Talking about sexual health can be uncomfortable for teens and parents.
At Women’s Healthcare of Morgantown, we want to make those conversations easy as sexual health is an important topic to discuss.
Read on to learn more about the various topics sexual health can encompass, different talking points you should have with your teen and how to have an open conversation.
SEXUAL HEALTH TOPICS
Sexual health encompasses a range of topics such as:
- Knowing that sexuality and sexual health is a natural part of life
- Recognizing and respecting the sexual rights we all share
- Making an effort to prevent STDs & STIs
- Preventing or preparing for an unintended pregnancy
- Seeking treatment when necessary
- Being able to communicate about sexual health with others and having access to health information
ONE: CONTRACEPTION OPTIONS
Contraception is a safe and simple way of preventing an unplanned pregnancy. Besides preventing unplanned pregnancies, it may help prevent acne, bone thinning and iron deficiency.
There are many types of contraception–hormonal, non-hormonal, barrier methods and surgical corrections.
- Hormonal injection methods (or pills) introduce progestin or estrogen to your body to make it act differently. For example, some forms stop you from releasing eggs completely.
- Non-hormonal methods such as copper IUD make the uterine cavity a non-viable place for sperm.
- Barrier methods such as condoms stop sperm from getting anywhere near the egg by stopping them as soon as they are released.
- Surgical corrections offer a permanent method of preventing pregnancy in an outpatient setting.
Different forms of birth control are:
- Birth control pills
- Birth control patch
- Vaginal ring
- Contraceptive implant
- Contraceptive injection
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
Read our in depth blog on these types of contraceptives to learn more about each type or feel free to download our complete guide to take with you.
TWO: HOW TO SAY NO
Saying no to sex should be as easy as simply saying no. Unfortunately, for many, it’s not. You may feel guilty, pressured or coerced when you say no. Pressuring someone to have sex is not okay, and your boundaries should be respected.
It may seem like everyone is doing it, but many people wait. You have the right to decide when you are ready for sex. Sex is about consent. If you do not want to have sex, let your partner know
Saying “no” can be hard when you are saying it to someone that you care about. Here are some tips on how to say no to sex:
- Be confident, and know what you want.
- Say “no.” You are not obligated to have sex.
- Explain to your partner what you want to do and what your boundaries are.
- Be direct and clear. Think through why you want to wait
THREE: GETTING TESTED
Testing is quick and painless. At your appointment, your doctor will ask you about your sexual history:
- Number of sexual partners you have had
- Any symptoms
- Type of sex you are having (oral, vaginal, anal)
- If you use protection
- If you or any of your partners have had an STI/STD before
This can be an awkward conversation to have, but being honest is important. Depending on your sexual history, the most common STI/STD tests are:
- Blood test: finger prick or blood drawn from your arm
- Urine test: peeing into a cup
- Physical exam: your doctor will look at your genital area to look for any abnormalities
- Swabbing: samples of cells or discharge are taken from the genital area
- Testing sores: fluid from blisters or sores
If you have an STI/STD
If you are tested positive, make sure to know what you have and how it can be treated. You will need to tell your partner that you have an STI/STD. Your healthcare provider can help you prepare for these conversations.
This time can be emotional; reach out to a trusted friend. Your physical and mental health are important to take care of.
TALKING TO YOUR TEEN
Knowing your teenager is sexually active can be hard as a parent. You want them to be safe. Teenagers can feel uncomfortable talking to their parents about their sexual health.
We encourage parents to talk to their teens at an early age to start the conversation. Not talking about sex can make teens feel guilty about sexual activity or that they can’t talk to their parents when an issue appears.
It is important for teens to know the importance of protection when having sex and how important consent is. Your teenager’s health is too important to not talk about these topics just because they may be awkward.
Here are tips on how to start the conversation:
- Be clear on your values: Before speaking to your teen about sexual health, think about what your values are.
- Talk about facts vs. beliefs: Factual information can sometimes challenge a personal belief. This is an opportunity to explain that there are different beliefs in the community, and that people are allowed to disagree with one another, but differing opinions should be respected.
- Practice what you preach: You do not want to tell your teen a value about sexual health then go act in a way that does not support that value. Acting on your values will send a powerful message to your children.
- Do not talk at them: Have a conversation with them; find out how they feel about sexual health and relationships.
- Encourage them: Everyone wants to be wanted. As parents, let them know that you are interested in what they think.
- Keep the conversation going: Your first talk with your child about sex should not be your last. It is important to start the conversation early so your children know that you are always willing to talk.
SEXUAL HEALTH | WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE OF MORGANTOWN
Talking about sexual health is an important conversation to have, and it does not have to be scary or awkward.
At Women’s Healthcare of Morgantown, we strive to create an environment that you feel comfortable talking openly in.
We provide quality care to our patients, if you are unsure on how to talk to your teen or think your teen may need an exam, we can help.