Losing Your Virginity
Losing your virginity is a big decision. Not only must you be certain that you are emotionally ready to be with someone in this way but you must also be certain that you understand the risks associated with having sex such as contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and/or getting pregnant. You should also take your partner into account when you are considering losing your virginity, and be sure that you are both absolutely certain that you are ready to have sex. Unfortunately there are no easy checklists for working out if you are ready to lose your virginity, but if you find it hard to talk about sex with your partner, you find yourself blushing or giggling during discussions of sexuality, and/or you are unwilling to admit that you will need to protect yourself during sex then you are likely not ready to lose your virginity. If, however, you and your partner have discussed sex, you are both ready to explore safer sex options, and you fully understand possible consequences of your options then you may decide that you are ready to lose your virginity.
Safer Sex ConsiderationsIf you do believe that you are ready to lose your virginity then remember that the only completely safe sex – 100% guaranteed not to lead to pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or HIV – is abstaining from sex completely. If you understand this and are willing to accept that there are risks associated with having sex, then make sure that you understand that there are ways to make sex safer, particularly by using a condom. A condom creates a physical barrier between people during oral, anal and vaginal sex so it can help keep infections from being spread. Unfortunately, condoms can be put on incorrectly, slip off during sex, and break. Condoms are also often used with lubricants, but lubricants with spermicide can have an adverse effect on condoms and should be avoided. STIs can also be transmitted during foreplay, so any areas of the body that have open wounds, sores or warts (such as fingers) should not come in contact with the genitals without at least a plaster covering the risky area.
Pregnancy is also a worry for anyone having sex, and again the only way to absolutely avoid getting pregnant is to abstain from sex. A variety of birth control methods exist which can minimise the risk of pregnancy, but not one of them is 100% effective 100% of the time. The contraceptive pill, contraceptive injections, contraceptives implants, intrauterine devices such as the coil, and diaphragms/caps are all common types of contraception that can be accessed from a GP or family planning clinic. Condoms can be bought at most chemists and used alone in or conjunction with another method of contraception. If you do have unprotected sex, or if an error occurs with your preferred method of contraception, then some types of emergency contraception are also available. An emergency contraceptive pill can be taken up to three days after unprotected sex, while an intrauterine device such as the coil can be fitted up to five days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy from occurring. Emergency contraception pills can be prescribed by doctors or bought without a prescription at pharmacies. Any type of IUD will need to be fitted by a doctor or nurse.