Sex & Consent
Sex is a very broad topic and there are a lot of things to think about when it comes to figuring it all out. Here is a good place to start if you are wanting to figure out if you are ready for sex, consent, how to say no in uncomfortable situations, and much more.
How often should I have a check up for sexual health or be tested for STI's?
The recommended age of starting annual Pap smear screenings is changing all the time, but right now the recommended age is 21. As for when to be tested for STI's though, if you have any concern or feel like you have one you should get tested. Any woman under the age of 25 that is sexually active should be getting tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year, and if you are not practicing safe sex (using a condom) or you have multiple partners you should be tested at least every 3-6 months or before a new partner.
What is virginity?
A virgin is someone who has never had sex. That sounds simple enough right? Well, sex can mean different things to different people so it is up to you to decide what you consider virginity is. To some people having penis-to-vagina sex for the first time is what they consider "losing their virginity" while other people might consider having oral or anal sex for the fist time "losing their virginity" instead. For example, people that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or pansexual may never have penis-to-vagina sex, but they might not consider themselves virgins because of oral or anal sex.
Does it hurt to lose your virginity?
Everyone has different experiences when it comes to losing their virginity. For some it may hurt or feel uncomfortable, it may feel good, or it could be both! Some reasons it might be painful or uncomfortable are not enough lubrication or going too fast. Your body naturally produces lubricant when you're aroused, but sometimes it is not enough. Going slow will give your body more time to adjust to this new feeling and it can give you more time to communicate with your partner about what feels good and what does not. Remember: At any time you can withdraw your consent!
Average age of losing virginity?
The average age to lose your virginity in the United States is about 17. In high school sometimes it feels like "everyone is doing it" but they're not! In 2019 less than half of U.S. high school students had ever had sex.
Why does consent matter?
Consent is when all people involved in the sexual activity have enthusiastically agreed. This is important because sexual activity without consent is sexual assault or rape.
What does consent look like?
Consent is when all people involved in the sexual activity have agreed enthusiastically and freely. Consent can also be withdrawn at any moment and even if someone has agreed before or earlier it does not mean that agree now or in the future. Consent is never implied.
How to say no?
You should never feel pressured into sexual activity or feel guilty saying no. You should be clear about your boundaries and you can just say "no" if you do not want to consent and you do not owe anyone an explanation. If you want to explain though, you can also explain to them that you like/love them but you are not ready for sex or you are not in the mood.