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For Girls: Deciding About Sex

Making the decision to have sex is a complex choice. You may be feeling pressure about it. But before you make a decision, make sure you think about what’s at risk.

Your health risks

Sex can be risky for your health. When you have sex with someone, you’re in contact with possible germs from their past sexual partners. This may include a sexually transmitted infection (STI), including HIV. In many cases, you can’t tell if someone has an STI unless they tell you. And they may not know they have one. Latex condoms and dental dams can only lower these risks, not fully prevent them.

Your pregnancy risk

No birth control gives 100% protection against pregnancy, even when used correctly. If get pregnant and have a baby, it’s a big commitment. It will change your life. Raising a child can cost hundreds of dollars a month. In order to pay this support, you’ll likely need to work instead of or in addition to going to college.

Your emotional risk

Having sex with someone is a big step, and can make you feel closer to them. But it can also hurt more if you have problems or break up. Think about whether you’re ready to cope with all the emotions that come with sex.

Thoughts versus reality

Does this sound familiar?

  • “He loves me. If I get pregnant, we’ll have the baby and get married someday.’’

  • “Having sex will make us closer. He’ll love me more and we’ll talk more.’’

  • “I’ll be more popular and respected if I give in and have sex.’’

But this is closer to reality:

  • “We had the baby, but we fought so much we broke up. Now I never see him.’’

  • “Since we started having sex, we don’t talk or hang out the way we used to.’’

  • “I wish I’d waited. It doesn’t seem that important now.’’

Talking it out

Before you make a decision, talk with a trusted adult or healthcare provider about your thoughts. He or she can help you figure out the best choice for you, and help you learn how to stay safe with condoms and other protection if you do have sex.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Laurie, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth, RN, MEd
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 10/1/2016
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