March 15, Revised: April 30, Graduation. For many, this word brings to mind an image of teens on the verge of adulthood— whether that means heading off to college or getting a job. Once teens graduate from high school, some people assume that they possess a kind of maturity regarding sexuality and sexual health.
But many teens receive little to no sex ed in high school. According to the Guttmacher Institute , by age 19 about 70 percent of teens have had sex. But 41 percent of teens ages 18 to 19 say that they know little to nothing about condom use, and 75 percent say that they know little to nothing about hormonal birth control pills , according to a study conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
What can we do about this? Well for starters, we can educate ourselves. Get Informed Sexuality education should involve, among other things, learning about sexual health, healthy relationships, communication and sexual orientation.
Yet many teens graduate without even the most basic knowledge about how to put on a condom , use birth control and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases STDs. Below we cover some sexual health basics that no teen should be in the dark about: Barrier Methods Barrier methods prevent pregnancy by putting a physical barrier between the sperm and egg.
Condoms Condoms—including female condoms also known as receptive or internal condoms —are both effective at preventing pregnancy and providing protection against STDs. Next, make sure to pinch the tip of the condom to squeeze the air out. Place the condom on the erect penis and roll it down all the way. Then comes orgasm for the partners. Once the partner wearing the condom has ejaculated, be careful to hold on to the base of the condom, and then pull out.
Carefully remove the condom, making sure none of the semen drips out by tying a knot at the end of the condom. Finally, throw the condom away in the trash. Never reuse a condom. It is inserted into the vagina and held in place by a ring that covers the cervix. On the other end is another ring that stays outside of the vagina , partly covering the labia. Female condoms can be a bit trickier to insert, but can be inserted up to eight hours prior to sexual activity.
In perfect use, both types of condom prevent sperm from entering the vagina, which is very effective at preventing pregnancy. Whether used during vaginal, oral or anal sex, they are also both effective at preventing STDs. Learn more about the many other barrier methods of birth control , including diaphragms, cervical caps and the Sponge , as well as dental dams, which can be used during oral sex to prevent the spread of STDs.
Behavioral Methods Behavioral methods of birth control require certain behaviors to prevent pregnancy. Abstinence , which means no sexual activity whatsoever, is the most effective method for both birth control and STD prevention. The other behavioral method is pulling out. The most widely used hormonal birth control method is the Pill. It works by releasing synthetic hormones similar to hormones the body produces naturally— estrogen and progesterone —which stops ovulation.
It also thickens the cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and is 99 percent effective. The shot is effective 24 hours after getting it and requires no daily attention. It does this by slowly releasing synthetic hormones through the skin, which in turn stops ovulation.
The Patch only requires a change once a week. The Ring also releases synthetic hormones to prevent ovulation. Implanon is a 1. It has to be inserted by a health care provider. Implanon releases a synthetic hormone called progestin in order to prevent ovulation and thicken the cervical muscles.
It requires no attention for up to three years. Intrauterine devices IUDs are inserted by a health care provider into the uterus. There are two types of IUD, and they each work differently to prevent pregnancy. One type of IUD, Mirena, uses hormones and stops ovulation. We rely on the adults in our lives—parents, guardians, teachers and other trusted adults—to teach us about sexuality.
Many parents or guardians assume that school will teach teens about sexuality. There are adults who think that teaching us about sexuality will encourage us to become sexually active. This is not true. A study conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that two-thirds of the teens who participated in comprehensive sexuality education either delayed or reduced sexual activity, tended to have a lower number of sexual partners or showed an increased use of condoms and birth control.
Humans are sexual beings. The desire and urge to have sex is natural. If we all received a great education about sexuality, we would have the tools to make responsible decisions. Hopefully, after reading this article, you are more educated about the different types of birth control and how to properly use a condom—and a little less in the dark!