The short answer is yes.
Health clinics are not just for STI testing or illnesses. You can visit a clinic for advice on preventing pregnancy, preventing sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing, or simply to ask sexual health questions that you don’t feel comfortable asking anywhere else.
If you are thinking about having a sexual relationship with someone, it’s really important to have all the information you need to make a good decision and to make sure it’s the right decision for you.
If you have questions about sex (whether or not you’re thinking about having a sexual relationship) you should talk to your parents, a trusted adult such as a school counselor, someone from your religious group, or a health care provider. Discuss all of your choices and all of your concerns so that you can make healthy decisions for you.
Ask your clinic or health care provider about confidentiality. You should be able to talk about any health issues including your sexual choices and not feel judged or scared.
There are many things to think about before you decide to have sex, including if this is what you really want and if this is the right time in your life to have sex. Think about how you will feel afterwards. You be sure to think about how you will protect yourself from STI’s and pregnancy. You should never make this decision under pressure from a partner or friends. It is your decision and yours alone! Remember that it’s totally okay to wait to have sex.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PARTNER
Before you decide to have sex, talk with your partner about what this will mean for both of you and if you both want it. Don’t make this decision in the pressure of the moment. Here are some things to ask your partner:
- Ask about his or her sexual history, including if he or she has had any STI’s.
- Talk about what kind of birth control you will use. You need to know this ahead of time.
- Talk about what kinds of STI prevention methods you plan to use. Again, you need to know this ahead of time.
- Remember if you feel that you can’t talk to your partner about these things, then you shouldn’t be having a sexual relationship with them.
- Be honest about whether you or your partner will be sexually involved with other people at the same time.The risk of getting an STI or a virus that can cause cancer or AIDS is much higher if you or your partner have sex with other people. The more partners, the greater the risk!
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
To see if you are ready for sex, honestly answer these questions:
- Is your decision to have sex completely your own, made without pressure from others?
- Is your decision to have sex based on the right reasons? If you decide to have sex, it should be because you feel emotionally and physically ready. The reason should never be based on a need to fit in or make your partner happy.
- Do you believe your partner would respect and support any decision you made about whether to have sex or not?
- Can you talk to your partner about their sexual history?
- Have you talked with your partner about pregnancy and STI’s? Are both of you prepared and willing to prevent both?
- Do you really feel ready and 100% comfortable with yourself and your partner to have sex?