Teens can have safer sex by using a condom with their sexual partners and by becoming educated on the realities of sex and sexual health.
The first part of this article speaks to teens and is a brief overview of how to get and use a condom. The remainder of this article speaks to parents, educators, and society in general about the responsibility we have to teens and some thoughts on sexual activity in adolescents.
First the important details for teens who are sexually active:
Teens can purchase condoms at a wide range of places such as their local pharmacy, supermarket, or corner store if they aren’t available through their school. Condoms come in many types and styles and are available as single condoms or packs. Skip the lamb skin condoms as they don’t protect against all STDs. Well known brands include Trojan, Durex, and Lifestyle.
Buy the right size condom and don’t purchase the ‘magnum’ condom unless you actually need it. A poor fitting condom can slip off or break during sex so keep that in mind.
Don’t be embarrassed by purchasing condoms. It isn’t against the law for a teen to purchase condoms and if money is an issue, consider splitting a pack with your friends to save each of you money. If you are a teen concerned about what others might say to you or your parents, go to a store other then your regular pharmacy or corner store.
If you are a girl who is sexually active be aware that you too can take the step of purchasing condoms for safer sex. This way you’ll be prepared if your partner doesn’t have a condom.
Don’t keep your condom in a wallet or in a hot place. Store condoms in a cool, dry place and always check the expiration date before using.
Don’t use scissors or a knife to open the condom wrapper. Doing so can damage the condom. Always make sure the condom is going on the right way. Unroll it slowly all the way down and gently pinch the tip to get excess air out.
Use a new condom each and every time. Don’t use the same condom once ejaculation has occurred and pull out slowly while holding at the base to prevent the condom from slipping off.
For parents, educators, and society in general:
There are many people who will tell teens that sex outside of marriage is wrong, that safe sex means abstinence only, or that they aren’t ready for sex. To many teenagers, these discussions about sex do little or nothing to prevent the teen from having sex.
In fact, many teens are in a stage where they will choose to do the direct opposite of what the ‘authority’ of a parent, church, or school is saying. For some teens, having sex in itself is an act of rebellion because so many people tell them not to do it.
Whether or not you the parent or the adult in the teen’s life think that sex is right or wrong, the fact remains that many teens will engage in sexual activity and may do so without the proper knowledge of how to do so in the safest possible way.
Is there any form of birth control or protection that works 100%?
There isn’t, but using protection and birth control is extremely effective at preventing pregnancy and protecting against HIV and STDS and works far better than abstinence only programs that fail to inform most teens about the realities of sexuality and sexual health.
Teens can engage in safer sex by using birth control and by using a condom with their sexual partners.
Parents and adult figures in a teen’s life play a huge role in assuring that a teenager practices safer sex and a parent who simply tells a teen that ‘sex is wrong’ is doing a great disservice to their teen.
Many teens won’t readily admit to being sexually active and very few will actually come right out and ask for sexual health advice. This is why it is so critical for those such as parents, teachers, and the media need to focus on promoting safer sex rather than the outdated concept of abstinence only.
Teens may be embarrassed to ask for sexual health advice. They may not know where to turn to get information on birth control pills or be able to easily obtain condoms.
Schools that teach sexual health and safer sex information are far more likely to make services such as discounted or free condoms available to teens then schools that refuse to discuss sexual health or teach ‘abstinence only’ programs.
The medical profession and student health service facilities need to be there for teens that may have questions or concerns about sex and sexual health. Teens need to feel that there is someone they can talk to if there is a concern of pregnancy, disease, or sexual related issues.
Teens are greatly influenced by their peers and may talk about sex among their peers. But many of their peers are in the same boat as the teen and don’t have the knowledge to help their fellow teens make the right choices when it comes to having safer sex.
The best way teens can have safer sex if they choose to have sex is to use a condom each and every time. Some parents choose to put their daughters on birth control in their teen years to help protect their teen and many responsible parents will have ‘the talk’ with their teen. Parents of a teen daughter need to also consider the HPV vaccine which can protect girls against HPV, a disease that can be transmitted even when a condom is used.
At the very least some parents will simply tell their teen to use a condom and that little bit of advice can go a long way in helping the teen make smart sexual decisions.
Whether or not a teen’s parent makes the right choice and guides them to safe sex information, all teens should be aware that using a condom is something that should be done every time a teen engages in sexual activity.
Also, whether or not a parent or society thinks that a teen is ready or not ready for sex really does not matter when it comes to safe sex. Engaging in sexual activity whether mentally or emotionally ready for sex still comes with the physical and very real risks of pregnancy, stds, and HIV. Condom use can protect against these physical risks.