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Sexual Relations
~What Every Sexually Active Woman Should Know~
A Young Woman's Guide



When young women begin to explore sexuality, too many know very little about sex, how their bodies work, and have no idea when they would be fertile, knowledge about and access to contraceptives is often limited, all this information is essential to making responsible decisions about sex. One sexual encounter can forever alter our path in life, so choose your lovers with care, and above all - take care of and look out for yourself, if you don't some of life's lessons may be more harsh than they needed to be. So let's learn from each other, and learn together.



In this section, I'd like to share with you some things that I think every sexually active person should know about, the different types of contraception will be discussed, how to keep yourself safe, how to properly use a condom, what to do if your birth control method fails and some things for you to think about as you make choices dealing with your reproductive health and sexual relations.

There are so many topics Its hard to know where to begin. So lets start with some things that I think every sexually active woman should know about, or be thinking about before we have sex.


How sex can change your life.
No method of contraception is 100%
Plenty of reasons to wait until you are older to have sex.
Why do I need to use a condom?
Before you have sex with an older guy.
Are you ready to have sex?
The importance of pap smears.
Birth Control Options
Contraceptive options NOT recommended for teens
Sexually transmitted diseases.
Hidden dangers of sexually transmitted viruses
Emergency Contraceptives
Sperm lifespan - up to 7 days in fertile conditions. A few hours in non-fertile conditions.
Whipped Cream & Chocolate with Condoms?
More Frequently Asked Questions.




So the goal of any sexually active person who is not ready to conceive should be to avoid pregnancy and to protect against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and viruses. This page is written with these goals in mind. No method of contraception is 100% effective, it is important to realize this and discuss the possibility of an unintended pregnancy before engaging in sexual intercourse. It helps to discuss in advance how each of you feels about this situation, opinions about abortion, parenting, and future plans and goals. This way, if you find yourself in a pregnancy crisis, you don't get hit with any surprises when you discuss the situation with your partner, like one of you wants an abortion, while the other is extremely opposed to it.

Right about the time you are having the "what if I get pregnant? how would we handle it?" discussion, you should also have the sexual history discussion with your partner as well. Find out how many lovers he has had. Has he ever had any STDs? (sexually transmitted diseases) Has any of his previous lovers had any stds? Did they get regular (annual) pap smears? Did any of them ever have an abnormal pap smear? This is an important question because of a sexually transmitted virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), this virus is extremely common, and extremely hard to detect especially in men, believe me, you don't want this virus or any virus, I've put together a page on this virus because it is such a serious issue and I really feel like it is ignored somewhat by the medical establishment, you'll find more information and a link below. HPV is a wart virus, that doesn't always cause warts (I'll explain later) if any guy you are thinking about having sex with has had genital warts then he carries HPV, both men and women can carry the virus and never have any warts or show any symptoms. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself.... (and they don't offer 100% protection because the virus is transmitted by skin on skin contact, condoms don't cover all of the skin, the only other way to protect yourself if to not have sex.) Additional protection might be acquired by the HPV vaccine, which protects against the most dangerous hpv strains, but doesn't protect against all of them.

We all have to deal with birthcontrol if we want to have sex and avoid getting pregnant. Most women will use a variety of methods over the course of her life. Some methods are more effective than others, some can be combined with other methods to make them more effective. Something to consider: what is your risk tolerance for getting pregnant? If you absolutely do not want to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, then your birth control method and the consistency with which you use it should reflect that. That doesn't mean going right for the hormonal birth control methods, which are some of the most reliable methods (but also hardest on your body) but it does mean being creative, and it does mean using whatever birthcontrol method you choose every time his penis comes near you.

So what's the best kind of birth control? A better question is what kind of birth control will work best for you.... You need to think about how much responsibility you want to take on, and how much energy you want to put into it. There are some really great web sites that discuss the different birth control options out there. Will you be responsible enough to remember to use your chosen form of birth control EVERY time? Take your pill every day, etc? Disciplined enough to turn your boyfriend down if you don't have your birth control with you? {Even if it is in the heat of the moment?} You need to consider these things and more when choosing your method of birth control.

