March 21-25 is LGBTQ Health Awareness Week. Whether you are gay, bisexual, lesbian, transitioning, or unsure, unprotected sex puts you at risk of STIs and/or pregnancy. The best way for anyone to protect against STIs or pregnancy is abstinence. No matter what choices you make, check out this helpful guide that includes information, tips, and resources for you or someone you know!
- If you are both assigned male at birth (AMAB) or both have a penis: Having oral or anal sex still puts you at risk of STIs (including HIV)! In fact, a nationwide study showed that 10% of young AMAB people who have sex with other AMAB people have HIV, and 69% of these positive cases were unaware that they had even contracted the virus (which is why it is so important to get tested!).
- If you are both assigned female at birth (AFAB) or both have a vulva: Whether you are engaging in vaginal, oral, and/or anal sex, you are at risk of STIs (including Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and HPV)! In addition to direct contact, these STIs may also spread via sex toys, especially if these are not cleaned properly.
- If you are on testosterone: You will possibly notice that your vaginal region is dryer. This makes you prone to tears and cuts, making it easier for STIs to transmit! Using a water based or condom safe lube can help reduce tearing. It is also important to remember that if you have sex with an AMAB person, you can still get pregnant.
- If you are on estrogen: You may experience difficulties when it comes to erecting your penis. As estrogen relaxes those muscles, you may experience penis atrophy (pain) during sex. It is also important to remember that if you have sex with an AFAB person, you can still get them pregnant.
Tips for Protecting Yourself
- If you are both AMAB: In order to prevent the spread of STIs/HIV, you should get tested regularly and use an external condom for each sexual act. If you are struggling to find access to condoms, find them for free via our Condom Access Program (CAP)!
- If you are both AFAB: Get tested regularly, and use some form of barrier protection between sexual acts. This can include dental dams (you can make one by cutting up a condom!) and internal condoms. If you are using sex toys, you should be cleaning them thoroughly and regularly, and you may need to use an external condom.
- If you are on testosterone: It is especially important to use lube because testosterone can cause vaginal dryness. Remember to get tested regularly, and use the appropriate method of barrier protection.
- If you are on estrogen: You should make sure to see a medical professional if you experience any sort of pain during sex due to hormone replacement treatment (HRT). Get tested regularly, and use an external condom with each sexual act!
- If one person is AMAB and one person is AFAB: If one person has a penis and one person has a uterus, it is possible to cause a pregnancy. Using a condom or birth control will prevent against pregnancy. Visit TeenSource to find a birth control method that might be right for you.
As teens begin to explore their sexuality and discover their own gender identity, they may have questions on inclusive safer sex. However, regardless of who you are, it is important to get tested and protect yourself. Find a clinic near you or order a home STI test to get tested! For more information, feel free to check out the resources below!