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Anatomy, biology, and body image. Loving your body and understanding how it works isn't always easy. We're here for all your questions, concerns, and insecurities. Ask away!

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Sex Myths

Plastic wrap as condoms…douching with Coke…sex myths can get pretty crazy. Trying to separate fact from fiction? Ask Us Anything about sex myths. We want to know what you’re curious about and what you’re hearing.

Can I still get pregnant if we did it in the pool?

Yep! Where you are doesn’t really matter—any time that you have sex, especially if it’s unprotected, there’s a chance of pregnancy. Having sex underwater doesn’t flush out or kill the sperm, so it’s always a good idea to use protection! Check out our Birth Control Explorer to see all of the birth control methods that are available to you.

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My boyfriend is doing drugs lately, is that going to change our sex life ?

You didn’t say what type of drugs your boyfriend is using, but anytime someone is using something that alters their mood, it will change all of their behavior—including their sex life. One other important thing to note is that it’s false that drugs like marijuana will lower sperm count—don’t let your boyfriend convince you to have unprotected sex because he thinks he’s not fertile anymore.  .  

If you’re worried about your boyfriend’s drug use, reach out to a trusted adult or check out the resources at AbovetheInfluence.Com.

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Can a girl get pregnant if she has sex on her period?

Yes! Any time that you have sex, especially if it’s unprotected sex, there is a chance of pregnancy—even if the girl is on her period. Because sperm can live in the vagina for up to seven days, they can survive until the girl is off her period and fertile again, which can result in a pregnancy. It’s always important to use protection, no matter where you’re having sex or if the girl is on her period. Try our Birth Control Explorer to see what methods of birth control are available.

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Is it true that STDs will stick with you forever?

Many STDs are curable with antibiotics and leave minimal if any lasting effects. Others, like herpes and HIV, are not curable, but even these are treatable with medication. If you think that you or your partner might have an STD, it’s important that you talk to a health care professional to get an accurate diagnosis and some guidance going forward. Need help finding a doctor? Check out our clinic locator.

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Is it true you can get pregnant through pre-cum?

Yes, you can get pregnant from pre-cum. Although pre-cum is usually just a natural lubricant, there is definitely a chance that it can contain sperm, especially if the guy has recently ejaculated (either from sex or masturbation). Besides that, pre-cum can carry sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV. Using birth control any time you have sex—whether that’s a condom, the pill, or something else—is super important, because couples who regularly have sex but don’t use protection have an 85% chance of getting pregnant within a year.

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If you pee right after sex, does that kill the sperm?

Peeing after sex  does not kill sperm or flush it out! Your best bet for preventing pregnancy is using some form of birth control; to see all of the methods available to you, take a look at our Birth Control Explorer.

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I’ve heard that guys think about sex constantly—like, ALL the time. Is that true?

While many guys do think about sex a lot, the old myth that guys think about sex every seven seconds doesn’t have any scientific basis. Everyone is different, so some guys (and girls!) may think about sex more than others, but guys don’t only think about having sex.

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Does sex really hurt the first time?

Sex shouldn’t really hurt the first time but a little bit of discomfort is normal. That being said, everyone is different and everyone’s definition of “pain” is different so you may consider your first time painful whereas someone else would say their first time didn’t hurt at all. One thing that can make sex more uncomfortable is nerves; when you’re nervous, that can cause you to clench up your muscles. So it’s important to be relaxed and ready for sex—and protected with the right method(s) of birth control-- before you decide to have sex.

Sex is a big step in a relationship, and if you’re not both completely ready, waiting might be a good idea. Protection is essential if you’re deciding to have sex, and can go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable about the choice. If you’re feeling nervous about sex, have a conversation with your partner about your expectations, and check out our Birth Control Explorer to see all of the birth control methods that are available to you.

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Is there such thing as too much sex? If so, please explain.

