The risks of having unprotected sex can be pretty scary—so is it all even worth it? Teens are pressured to have sex all the time by their peers and the media. I know it sometimes feels like everyone is doing it, but that’s not always true! Lots of teens and young adults just aren’t ready to have sex yet, so they wait. That’s totally okay! You should never feel pressured to have sex by anyone. If you are feeling pressured, it’s a good idea to talk with someone you trust (like a parent or a teacher) to help you figure out what to do next.
Abstinence can mean something different to every individual. Whether it is because of the values you’ve been taught, because you don’t want to get a disease, or for any other reason, abstinence is the best way to protect your body. Abstaining from sex (aka not engaging in any sort of sex: oral, anal, or vaginal) is actually 100% effective in preventing the spread of STDs and preventing unplanned pregnancy—and those odds seem pretty awesome to me! Even if you’ve had sex before, you don’t have to keep doing it. You can be abstinent whenever you want!
Now, not everyone that is in a romantic relationship has sex. In fact, there are a lot of ways that a couple can be intimate without having sex, whether that means holding hands, kissing, hugging, or cuddling. However you choose to spend time with your partner, if you DO decide that you’re ready to take the next step, it’s really important to be informed about all the risks that are associated with having sex and to protect yourself from those risks.
Whatever you do, make sure that you’re being safe and healthy. Remember if you are having sex, you should always wear a condom and back up your birth control. If you have any questions, feel free to talk to someone at your local teen clinic!