Teenagers and Sex

The Doctors offer tips for talking with your teen and address common misconceptions teenagers have about sex.

Teen Sex Talk
A group of teenage girls, whose ages range from 15 to 18, sit down with youthologist Vanessa Van Petten for a candid discussion about their sex lives.

The girls discuss the pressure to perform oral sex in order to keep a boy's interest.

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork is concerned that girls often place more value on their boyfriends' feelings and desires than their own. "It's not about what he wants," Dr. Travis says. "It's about what you want ... The one thing I didn't hear is what you [girls] wanted, what you want for yourselves.

"We're highlighting all of this, because what we want to do, hopefully, is empower all of you, empower all teenagers at home," Dr. Travis adds. "In the end, you have the power to say no."

Morning-After Pill and Teens
The morning-after pill, or Plan B, is a form of emergency contraception meant to be taken within 72 hours of having unprotected intercourse. It helps prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation and is about 89 percent effective. The morning-after pill will not terminate an existing pregnancy and is not as effective as birth control pills or condoms as a birth-control method. It also does not protect against STDs.

In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed Plan B to be sold to 17-year-olds without a prescription, and sales have skyrocketed. "Some people believe that it will lead, especially teenagers, to be more promiscuous," Dr. Travis says, "because [they may say], 'Hey, I'll just go take a pill tomorrow and I won't get pregnant."

"It goes back to the fact that we have to educate our kids," OB-GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "The morning-after pill is not contraception. It is emergency contraception."

Teen Sex Myths
Due to a lack of knowledge, teenagers oftentimes hear and spread myths about sex. The Doctors tackle three questions that answer common myths about sex.

No. 1: Can I get pregnant during my period?
It is possible to become pregnant during your period because sperm can live for three days in a woman's body. Also, women can mistake slight bleeding with ovulation as the start of their period, and having unprotected sex during ovulation can greatly increase the chance of pregnancy.

“Periods can be irregular cycles,” Dr. Lisa says. “If a girl has a shorter cycle, she can ovulate earlier in that cycle and still be bleeding, especially if she bleeds longer.”

“No matter what, whether there's a period or no period, if you do decide to be sexually active — condom, condom, condom,” Dr. Travis implores.

No. 2: Is it possible to have safe oral sex?
Oral sex can be just as dangerous as regular sex, because you can contract a sexually transmitted disease through any form of sex; oral, vaginal or anal. The Doctors stress that even during oral sex, using protection is extremely important.

Protection for oral sex includes using a dental dam for woman, or a condom for the man. Twenty-five percent of girls between the ages of 14 and 19 will contract some form of STD, so protecting yourself is key.

No. 3: Can I get pregnant in a pool or hot tub?
Many teens believe that by having sex in a pool or a hot tub, they are at less of a risk of becoming pregnant because the chlorine or heat will kill the sperm, but that is not true.

“The only thing the chlorine will kill is the vaginal pH!” Dr. Travis says. “So not only are you going to be irritated, you can still get pregnant, still get STDs. You can hang out in a pool or hot tub all you want, but if you're having sex, it doesn't make it safe sex. It doesn't mean that you're not going to pass on STDs or get pregnant."

Spring Break Safety Tips

  • Pick a meeting spot with friends in case you get separated
  • Plan your transportation in advance, so you’re not looking for rides at the last minute
  • Keep emergency contact information about yourself with you at all times
  • Trust your instincts: if something doesn’t feel right, honor those feelings
  • Check in with your family
  • If in trouble, don’t hesitate to call your parents or the police
  • Never walk or go anywhere alone

Date Rape Drugs
A growing number of women will fall prey to date rape drugs such as GHB and Rohypnol, commonly known as roofies, which are odorless and tasteless and come in both clear liquid and powder form. Sexual predators slip the drugs into an unsuspecting victim’s drink, wait for them to take effect and then take advantage of or rape the person.

Symptoms of Date Rape Drugs

  • Advanced relaxation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Amnesia

Prevent Being Drugged

  • Don’t leave drinks unattended
  • Don’t accept drinks from a stranger
  • Watch out for one another
  • Don’t go off alone
  • Don’t let your friends go off alone
  • Be vigilant of people and your surroundings