What is sex?
A lot of times people use the word “sex” when they mean having sexual intercourse. There’s actually a huge range of things that people do that don’t involve intercourse. Some things have a higher risk for pregnancy or infection, so it’s really important to understand the risks so you can decide if a certain activity is right for you, and if so, how to protect yourself.You may not want to do any of these things, and that’s totally okay. It is always okay to wait until you feel like you’re ready--you shouldn’t feel pressured to do them. But here are some of the things people do, alone or with their partner. All of these activities are normal.
Masturbation is when you pleasure yourself. There are many myths and misunderstandings around masturbation – that it’s dirty, wrong, weird, or unhealthy. None of these are true. It’s a healthy, safe way to learn what feels good to you, in private. Many people masturbate — single people, people in relationships, gay people, straight people, men and women, young and old. Some people do it pretty often, some maybe only a couple times a year and others never do.
Foreplay means all of the different kinds of touching, kissing and ”fooling around” that people do to get each other excited. Some people use foreplay before having sex, but it certainly doesn’t have to lead to sex. Some just do foreplay without going any further.
Digital Sex (Fingering/Hand Job) means touching another person’s genitals (private parts) with your hands or fingers.
Oral Sex is when your partner touches your genitals (private parts) with their mouth. For women, this usually means her partner stimulates her clitoris, which is a very sensitive part of a woman’s genitals. For a man, it usually means that his partner stimulates his penis. For a man, oral sex may end when semen comes out of his penis. The safest thing to do is not to let any get in your mouth. If you decide you’re ready to have oral sex, it’s a good idea to tell your partner what you would like to do in advance, so that you both know what to expect—no seriously! Like my Aunt Lucia says -- if you’re not cool talking with your partner before you do something, you’re probably not ready to do it.
Many sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) like herpes, syphilis, and gonorrhea are pretty easy to spread by oral sex. The safest thing to do is protect yourself by using a condom or dental dam. They also make condoms in different flavors for just this reason – chocolate, grape, cola, pineapple, vanilla, etc.
Vaginal Sex is when a man inserts his penis into a woman’s vagina. There are different positions this can be done in, but all usually involve the partners moving back and forth with their genitals pressed together.
If you do decide you’re ready for vaginal sex, it’s really important to use a condom. They’re really good at preventing pregnancy and HIV and other STIs, but are not 100% effective, so let your doctor know if you are having vaginal sex so you can get checked and stay healthy.As with any sexual activity, if you do try it, it’s always okay to stop if anything is uncomfortable or if you change your mind.
Anal Sex is when a man inserts his penis into his partner’s anus (butthole). While you can’t get pregnant from anal sex, it is higher risk for passing STI’s, HIV and other infections. That’s why it’s super important to use condoms. And since the anus is not naturally lubricated, it’s important to use lots of water-based lubricants like KY® or Astroglide®. It’s not unusual to have bleeding, soreness, or hemorrhoids after having anal sex, but these things can also be a signs of an infection – so if you have any of these, you should see your doctor to get checked.
As with any sexual activity, you should never feel pressured. And if you do try it, it’s always okay to stop if anything is uncomfortable or if you change your mind.I know some girls and guys who’ve been having anal sex to keep from getting pregnant, but they haven’t been using condoms. I tell them if you want to do it, that’s your business, but you have to protect yourself from STI’s and HIV. Regular STI tests won’t detect an STI in the anus, so if you’re having anal sex, it’s very important to let your doctor know so the right tests can be done to check. In fact, you should let your doctor know if you are having any kind of sex, so you can get checked and stay healthy.