Guys don’t always get a lot of info about sexual health. Birth control and relationships aren’t just “her deal”, and STI prevention is major for everyone. Besides, you might have some questions too!
When you and your partner know what it takes to prevent accidental pregnancies and STIs, the sex will be that much better. (Trust us.) Welcome to the Guy’s Guide. It’s Sexual Health 101, and we made it just for you.
Got questions? Don’t be afraid to ask. You can ask your doctor some pretty crazy questions (they’ve heard it all), or text the BrdsNBz text line.
Cool? Let’s get started!
Got Questions? Health Pros Are Here For You
If you have questions about acne, growth spurts, nutrition or any other health topics, ask your doctor! Doctors are more than willing to help; it’s what they do!
In North Carolina, you can visit a doctor to talk about sexual health (like STIs and pregnancy prevention), mental health, and substance abuse without a parent’s permission. No one has to know unless you want them to.
The Internet is a weird and wonderful place, but it can’t diagnose you with a disease or tell you if she’s pregnant. Online articles are okay to use as a guide or for background info before you visit a doctor. But if you think something is up, go see a health care provider.
If you think something is wrong with your body, speak up! You are your best supporter and your loudest voice when it comes to your health. Don’t forget, you have every right to be healthy, happy and safe.
You Have So Much Control!
Did you know? You have the right to talk privately with your doctor about so. many. things.
At any age:
In North Carolina you can do any of these without a parent’s permission:
- See a doctor for sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing or treatment, birth control, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, substance abuse treatment or outpatient mental health treatment.
- Girls can get birth control from a doctor. Her options include IUDs, implants, shots and other prescription-based birth control methods like the pill.
- Both girls and guys can purchase most types of emergency contraception—including Plan B One Step®, Next Choice ONE DOSE®, My Way®, morning-after pills, and other emergency contraception using levonorgestrel—at the store without a prescription.
- Get a prescription for ella® emergency contraception.
Before age 16: You cannot, by law, agree to have sex. This is called the “age of consent” and it protects kids and younger teens from abuse and manipulation.
Before age 18: You need a parent’s permission to get health care other than for the reasons listed above. Other types of health care include being sick or needing a sports physical.
If you’re 18 or older: You are a legal adult and you can do whatever you want (except drink alcohol or rent a car).
But wait, there’s more! Check out Your Rights to learn more about teens’ rights in North Carolina.
There are a whole lot of myths about guys and relationships. Guys, we know you’re more sophisticated than you often get credit for. Sure, you might think about sex all the time (girls do too, in case you were wondering). But when it comes to liking somebody and wanting to do stuff with them, there’s a little more to it.
You’ve probably had warm/likey/sexy feelings since puberty. Now that you’re a little older, you’re learning more about what you like and who you want to be, and you’re starting to think about what you want out of life. You still have crushes (you probably always will), but now that you’re older, your relationships might get a bit more real.
Relationships can be awesome – but they’re not always healthy. Both guys and girls can experience abusive relationships. Here are some good and bad things you might see in a relationship:
Signs of a healthy relationship:
- trusting your partner
- open, honest conversations and talks
Signs of abuse:
- physical violence
- emotional manipulation
- pressure to have sex
- messing with your condoms or birth control
- controlling where you go, what you wear or who you hang out with
Real Guys and Real Life Sex
So what are real guys up to when it comes to sex and relationships? Here are some real facts that might actually blow your mind:
- Half of all teen guys have not had sex. Most teen guys usually start having sex when they are older – like 17, 18 or 19 – so don’t feel too much pressure if you’re younger. So whether you have or haven’t, you’re like most teen guys.
- Most guys want a relationship. (Whaa?!) In fact, most teen guys say they’d rather have a relationship with no sex than sex without a relationship.
- Guys really want to be good at sex. That takes being able to talk to your partner about what’s safe and what makes both of you happy – and also being on the same page about consent. Start working on those communication skills!
- “Normal” can be a lot of things. Some guys like girls, some like guys (or both!) You’ll be into different things than other guys. Figure out you and roll with it. Don’t let anybody pressure you to be different!
When it comes to sex, you have a right to decide when you do it, where you do it, and how you do it. So does your partner. Giving and getting permission to have sexual contact with someone is called consent. It goes way beyond “no means no”. In the real world, the smartest rule to follow is anything other than yes means no.
So how do you get consent? Ask! Make talking and asking a part of sex. Not sure what to say? Here are some ideas:
- “Is it okay with you if…?”
- “What do you like?”
- “I’ve always wanted to try ___ what do you think?”
- “This feels good for me, does it feel good for you?”
- “Are you comfortable with this?”
- “How do you feel about this?”
- “Do you like this?”
It might feel awkward at first, but good sex actually requires good communication. Make asking questions like, “What do you like?” just as big a part of your sex routine as “I’ve been tested for STIs, how ‘bout you?” and “What kind of birth control do you use?”.
So here it is again, because it’s super important: Anything other than a “yes” is a “no”.
Worried About Something Down There?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are pretty common, and they’re spread by sexual contact (usually vaginal, anal or oral sex, but depending on the STI, they can be spread through touching or kissing).
It’s easy to think that STIs can’t happen to you, but the threat is real—teens and young adults account for 50% of all new STI cases in the U.S. They can also do real harm to your and your partner’s health, so take steps to protect yourselves.
If you’re worried that you might have an STI, go see a doctor. Some STIs have obvious symptoms, but many don’t show symptoms at all. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can get back to living your best life.
So how do you avoid STIs?
- Use latex condoms correctly every time you have sex, even if you use another birth control method.
- Get tested regularly and make sure your partner does too.
- Get treatment if you need it.
- Talk to your partner regularly about keeping sex safe.
Places like your local health department offer free or low-cost STI testing. Use your nifty finder tool to find a doc.
Prevent Babies and So Much More
Guys, birth control isn’t just “her deal.” As a guy, your best tool for pregnancy & STI prevention is a latex condom. Pro Tip: Some health centers give them out for FREE.
But don’t stop there. Make sure your partner has a plan for staying protected. The list of birth control options is massive!
All About Condoms
Latex condoms are easy to use! Just check the expiration date, open it up, take it out, pinch the tip & roll it on! Leave room in the tip once it’s on.
Two condoms are never better than one! In fact, using two condoms at once makes them both more likely to rip.
Allergic to latex? You can use a non-latex condom made of polyurethane or polyisoprene—just look for those words when you’re reading the label.
Yes, guys are definitely allowed to buy emergency contraception! Emergency contraception is a good backup if the condom breaks or if your regular birth control method fails. You can buy most kinds at the store without a prescription. Remember: The sooner she takes EC, the better. Find out more about the different kinds of emergency contraception and how to get them.