Lets lump the different birthcontrol options into groups. First you have the most effective group, which are hormonal methods. Pill, injections or implants take your pick, they all control the way you cycle, and specifically prevent ovulation from occurring. When used correctly, these methods are extremely effective. They do however have side effects. Many women grow tired of using them because they don't feel like themselves, and dislike putting hormones into their bodies. I used the pill during my teenage years, until I was 20, I was always grateful that I had strong protection against pregnancy, and was never faced with a pregnancy during those years of my life. I used the pill for 5 years, had no negative side effects but grew tired of putting hormones into my body, feeling like hormonal methods encouraged me to tune my body out, not to pay attention to it. After years of pill protection, coming off the pill and seeking out other methods of contraception was very scary.

Then you have barrier methods. Birth control options that physically block the sperm from having access to the vagina or uterus, many barrier methods include the use of spermacide. One of the most commonly used barrier method is the condom, other methods include cervical caps, diaphragms, female condoms.

Birth control methods NOT RECOMMENDED FOR TEENS include withdrawal, fertility awareness methods (discussed in detail on this website) and IUDs. I would like to say this about fertility awareness and teens, I think being aware of your cycle and learning to recognize the signs of fertility is a MUST for every woman in the fertile portion of her life (about 30 to 40 years). The earlier she learns these things the better. But I also think that it is not a good idea for teens to use fertility awareness methods as a method of contraception. Why? Because it takes many years to really get it right, and any mistake could very well mean pregnancy. Plus, it offers no protection from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). When I first started learning fertility awareness methods I was in my early 20's, while using/learning these methods as a method of contraception, I became pregnant for the first time. Fertility awareness methods take a lot of practice, dedication and experience to get it right. It took me 4 years and a more sensitive partner to finally get it down, now I have not had any pregnancies since the fall of 1995. I think fertility awareness is an excellent thing to learn during your teen years but don't even think about using it to base contraceptive decisions on until you hit 20 years old, and feel like you can deal with an unintended pregnancy, because it can definitely happen. Unplanned pregnancy is something you want to avoid at all costs, especially during your teen years.

Getting Birth Control. Some methods like barrier methods and spermacides are available over the counter at any grocery store, drugstore, Walmart, etc, usually located near the medicinal isles. Other methods you need to get a prescription for, or are administered by a doctor. You can go to any Planned Parenthood, women's health center or your doctor. If you are under the age of 18, You have the right to obtain confidential birth control without parental involvement, if your folks are involved with that doctor, you can insist he or she maintains your confidentiality. Planned Parenthood is also excellent at maintaining confidentiality. I encourage anyone under the age of 18 to discuss these matters with an adult you trust.


Sex with Older Men

Older men may have more sexual experience, and possibly have had more sexual encounters than you have, if they are not in the habit of using condoms, you greatly increase your risk of being exposed to a sexually transmitted virus or disease. Keep in mind, human papilloma virus (HPV) is very hard to detect in men, and if they have no symptoms they may not know they carry the virus.


Condom Usage Is so important. Male and Female condoms (female condoms especially) offer protection from sexually transmitted viruses and diseases, and should be used everything the penis comes near the vaginal area, and during penetration. Once ejaculation is complete the condom should be removed and disposed of, care should be taken that the contents of the condom don't come into contact with the vaginal area.

One reason it is so important to use condoms is to protect yourself from sexually transmitted viruses. HPV in particular, there is no test for guys to see if they carry the virus, and its extremely common, they say some 70% of the sexually active population carries the virus. Viruses pretty much stick with you for life, they're saying now that HPV can go away, but I'm always the skeptic. Protect yourself, no one else will, not they way you can do it. Men (or women) come and go, your body is yours for life.


Your lover with whipped cream & chocolate?? Not if your using condoms.

If you are using condoms, its not safe to use whipped cream or chocolate on your lover's genitals. Or any product that has oil in it, flavored sex oils are not safe either. It will weaken the latex of the condom putting it at risk for breakage. Even if you lick him or her really clean, its not enough to get rid of all of the oils.

Also, remember that sugars introduced into the vagina encourage the growth of yeast, upsetting the vaginal flora balance.





Links:
Planned Parenthood all sorts of good info on all aspects of sex, contraception, gynecology and abortion services. They even have links to help you find a PP clinic in your area.
Contraceptive Options & Information by Mary Jane Bovo
Birthcontrol.com
Wholistic Sexuality an article by Sheri Winston
Wholistic Sexually Website by Sheri Winston



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