There isn’t such thing as too much sex because everyone is different. The most important thing is that you and your partner are on the same page about sex—when to have it and how often to have it. Relationships shouldn’t be solely based on sex, and both you and your partner need to consent to sex every time that you have it. In that way, one party can feel that there’s too much sex—people just have different preferences when it comes to how much you’re doing it, so it’s really important to communicate with your partner about your thoughts and feelings.

Also—sex shouldn’t hurt, so if you’re in pain after having sex or if having sex is interfering with your daily activities, you might want to think about taking it a slower. If you’re worried about any discomfort that you’re feeling, check in with your doctor to figure out what’s going on.

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If you're using a condom, do you also need to take other forms of birth control?

When it comes to birth control, using two forms is better than one! Using a condom is a great way of preventing STDs and pregnancy, but you and your partner can decrease the chance of pregnancy even more if you use a condom along with another form of birth control. To check out all of your birth control options, take a look at our Birth Control Explorer or have a chat with your doctor to see which method would be best for you!

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Are condoms the only form of protection against STDs?

Yes. Although other methods of birth control can prevent pregnancy, barrier methods like the male and female condom are the only way to prevent STDs. For a greater chance of preventing pregnancy, it’s a good idea to double up condoms with another form of birth control. If you want to see all of the birth control options available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer!

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Are there forms of birth control that don't involve pills or reapplications or condoms (i.e. a more lasting form)?

Yes! In fact, long acting contraceptives are the most effective methods of reversible birth control because there’s no danger of missing a pill or forgetting to put on a new patch. Methods of this kind of contraception include several types of IUDs, which last for three to 12 years depending on which on you get, the implant, which lasts for up to three years, and the shot, which lasts for three months.

If you’re interested in long acting birth control, your health care provider is the best person to help you figure out what will work best for you but you can learn   more about any of the forms of birth control through our Birth Control Explorer!

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if he used a condom and pulled out, can i still get pregnant?

Any time that you have sex you run the risk of getting pregnant, but using a condom and pulling out does decrease your chances. If you’ve missed a period or are worried about getting pregnant, you might want to talk to a doctor, who can administer a pregnancy test. If you need help finding a doctor, try our Clinic Locator

 

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Does having sex with the same gender (girl/girl) mean you lost your virginity or does it have to be with a guy to be consider not a virgin?

Virginity can be hard to define, because sex is really about an emotional connection. So no, sex definitely doesn’t have to be with a guy to be considered a loss of virginity, and is no less real if it’s between a girl and guy, two girls, or two guys. It can be complicated to define virginity, and some people don’t care to define it at all. It’s much more important that you feel safe and comfortable in all of your sexual encounters than you adhere to a strict definition of what sex is.

How you define sex is personal—once you figure out what sex means to you, you can say for yourself whether or not you’re a virgin.

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Is it normal for a woman's hymen to break or tear when she loses her virginity? I've heard mixed answers.

A woman’s hymen can tear when she has sex—but it can also tear from using a tampon or riding a bike! If a woman is relaxed during sex, there’s a chance that her hymen won’t tear even if it is intact. The hymen is just a part of a woman’s body, and everyone is different, so a woman’s hymen may have already torn by the time she has sex, or it still may be partially intact and could tear at that point. Many people associate the hymen with virginity, but because there are so many ways that the hymen can tear outside of sex, it’s not a reliable way of telling if someone is a virgin.

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Does semen die when it hits oxygen?

Not immediately—but it does die when it gets dried out, which can happen pretty quickly if it’s on a dry surface out in the air.  However, if the sperm is in a warm environment (like a woman’s body), it can survive for several days, and could cause a pregnancy.

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Do you have to be 18 or have a parent with you to get birth control pills?

Minors can usually get hormonal birth control (like the pill) without parental consent, but every state makes their own laws about this. When you call the doctor to make an appointment, make sure that you let them know how old you are and ask whether or not they guarantee confidentiality if you don’t want to tell your parents about wanting birth control. Keep in mind—even though talking to your parents about sex or birth control can be really awkward, they were once your age and might have some really helpful insight into your situation, so you might want to consider talking with your parents about birth control, but that’s totally up to you!

