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Let’s Talk About Sexual Health: Staying Healthy as a Sexually Active Teenager

It’s naïve to think that teenagers don’t have sex, yet adults and teens alike tend to look the other way out of sheer embarrassment. This kind of ignorance whether it comes from parents, health care providers or teens themselves, can have severe consequences. From one teenager to another I’m going to tell you how you can stay safe as a sexually active teen.

Don’t be Afraid to Say No

” You can’t just tease me and then leave me hanging like this.
” We’ve already gone this far, can’t we just ______”

If you are someone who has been pressured into a sexual relationship before, these statements might sound familiar. The first thing you need to know about being sexually active, is that under no circumstance do you ever “owe” someone sex. It does not matter if they are your romantic partner, it does not matter if you consented to any level of foreplay before the intercourse. It doesn’t matter how far you have gone with someone, you have the right at any time during foreplay/intercourse to say, ” I don’t want to do this anymore, can we stop.”

Know Your Anatomy

It’s important to know about your sexual health so that you can stay healthy,even just having a basic understanding about your anatomy can educate you about how to take care of it.

Image Via The Sun

The Vagina:

  • The labia or the “lips” are not one size fits all. Everyone’s labia’s look different, some can be big and some can be small.
  • Urine comes from the Urethra, not the Vagina.
  • The vagina is a self cleaning machine, it cleans itself through discharge. Perfumes, douches, scented soaps (vagisil) will upset your natural PH balance and can cause infections. If you notice a change in your vaginal discharge such as consistency or smell and if you experience itching in your genitals that may indicate that you have an infection and that it might be time to visit your doctor.

 

 

Image via Everyday Health

The Female Reproductive System

  • Once a month, the ovaries release one egg, this is called Ovulation. This is when you will be most fertile.
  • If the egg does not get fertilized, it will be shed as the lining breaks down and you start your period.

The Male Reproductive System

  • In the reproductive system millions of sperm are made everyday.
  • In an ejaculation there can be as many as a million sperm.
  • The average penis size is around 5 inches.
  • There is a lot of cultural pressure surrounding penis size, but evidence suggests that size doesn’t matter.

Know Your Contraceptives

Using contraceptives are the only way to prevent unwanted pregnancies, there are many methods of contraceptives, both hormonal and non hormonal. If you use condoms perfectly every time, they are 98% effective.

The sad truth is, condoms can break, slip off or be ineffective. Always make sure you check the expiry date on condoms, as well, making sure they are the right size so they don’t slip off.

Condoms can be used for oral, vaginal and anal sex. As well, you can find condoms made without latex if a partner suffers from an allergy.

There are many methods of birth control that can be taken, before you decide on one it’s important to know the side effects, efficiency and the commitment. However, it is important to know that birth control methods do not protect you from STIs, only condoms can do that.

Know Your STI’s

If you are a sexually active teenager, it is your responsibility to take your health into your own hands. The most important thing you can learn at this stage is that often people will lie or stretch the truth about their own sexual health.

If you are starting a relationship with someone and you believe it will get sexual, the most important thing you can do is open up the conversation about STI’s and get yourselves both tested. It doesn’t matter if your partner says, ” Well, I’ve only slept with two people, “ Or, ” Are you saying you think I’m dirty?” STI’s don’t discriminate and you definitely cannot judge someone based on whether or not they look like they have one.

If you aren’t sure if someone is clean, it is especially important to use condoms. STI’s aren’t only transferred through vaginal sex; oral and anal are transmitters as well.

Most STI’s don’t have any major symptoms, that’s why they can go undetected for long periods of time. Here’s an article that explains the STI’s in more detail, as well as the most common types.

Exploring your sexuality as a teenager is healthy as long as the sex you are having is safe and consensual.  Always make sure you are aware and informed about your sexual health because your physical and mental health is not worth putting at risk.

Photo by Charles on Unsplash

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Nadia Zywina
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