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Health Information For Teens
It’s much smarter to talk about condoms before having sex, but that doesn’t make it easy. Some people — even those who are already having sex — are embarrassed by the topic of condoms. But using condoms properly every time is the best protection against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) — even if you’re using another form of birth control like an IUD or the Pill.
It can help to know what a condom looks like, how it works, and what it’s like to handle one. Buy a box of condoms so you can familiarize yourself before your talk.
Then, to get comfortable with talking about condoms with a partner, practice some opening lines. If you think your partner will object, work out your response ahead of time. Here are some possibilities:
Your partner says: “It’s uncomfortable.” You might suggest a different brand or size. Wearing a condom also may take some getting used to.
Your partner says: “It puts me right out of the mood.” Say that having unsafe sex puts you right out of the mood. Permanently.
Your partner says: “If we really love each other, we should trust each other.” Say that it’s because you love each other that you want to be sure you’re both safe and protected.
Your partner says: “Are you nervous about catching something?” The natural response: “Sometimes people don’t even know when they have infections, so it’s better to be safe.”
Your partner says: “I won’t enjoy sex if we use a condom.” Say you can’t enjoy sex unless it’s safe.
Your partner says: “I don’t know how to put it on.” This one’s easy: “Here, let me show you.”
You’ll want to pick the right time to bring up the subject with your partner. The best time to do this is before you’re in a situation where you might need a condom. When people are caught up in the heat of the moment, they may find they’re more likely to be pressured into doing something they regret later.
Try bringing up the topic in a matter-of-fact way. You might mention that you’ve bought some condoms and checked them out. Offer to bring the unopened condoms along. Or suggest that your partner buy their favorite brand (and then bring some of yours with you, just to be safe). Offer to try different types of condoms to find which works best for both of you.
Make it clear that you won’t have sex without a condom. If someone threatens you or says they’d rather break up than wear a condom, it’s time for you to say goodbye. Tell them you won’t have sex with someone who doesn’t respect you or themselves enough to use protection.
Here are some tips for using condoms:
These aren’t the only tips on discussing and using condoms. If you want more advice, talk to older siblings, a trusted adult, or parents. Yes, parents. Not everyone feels comfortable talking about sex with their parents, but lots of teens do.
Health professionals are also great sources of advice on sex and sexuality. A doctor, nurse, or someone at a local health or family planning clinic can offer you confidential advice.
The best way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is not having sex. But if you do decide to have sex, use a condom every time to protect yourself.
Condoms may be a good birth control option for couples who are responsible enough to use one each time and people who want protection against STDs.
Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control.
You’ve probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.
Some birth control methods work better than others. This chart compares how well different birth control methods work.
Find out what the experts have to say.
You know you should talk about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before the action starts. But what if the thought of having “the talk” makes you nervous? These tips can help.
Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit — and why most girls don’t get internal exams.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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