We want to talk about birth control, but we don’t know how. How can we discuss it and not feel awkward?
It may feel awkward at first, but talking to your partner about birth control can make your sex life safer and more fun. Look at your birth control options and talk about which ones might work best for you as a couple. Just knowing you’re both protected can make sex between you more relaxed and enjoyable.
As a bonus, learning to communicate more openly about sex with your partner can help you strengthen your relationship in other ways.
My partner might be pregnant. What do we do now?
Unplanned pregnancy can be scary. The first step is to have your partner take a pregnancy test. You can get them at a grocery store or drug store. If it’s positive, talk to your partner about how you can be supportive. If it’s negative, talk about your birth control options. Using a really effective birth control method can help you avoid future scares.
No matter how the pregnancy test turns out, safer sex is a team effort. If it’s negative, this is a great time to look at your birth control options. You can go to a health center separately or together, and it’s a great chance for you both to get tested for STIs as well. If her pregnancy test is positive, she might experience a mix of emotions, but it can be helpful to let her know that you’re willing to support her in whatever way you can.
You can also work together to tell your parents. That’ll be a tough conversation—and they’ll probably have a lot to work through, too. But pregnancy isn’t something anyone, even adults, wants to go through alone, and parents can ultimately be a big help.
I think I may be gay, so I’ve been experimenting with other guys. But since neither of us can get pregnant, we’re not using condoms.
You won’t get pregnant, but you could still get an STI or HIV if you’re not careful. For example, herpes is transmitted primarily through skin-to-skin contact, and it stays with you for the rest of your life. And you might not even know you have it for a long time.
The best way to be totally safe is to always wear a condom every time you have sex. Go to a health center and get tested. That will ensure you’re not passing on or receiving any unwelcome visitors. Also, if you ever have female partners, use a condom and make sure she’s on birth control.
You can get STI testing at a clinic near you.
I hooked up with a girl I don’t know. Did I get something from her?
If you’ve had unprotected sex with someone and don’t know their sexual history, it’s a good idea to go to get tested at a health care clinic. Getting tested is important because people can have an STI without even knowing it!
Getting tested will put your mind at ease about your own sexual health. A health clinic can also get you the right treatment if you need it.
Do I need to go with her to the health clinic? I’m not the one that needs birth control.
Safe sex is a team effort. You don’t need birth control, but you and your partner do need to get tested for STIs. Getting tested and getting your partner an effective birth control method ensures you will have safe and protected sex. Nothing makes sex more enjoyable than knowing you are being safe and preventing a possible pregnancy—who wants sex to be full of worry about “what ifs”? So long story short, you don’t have to go…but you definitely should.
What is the right age to start having sex?
The decision to have sex is a personal one and can depend on how ready you feel to accept everything that comes along with it. That everything is a lot: risks of pregnancy and/or STIs and the emotional work you need to do to protect yourself and understand the ways your relationship might change.
It’s normal to wonder whether or not you should have sex. The questions below can help you navigate your feelings.
- Is this what you want to do?
- Is your partner pressuring you? Do you feel like you can safely make the decision for yourself?
- Can you communicate clearly with your partner about what you want, what you consent to and how you’ll both protect yourselves from pregnancy and STIs?
- Have you talked to a health care provider about getting effective birth control?
- Do you have condoms?
The right time to become sexually active is different for everyone, and it might even take time to decide what’s right for you. No matter when that time comes, it is important to be prepared and safe.
Whatever you decide—if it’s to have sex or to keep waiting—it’s still totally normal. Just remember to do what’s right for you and be safe.
Things got a little too hot too fast and we didn’t use birth control. Should I be worried?
It’s okay to be worried when things go too fast; sometimes we just get lost in the moment. To be on the safe side, you should take emergency contraception to reduce your chance of pregnancy. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is. You may also want to consider STI testing if you don’t know your partner’s status.
Now, a word about NEXT time: Although the morning after pill can be effective, there are better forms of regular birth control. If you plan to keep having sex, learn more about the birth control options you can use after you’ve worked out this emergency.
The other night I was dancing with a guy at Club Pure and he wanted me to go home with him.
Getting into bed with someone you don’t know can be unsafe. What if he has an STI or you’re not on the same page about condoms and birth control?
So you went home with him, what can you do now? First things first, if you didn’t use any protection at all, meaning no condom and you’re not on birth control, check out emergency contraception immediately. It can prevent pregnancy if you use it within five days. Then talk to your medical provider about STIs and get a plan to get tested.
Now let’s get to the longer-term solutions: Choose a birth control method that fits your life. Always carry condoms. Know your STI status and practice asking about your partners about theirs.
The condom broke! I don’t want to get pregnant. What should I do?
Don’t panic! Emergency contraception can help! Even though some people call it the “morning after pill,” you can use it for up to five days after you’ve had sex.
So how does it work? Emergency contraception keeps you from ovulating, which means an egg and a sperm can’t meet to make a baby. It’s not an abortion pill.
If you’re 17 or older, you can buy emergency contraception over the counter at a drug store. If you’re under 17, visit a health center closest to you for a prescription.
Remember, although the morning after pill is very effective, it should not be used as a regular form of birth control. After you’ve worked out this emergency, learn more about good, routine, birth control options.
Learn how emergency contraception works and where to get it.
If a guy cums near my vajayjay but not inside me, can I still get pregnant?
Crazier things have happened! Although it is unlikely, it’s still possible.
If any of your guy’s cum—aka, his ejaculate—gets in your vagina, it’s possible to get pregnant. Therefore, any contact that could allow semen to get into your vagina carries some risk of pregnancy.
The best way to reduce this risk is by using birth control. If used correctly, you won’t have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy.
I’m on birth control. Does my partner still need to wear a condom?
It’s great that you’re taking steps to have safer sex. But it’s not just your responsibility; it’s his, too. Birth control prevents pregnancy but not the transmission of STIs. Has he been tested for STIs? If not, ask him to be! And even if your birth control is used properly, there is a chance it can fail. Condoms can provide a back-up way to make sure you don’t get pregnant and to prevent the transmission of STIs.
To get tested, make an appointment at a health center.
Learn about all the birth control methods through the Playbook.
I’m nursing and worried that birth control is bad for my breast milk.
A health care provider can help you pick a birth control method that’s safe to use while breastfeeding. Some options, like the IUD, are safe and provide super low-maintenance protection for up to 12 years—and low maintenance is important when you’re busy being a mom!
Find a health center where you can talk about your options.