It’s easy to be confused about sex. There are so many mixed messages and myths surrounding sex, it can be hard to know what’s true and what’s not. Before you decide to have sex, it’s important that you know the facts.
Here are some important facts about contraception, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and having sex.
Is having too much sex bad for you?
Nope! But remember: it’s not a competition to see how many times you can have sex. Sex is about being intimate with someone you care about. If this isn’t your plan, then you might need to think about what sex means for you.
Is it possible that his penis won’t fit inside me?
The vagina is a muscle that can expand and contract. Under tension, it tightens and might need to be relaxed. The vagina can fit comfortably around the penis whatever its size. Just take your time, try to relax and use extra lubricant if you think it might help.
When I go to the bathroom after sex, my vagina stings. Is there something wrong with me?
Probably not. Sometimes the thrusting motion during sex can rub the outer lips of the vaginal area, making it sensitive when you are urinating. In some cases, burning when you go to the bathroom can indicate a bladder infection or urinary tract infection, so it’s important to have a check-up with a doctor if you’re concerned.
Does sex hurt?
Sometimes sex does feel uncomfortable. It could mean you don’t have enough lubrication or you need to try a different position. It could also mean your partner is going too fast, using too much pressure, or that you’re nervous. It could be a combination of all of these. If you’re hurting, stop and talk to your partner. Try some more lubrication, a different position or ask your partner to go slower. If that doesn’t help, then stop. Sex shouldn’t be painful. It’s important to talk to your partner about these issues and work out ways to make sex more comfortable. If you find that sex still hurts , you might want to go to your doctor to see if he/she can see if there is a medical reason for your pain.
Will a condom protect me from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
A condom will protect you from some STDs, but not all of them. There are some STDs that can be transmitted by skin–to-skin contact, like genital warts, HPV and genital herpes and a condom will not provide 100% protection against these. Check out the Intro to STDs fact sheet for more information.
I’ve heard that condoms don’t work, or fail too often to be worth using. Is this true?
While not having sex is the only foolproof way to avoid pregnancy, condoms are a safe bet and using a condom is much, much better than using nothing at all. It’s also important that a condom be placed on the penis properly to decrease the chance of breaking.
Can a condom get lost inside you?
If a condom comes off during sex, it won’t get lost inside, but sometimes it can be difficult to get out. It’s also important to make sure that after a guy has ejaculated, someone holds the base of the condom as he withdraws his penis; otherwise there is a chance the condom might fall off and spill semen into the vagina.
If a condom breaks during sex, can you avoid being pregnant by washing your vagina?
No. After sex, sperm have already entered the uterus (they’re fast swimmers), and washing the vagina won’t help. If you’ve had unprotected sex, a better solution might be to find out about emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is not hard to get, but you will need to contact a doctor, hospital, health clinic or sexual health center like Planned Parenthood, especially if you are under 18. While talking to one of these providers, you should also talk to them about taking a test for any STDs just in case you might have caught one.
If I’m on a birth control pill and I take a pregnancy test, will the results work properly?
A pregnancy test measures a hormone that is produced when conception occurs. This is a different hormone than the ones in the pill, so the pill won’t affect a pregnancy test.
If I’m on the pill and a guy ejaculates inside me, does that mean I won’t get pregnant?
The pill, if taken correctly, will prevent pregnancy but it won’t protect you from STDs. Also, be aware that if you’ve been vomiting, taking certain medications, or you’ve skipped taking the pill for a day, there is a chance the pill won’t protect you from getting pregnant.
Is there such a thing as a woman’s condom?
Find out more about different methods of contraception and sign up for free reminders at Bedsider.org.
If you have sex during your period, does that mean that you can’t get pregnant?
No. If you have a short period cycle, you’ll start ovulating by the end of your period. Combine that with the fact that sperm can survive for up to five or six days after sex, and you’ve got a recipe for pregnancy.
If I had unprotected sex but got my period since, does that mean I can’t be pregnant?
There have been cases where women continue to have their periods during their whole pregnancy. The only way to find out for sure is to have a urine or blood pregnancy test. You can buy a pregnancy test kit at a local drug store but it is always a good idea to have a doctor or nurse give you a test if you think you might be pregnant.
Is it true that a woman can get pregnant from swallowing sperm?
No. Sperm are mighty little swimmers, but if you swallow a guy’s semen, it can only go as far as the stomach where stomach acid will kill them. Even if the sperm did survive, there’s no way they can travel to the fallopian tubes or uterus from the stomach.
Is it true that a woman can only get pregnant during sexual intercourse?
No. It’s possible to get pregnant if a man ejaculates on or near the opening to the vagina because the sperm can enter the vagina and swim up the fallopian tubes where they can fertilize an egg.
Do I have to wait until I skip a period to tell if I’m pregnant?
You can tell if you’re pregnant as soon as 10 days after you’ve had sex by taking either a urine or blood pregnancy test.
If a guy withdraws before ejaculating, does that mean I won’t get pregnant?
Even if a guy doesn’t ejaculate inside you, there is a possibility that semen might dribble from the end of his penis into your vagina during sex and result in pregnancy. It is also possible for semen on the outside of the vagina to work its way inside a woman’s vagina as long as the sperm is fluid.
Can you get an abortion without telling your parents?
It depends on the laws of the state in which you live, or where you’re planning to get an abortion. Before you make any decisions regarding abortion, make sure you check out your local laws, or speak to a counselor or doctor.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
How can you tell if a person has an STD?
A lot of STDs are asymptomatic, which means they don’t show any signs. You probably won’t be able to tell if a person has an STD just by looking at him or her. Sometimes people might not even know they are carrying an STD. The only way to be 100% sure is to have an STD screening and to keep the lines of communication open with your sexual partner. Before having sex, ask that person if he or she has been tested. Never assume anything.
Can love protect me from getting an STD?
No matter how much people love each other, there’s no guarantee against contracting an STD or getting pregnant. Don’t fall into the “it’ll never happen to me” type of thinking, either. Using condoms and being knowledgeable about STDs are your best protection.
If I’m on the pill, does that mean I won’t get an STD?
No. The pill will only protect you from pregnancy, not STDs.
If I get an STD, does that mean I’m dirty?
No. Getting an STD is just like getting a cold. You’ll go to the doctor, find out what treatments are available and maybe most important of all, give yourself piece of mind. Remember that sex is a natural part of human expression, and sometimes these things happen.
If you’re thinking about having sex for the first time, you might also want to check out the Thinking about having sex fact sheet for more information.
The following sources provided information for this fact sheet: