To learn more about the topics above, check out the links below!
- For more information: http://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/05/23/making-healthy-sexual-decisions/ or http://youngmenshealthsite.org/guides/health-sexual-decisions/.
- For more information http://youngwomenshealth.org/2014/02/27/contraception/.
- For more information visit http://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/01/16/sti-information/ or http://youngmenshealthsite.org/guides/sexually-transmitted-infections/.
- For more information about condoms: http://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/08/22/talking-about-condoms/ or http://youngmenshealthsite.org/guides/condom/. For more information about female condoms: https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/female-condom-use.html. For more information about dental dams: https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/dental-dam-use.html.