Sex is a natural and beautiful part of life, and each teenager or adult will arrive to this stage at a different time. Once you do choose to engage in sexual practices, it’s important that you understand the associated risks and safe practices to best protect you and your partner’s health. Here we will cover the benefits of abstinence, contraception, and birth control.

Abstinence is an option

If you are abstaining from sex, there is no possibility for pregnancy or STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). It is the only 100% effective way for this level of prevention. If you feel that you are not ready or have any doubts about engaging in any kind of sexual activity, then you should probably stop doing anything sexual, until you feel absolutely sure you are emotionally ready to have sex.

Birth Control

Birth control is the practice of preventing unwanted pregnancies, typically by use of contraception and taken by women. Birth control is not meant to be used so that someone can go out and have as much unprotected sex as they want. While birth control does protect against pregnancy, you have to understand that it does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other STDs.


Condoms are a barrier method of contraception. There are male condoms and female condoms. A male condom is a thin sheath (usually made of latex, a type of rubber) that is worn on the penis to prevent its sperm from fertilizing the female egg. A female condom is a polyurethane sheath with a flexible ring at either end. One end is closed and inserted into the vagina; the other end is open and the ring sits outside the opening of the vagina.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)

STDs are both common and sneaky. One in two sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25, and most of them won’t even know it. That’s because many STDs do not show any symptoms. If you’re sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. Many Reproductive Health Centers offer free and confidential STD screenings for teens.

When you think you are ready for sex, practice safely, communicate your needs, have sex in a safe environment, take care of your hygiene, and don’t hesitate to ask for guidance from a trusted parent or school mentor.