Scarleteen, sex ed for the real world

anonymous asks:

Hello, I just turned 16 this summer, and my girlfriend and I have been talking about having sex recently. We just decided that we're ready a couple days ago. But I was just wondering, is there anything I should do, outside of the sex itself? Things like medical exams?

Sarah replies:

As you and your partner consider sexual activity, it is great that you're seeking out information and resources to help prepare you. It also sounds like you have been talking about this together, which means that you've already crossed a big hurdle that a lot of people get stuck on.

So in order to be as safe (both physically and emotionally) as possible, you and your partner should continue the open communication that you've clearly begun. You ask what you can do to help prepare, but really there are important things that both partners need to do. Even if you are both "virgins" (however you define that term), it is still important to actively take care of your sexual health. So really, both of you should seek out sexual health care and go ahead and have a full STI screening. In addition, if you have not already discussed the method(s) of contraception and protection that you will be using, this would be the time to start having those discussions. You'll want to make sure that both of you know how to correctly use whatever method(s) you are going to use. Further, if you plan to use a hormonal method (either as a primary form of BC or as a backup to something like condoms), your partner will want to start that ahead of time since you generally have to wait a full cycle before relying on it to protect her. It would also probably be wise to take the time to talk about what you and your partner will do in the case of pregnancy or an STI. Talking about all of those things ahead of time can take some of the stress out later. In addition to the overall physical concerns, it would also be sage to talk about how sex may affect your relationship (both as a couple and individually). We've got several great articles on the site that go into greater detail about all of these things. It might even be a good idea to read them with your girlfriend so that you are both on the same page!

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I will be a junior in high school next year, and because I've been lucky to stumble on a lot of really great sex-positive resources, I've learned I have a pretty strong interest in sexuality--as in, studying it/doing something in it as a career. However, getting information about this field is much more difficult than, say, engineering or law. What are jobs within this field, what are areas in college/majors you'd advise, and what are some ways I can get involved now, as a minor? My areas of interest are not really in the medical field--I'm more interested in counseling, giving advice, activism, and education

Also, do you have any advice for telling people about my interest? Right now the only person who knows is my boyfriend, because it's really difficult for me to trust most other people to not equivocate wanting to study sexuality with being obsessed with having sex. Esp my parents, who are politically liberal in every way except in their parenting. They ask me what I want to do with my life really often, and it's kinda stressful to not be able to talk to them.

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Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.