Sex, STDs, and Birth Control

All Articles in the Category ‘Sex, STDs, and Birth Control’

Teen Girls, boyfriends, money, and sex

A recent news story caught my eye. It described the findings of a research study that linked teen girls, boyfriends, and sex. The study found that teen girls who relied on their boyfriends as the main source of their spending money were 10% less likely to use a condom when sexually active with their boyfriend than teens who had another source of income (like parents, grandparents, or job). Read full post »

Teens at Risk: sex industry

I recently watched the documentary Very Young Girls. It has prompted to me to want to bring to light a topic that we, as a society, often ignore: the sexual exploitation of young teenage girls. The movie focused on the lives of teens who had been seduced, and even kidnapped, into the lifestyle of prostitution. The message that was driven home by this amazing and disturbing movie was that the people who were selling their bodies were the victims, not criminals.

The average age of a person who starts working in the sex industry is 13-14 years old. Yes, 13 or 14. Still in middle school, naive, and very much a child. Girls (and boys) who end up in this work often come from homes where they were abused or neglected. A pimp who approaches them may start by telling how beautiful they are and how they can provide them with a family and love. The pimp looks for lack of eye contact and other signs that the child may not feel loved and supported (a well supported teen may look them in the eye and say ‘thank you’ or tell them to get lost). For the 13 year old child who hears this message, they may eagerly get into a car with the man offering hope. Those positive compliments are quickly distorted into manipulation. The pimp offers ‘love,’ then says ‘if you love me, you’ll help me make money.’ Read full post »

Teens and birth control: barrier methods

 Reproductive health and birth control for teens is a topic every parent should know about.  I want to emphasize that the only way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections 100% of the time is to not have sex at all, but parents and teens should be aware of birth control methods available. This is the third post in a series of 3 on birth control (also known as contraception) for parents of teens.

With sexual activity come a lot of responsibilities that teens likely will not be equipped to handle without help. As was stated in previous posts on Hormone Containing Methods and Emergency Contraception, in the US, about 46% of all high school kids have had sex. Only 23% were on birth control and 61% had used a condom the last time they had sex (Centers for Disease Control).  For parents, having open communication with your teens about expectations and family values is an effective way to help your teen wait to have sex until they are older.   Talk with your teen early and often in order teach them how to be aware of consequences and how to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections if they decide to become sexually active. See our post on Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Sex.

There are many types of birth control and it is best to pick a method that fits into a person’s lifestyle.  If your teen is interested in birth control, speak with their doctor to find a method BEFORE they start having sex if at all possible.  I’ll summarize barrier methods (condoms) in this post. Read full post »

Teens and Birth Control: Emergency Contraception


 Birth control for teens is a topic that can be challenging to discuss. Both parents and teens may be uncomfortable discussing such an intimate topic, but open communication is so important. This post on emergency contraception for teens is the second in a series of 3 posts on teens and birth control.

As I’ve mentioned before, the only way to prevent pregnancy 100% of the time is to not have sex at all.  As parents, having open communication with your teens about expectations and family values is an effective way to help your teen wait to have sex until they are older.

Emergency contraception is a backup method that is not meant as a substitute for longer term contraception. Please see my post on hormone containing methods for more information on more effective long-term contraception. Talk with your teen’s doctor if any of them sound like a method of interest or if you have more questions after reading. Read full post »

Teens and birth control: hormone containing methods

Birth control, also known as contraception, for teens is an important topic to discuss. Whenever the subject of birth control comes up in clinic, I can guarantee someone asks the question about safety.  It’s the same question I would ask if a medical provider discussed any new medication with me.  However, birth control also comes with personal stories: a friend who used one form of contraception and gained 20 pounds, or a mother who had an intrauterine device (IUD) and had horrible complications.  The good news is that birth control has had a makeover during the past decade and there are many options that are extremely effect and safe to use.  Hopefully, this blog can serve as an overview and alleviate some fears. To learn more about how birth control is used for medical reasons other than contraception, see our recent post. Today’s post will be the first in a series of 3 posts on birth control and teens. Read full post »

The Birth Control Pill: Not Just For Birth Control

A recent study found that 1 in 3 teenage girls using birth control pills (BCPs) are using them reasons other than birth control- such as preventing acne, easing menstrual cramps, or helping with PMS. Despite their name, birth control pills are  useful for many purposes besides birth control!

There are many brands of BCPs, but they fall into two basic categories: the”combination” BCPs, which contain the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, and the “progesterone-only” BCPs (which obviously contain only progesterone.)

If your teen doesn’t have certain medical issues (more about this below), they would be prescribed combination BCPs. They are better at controlling symptoms that a teen would take a BCP for, and also provide better birth control if it’s needed.

Let’s look at what BCPs can do for your teen:

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10 Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Sex

A recent study investigated where teenagers get their information on sex and sexual health. Can you guess what the number 1 influence was? It wasn’t friends, and it wasn’t celebrities, and it wasn’t the internet… it was their parents and families.

What’s more, the study showed that parents and guardians greatly underestimate how much their discussions about sexuality impact their teens. Most assumed that the majority of information came from peers.

The upshot is: Teens are listening. So now it’s time to talk. You need to talk to your teen about sex before a friend or a movie gives them information that could be harmful or wildly inaccurate. Here are some tips on having that conversation:

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