For Girls: Deciding About Sex
The pressure to have sex starts as early as age twelve. But too many teenagers start having sex before they think it through or decide what they'd use for birth control. Sex can be hard to talk about: it involves very personal feelings. Deciding to make love is a big decision, so you owe it to yourself to find out first: what are your risks?
Your Health Risks
Sex can be risky. One out of four sexually active 14-year-old girls gets pregnant before she turns 20. You also risk getting AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases, because every time you have sex with someone, you're also having sex with all their past partners. Some birth control, used correctly every time, can lower, but not erase, these risks.
Your Personal Risks
Kids talk. You may end up with a reputation around school and feel isolated, alone, and "used.'' You may feel you've gone against your own values. If you become pregnant and decide to have the child, you may have to give up the dream of your own life with college or a career. Pregnancy can still happen with any type of birth control, no matter how carefully you use it. And few teenage marriages due to pregnancy last.
Why Some Girls Have Sex
- "He loves me. If I get pregnant, we'll get married and have a great life together.''
- "Having sex will make us closer. He'll love me more and we'll talk more.''
- "I'll be more popular if I stop being so old-fashioned and give in sometimes.''
What Really Happens
- "We got married and had the baby, but we fought so much we broke up.''
- "Since we started having sex, we don't talk or just have fun the way we used to.''
- "I wish I'd waited for someone special. The wrong kinds of guys are asking me out.''