- What do you do if you feel pressured to have sex?
- Is oral sex really sex? Can you get a disease from oral sex?
- How effective are condoms?
- How can you contract an STD?
- How dangerous are STDs?
- How often do teens get STDs?
- So are you saying that there is no safe sex, because of the many diseases you can get?
- Why should I wait for sex?
What do you do if you feel pressured to have sex?
It is hard to resist peer pressure but there are certain things that are worth resisting for the benefit of your future. Make sure you choose friends that share your values and won’t pressure you or make you feel stupid about the decisions you make. Saving sex is one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself. Someone pressuring you to have sex is being selfish and is seeking to gratify their own desires, without your best interest at heart. Here are some practical ways to resist pressure-filled situations:
- Build strong friendships. Surround yourself with people who build you up, not bring you down. People that will keep you accountable for the positive, yet challenging decisions you have made.
- Don’t invite your girlfriend or boyfriend over when your parents aren’t home, or when it is late at night.
- Try to go out in groups and plan what you will do on your dates.
- Have boundaries set in place before the date. Decide how far you plan to go emotionally and physically.
Is oral sex really sex? Can you get a disease from oral sex?
Oral sex, stimulating the sex organs with the mouth and tongue to obtain sexual pleasure, IS sex. Although you cannot get pregnant from having oral sex, you can contract Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, Chlamydia, HPV, and even HIV. Oral sex is an intimate act that bonds a couple both emotionally and physically.
How effective are condoms?
When it comes to STDs the effectiveness of condoms varies for each disease. When used consistently and correctly, a latex condom*:
- Condoms reduce HIV transmission by approximately 85%*
- Condoms reduce (but do not eliminate) the risk of STDs such as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Trichomoniasis.
- Condoms may provide some protection against genital ulcer diseases such as genital herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (HPV). These STDs are mostly transmitted by contact with infected skin, which may or may not show any symptoms. Since a condom only covers the shaft of the penis, and not the surrounding genital area, the rate of protection is limited.
- To achieve the maximum effect, condoms must be used both consistently and correctly. Inconsistent use can lead to a sexually transmitted infection (STI), because infection can occur with a single act of sexual contact with an infected partner. The most reliable ways to avoid STDs, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship, such as marriage, with an uninfected partner. Many infected people may not know they are infected, because they do not show symptoms.
*As reported by Centers for Disease Control at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/law/transmission.htm. Accessed December 12, 2012.
How can you contract an STD?
Doing any of the following with an infected partner puts you at risk for an STD:
- Sexual intercourse
- Oral sex
- Genital skin-to-skin contact
- Anal sex
- Heavy kissing if blood is exchanged, or through contact with an open sore.
- Sharing needles
- Blood transfusion (very remote chance in the US since blood is screened)
How dangerous are STDs?
STDs range from annoying (crabs, pubic lice) to potentially deadly (HIV/AIDS). There are two types of STDs-viral and bacterial. Bacterial infections can be cured if they are treated in time. If the disease is not caught at an early stage it can cause long-term damage in a person’s body. Viral infections are not curable and remain with you for life, such as genital herpes and HIV/AIDS.
If someone is engaging in any form of sexual activity (oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse, or genital skin-to-skin contact) they are at risk for contracting an STD. Many STDs do not show symptoms right away but are still contagious, which means it is extremely important to get tested regularly if you are sexually active, and to require the same from each new partner before engaging in sexual activity with them.
How often do teens get STDs?
The Center for Disease Control estimates that there are 19 million new cases of STDS in the United States every year. Nearly half of these cases occur among 15-24 year olds, even though they only represent 25% of the sexually experienced population. It is estimated that 1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD.
So are you saying that there is no safe sex, because of the many diseases you can get?
The safest sex that a person can have is in a committed, monogamous relationship such as marriage with an emotionally and physically healthy partner. Sex in this context can be enjoyed in physical, emotional and mental safety.. A person who chooses to be sexually active outside such a relationship can reduce their risk of contracting an STD by using a condom (See “How Effective are Condoms?”). Not having sexual intercourse is the only certain way to prevent STDs and also has other personal & social benefits.
Why should I wait for sex?
Okay, everyone should be excited about having sex…someday. But the truth is that sex outside a committed relationship like marriage is likely to bring forth physical, mental, and/or emotional consequences. Every person has physical, mental and emotional components that make up who they are. Because of this, sex isn’t what you do, it’s who you are. Let’s take a look at each of these components in more detail.
Imagine making out with someone you aren’t even comfortable sharing your straw with. Picture messing around with someone you may not remember in a few months. How we use our body communicates a message to others. We are physical beings, created to give and receive love, to be intimate and show affection through touch. How far is too far? It’s easy for relationships to get too physical too fast and before you know it, you’ve given a big part of yourself away to someone you barely know.
Making the decision to postpone sex can protect your body from being misused. "Back in the day" people would go out on dates and get to know each other long before even kissing. Today, it seems that the opposite is true; getting to know someone equals having sex. Don’t give your kisses away for free. Value your sexual health and treat your body with care, so you can lead a life free from sexual diseases & unplanned pregnancy.
Today’s STDs are affecting teens in epidemic proportions not just physically, but psychologically as well. An epidemic is a disease that appears at a rate that substantially exceeds what is "expected". Teens make up a large percentage of this STD epidemic because their bodies and minds are not ready for sex at such a young age. Mentally alone, the anxiety of awaiting an STD or pregnancy test result can be more than a teen is capable of handling. These days most teen’s schedules are packed with homework, sports, practices, friends, and other activities. To add a sexual relationship to the mix, may only increase stress.
Many teens we have spoken to have expressed their inability to cope after having a sexual relationship. Jackie, a fifteen year old girl says, "If you break up with a guy you didn’t have sex with, so what? You can walk away free. But if you break up with a guy you did have sex with, it stays on your mind. You worry over it in a haunting way." Unfortunately there are other teens like Jackie who suffer emotional consequences as a result of having sex too soon. Other possible effects may include depression, self doubt, low self-esteem, guilt, suicidal thoughts or regret.
Do you think having sex will bring you closer to your boyfriend or girlfriend? Have you ever felt so torn up after a break-up with someone you were intimate with? Both guys and girls alike are giving in to sex before they are ready and often end up emotionally broken as a result. There is a scientifically proven reason why this "emotional tearing" takes place between two people. There is a chemical called oxytocin produced in the brain by the pituitary gland. Oxytocin naturally causes bonding. During sexual arousal and intercourse, this "human superglue" is released in both men and women, often creating an unbreakable intimacy. If two people do breakup after having sex, it is like pulling apart two papers that have been glued together. Pieces of one person will forever remain with the other. Individuals who become bonded to multiple persons can decrease the power of oxytocin and its bonding capability. Any sexual activity outside of a committed relationship such as marriage can alter "sexual bonding" in the future by prematurely releasing this chemical "superglue."
- Centers for Disease Control, available at: http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm. Accessed December 12, 2012.
- Questions Kids Ask about sex: Honest answers for every age. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Fleming H. Revell, 2005.
- MedlinePlus of the U.S National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004001.htm. Accessed December 12, 2012.
- New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children, by Drs. Joe S McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush, Northfield Publishing: IL, 2008.
- Centers for Disease Control, available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/law/transmission.htm. Accessed December 12, 2012.
- Centers for Disease Control, available at: http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/sexualbehaviors/. Accessed December 12, 2012.
- Mayo Clinic, available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sex-education/CC00032
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy, available at: http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/parents/ten_tips.aspx