● Understanding that sexuality is a natural part of life and involves more than sexual behaviour.
● Recognizing and respecting the sexual rights we all share.
● Having access to sexual health information, education, and care.
● Making an effort to prevent unintended pregnancies and STIs, and to seek care and treatment when needed.
● Being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired.
● Being able to communicate about sexual health with others including sexual partners and healthcare providers.
Source: Understanding Sexual Health (ashasexualhealth.org)
Being ready to have sex is a decision only you can make. It is not OK to be pressured, forced, lied to or threatened to have sex. The decision to have sex should make both you and your partner feel happy and comfortable.
If you are having doubts, take a step back and don’t have sex.
Take the time to learn about resisting the pressure to have sex. Make sure you feel ready and are well-informed before doing so. Deciding to not have sex is a normal and healthy choice.
If you feel ready to have sex, it is important that you are informed and make healthy sexual choices, and are aware that sex comes with physical and emotional risks.
Some physical risks include:
– becoming pregnant
– getting someone else pregnant
– getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
The more people you have sex with, the higher your chances are of having an unplanned pregnancy or getting an STI. And while many people think oral sex is safer and believe it’s not like ‘actually having sex’, STIs can be contracted from oral sex, as well as anal and vaginal sex.
Some emotional risks include:
– Experiencing feelings of sadness, hurt, rejection and/or feeling used. This can be common if you have sex with someone who does not know you or care about you.
To protect yourself and others:
– Understand and use contraception to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy and/or contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There are many forms of contraception available including condoms, oral dams, birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), etc. It is important to know and understand the contraception available to you, and whether it helps to prevent pregnancy, STIs or both.
– Practice dual protection by using two forms of contraception together. For example, using a condom and birth control pill at the same time.
– Use condoms for oral, anal and/or vaginal sex with all partners.
– Use oral dams to cover the vagina and anus during oral sex.
– Know how to get emergency contraception (i.e; morning after pill). Emergency contraception is normally available at pharmacies, hospitals and community clinics.
– Get tested for sexual transmitted infections regularly.
– Have clear, open communication with your partner(s).
Teachers, guidance counsellors, public health nurses, mental health professionals (counsellors and therapists), as well as adults who you trust can be helpful.
For information about accessing birth control, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and/or emergency contraception, see your doctor, nurse, or contact Planned Parenthood Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Health Centre at (709) 579-1009 or Toll Free 1-877-NO-MYTHS (1-877-666-9847).