Teens: Deciding About Sex

As a teenager, you are confronted with significant challenges as you make your way through adolescence, and deciding whether to have sex is one of the most important decisions you will make. There is a lot you should know before you decide to have sex, so here are some facts to think about before you act.

Despite what the media leads you to believe, not everyone is having sex. At least half of all teens decide not to have sex. Saying "no" to having sex is the only 100% sure way to protect against the risk of pregnancy.

Although your sexual feelings can be pretty strong, you don't have to have sex to prove that you love someone. It's important to set aside those feelings and think about how having sex can affect your future. So, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I prepared to accept the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy?
  • If I have a child, will I be able to provide for its emotional and financial support?
  • Is anyone pressuring me to have sex even though I'm not ready?
  • Am I afraid to tell my partner that I am not ready to have sex?
  • If I decide to have sex, how will I feel if the relationship with my partner doesn't last?
  • When I get married, will I regret that I didn't wait to have sex?
  • Will my parents be disappointed if I decide to have sex?
  • Am I absolutely certain that my partner does not have HIV/AIDS or another STD?

If you want more information or help, talk to someone who cares about you. Ask your parents or another trusted adult, like your family doctor, your priest, minister, or rabbi, or a school nurse or counselor - someone who will listen to you and give you good advice.

References:
Teen Talk #1, Office of Public Health and Science. September 2005.

Reviewed by athealth on February 8, 2014.