Let’s talk about sex, baby!
But really, let’s talk about it.
As a freshman in college it’s no surprise that I hear a lot of my friends talking about their sex lives but many of them are still uncomfortable talking to their doctors or parents about birth control- let alone asking their partners to get tested for STIs or starting the “what happens if I get pregnant” conversation with their partners. These conversations are extremely important parts of maintaining ones physical and emotional health while sexually active.
Conversations that should happen:
1. The you should go to the gyno conversation:
Personally, I know a lot of my friends have expressed concern about going to the gynecologist, a doctor that specializes in the female reproductive system. As a general rule, people with female genitalia, who participate in sexual behavior (those who don’t should go as well, but it is of particular importance once an individual is participating in sexual behaviors), should make an appointment with a gynecologist. Why should you go to a gyno? They can teach you how to care of your body and answer any questions you may have regarding your reproductive system. Ask your friends if they’ve gone to the gyno, discuss your experiences and fear and GO!
Verbalize your experiences to try and make the subject less taboo! Still worried? Amy Shaw and Shannon Ridgeway wrote the article “Gyno Visit 101: What Happens When the Doctor Goes Down There?” for Everyday Feminism that explains what can be expected during a visit to the Gyno.
2. The “are we ready to have sex?” conversation:
Yes, it needs to be explicitly discussed. Just because either of you have had sex before doesn’t mean you are ready to have intercourse with each other. A partners willingness to have sex should never be assumed. Not only should sex be discussed in the context of your relationship, whatever it may be, but what it means to each partner should be discussed.
3. The birth control conversation (if pregnancy is a possibility):
This is when you discuss, as partners, your readiness to or desire not to have a baby. At this point the use of or lack of birth control methods comes into play. It is important to explore different birth control possibilities to figure out what works best for you and your partner(s).
For more info on the following forms, follow the links to PlannedParenthood.org
- Condoms! (and how to use them) *side note: you can order free condoms at: http://www.condomusa.com/ *
- “Pulling Out”
- Birth control pills
Disclaimer: There are many more forms of birth control, but the only 100% effective form is abstinence, so make sure you make informed, thoughtful risks!
Still curious about what form of birth control is right for you? Use Planned Parenthood’s “My Method” tool to get suggestions that are tailored to your lifestyle and preferences.
4.. The getting tested conversation:
Before having intercourse with a new partner it’s extremely important that if you have any doubt about whether you or a partner has a sexually transmitted infection, that you GET TESTED. Suggesting both parties get tested is usually more effective.
Want to know what services are available in the DC area? Visit this DC, Department of Health page!
5. The “what if we get pregnant?” conversation:
If you and your partner are capable of conceiving as ready to have a baby, discuss the next couple of steps you will take in case you get pregnant. Who will take care of the baby? Will a partner take off to be with the baby? Which partner? Will you breast feed, etc. If you and your partner are capable of conceiving and don’t want a baby… have this conversation.
Discuss your feelings about keeping the baby. Would adoption or abortion be options? Can you afford to give birth (INSERT COST)? Can you afford the legal processes required to give up a child for adoption? Do you have access to/ can you afford an abortion?
Let’s talk about sex baby!
The point of having these conversations is not to scare you or your partner out of having intercourse. It’s important to discuss safe sex and have clear expectations of each other to minimize any pre/post intercourse worry and maximize the trust between you and your partner.