If you need help finding a doctor, check out our Clinic Locator, and if you’re curious about the other forms of birth control that are available to you, take a look at our Birth Control Explorer.

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If you have sex without a condom, but you're on birth control, can you still get pregnant?

If you have sex without a condom, your risk of pregnancy varies depending on what kind of birth control you’re using. Any time that you have sex, there’s a risk of pregnancy, but there’s a difference in how effective different methods are. For example, the pill is 91% effective, versus an IUD, which can be up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. It’s awesome that you’re using birth control, and it will significantly lower your risk of an unexpected pregnancy! It’s always a good idea to double up by using condoms with another form of birth control for the added protection. Plus, condoms are also the only form of birth control (besides abstinence) that protects against STIs!

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Can you get pregnant your first time of unprotected sex?

Absolutely, especially if it’s unprotected sex. All sex is created equal, so it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or 31st time—you still have the same chance of getting pregnant, that’s why it’s super important to use protection. To understand all of the birth control options available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer, or ask your doctor.

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Do you have to be a certain age to go buy condoms at a store?

Nope! There’s no age limit on condoms, and both girls and guys can buy them at any local drug store.

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Which positions are most and least likely to cause pregnancy?

If you’re having sex, it doesn’t matter which position you’re in, there’s a risk of the girl becoming pregnant. That’s why it’s super important to use protection, whether it’s a condom, or a form of hormonal birth control, like the pill or the patch. Also, you don’t have to stick to just one method! Using a condom and a form of hormonal birth control can greatly reduce the risk of an unplanned pregnancy. Plus, the condom is the only form of birth control (besides abstinence) that protects against STIs. To see all of the birth control options that are available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer.

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Is it true that if you have sex while on your period than you can't get pregnant?

Nope! Any time that you have sex, especially if it’s unprotected sex, there’s a risk of pregnancy. If doesn’t matter if you’re underwater, on your period, or planning to do jumping jacks afterward—you can still get pregnant. Sperm can live in the vagina for up to seven days, so there’s a possibility that they will survive until the girl is off her period and fertile again, which could result in a pregnancy. Whether you’re on your period or not, it’s always really important to use protection when you’re having sex. To see all of the options available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer!

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I know you said don't substitute, but if you had to substitute what could you use?

If you're talking about condoms, the answer is that there's no effective substitute for them. Homemade substitutes don't fit, can easily be torn, and can get displaced (aka stuck in the vagina or anus) during sex. Condoms are specifically made to provide a good fit and good protection during sex and they are thoroughly tested for maximum effectiveness.

There’s no age restriction on buying condoms, so you can pick them up at your local drugstore or grocery store. Condoms are pretty cheap, but you can also get them for free from many places—check out condomfinder.orgto find out where to get free condoms in your area.

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My boyfriend says he jacked off 24 hours before we had unprotected sex. Could I still get pregnant?

It's a myth that masturbating before having sex will prevent pregnancy! Only one sperm needs to make it for pregnancy to happen and it only take a few minutes after orgasm for a guy's semen reserves to start to replenish themselves. 

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Can you still get pregnant if you push out the cum afterwards?

Women's bodies are designed to keep semen inside. So even the most diligent attempts at getting all of the semen out of your body won't be entirely successful. You may want to check in with a health care provider who can help you be better prepared for next time by helping you find a birth control method that works for you. There’s a ton of birth control methods out there, so check out our Birth Control Explorer to learn more. It’s a good idea to double up with a hormonal birth control method plus condoms, so you’re protected against STIs too. Need help finding a health center? We’ve got you covered—just enter your ZIP code in our Clinic Locator.

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Guys are always ready for sex?

There are a lot of stereotypes out there that guys are always ready for sex and willing to have sex with anyone who's interested. The truth is a lot more complicated than that. A recent study by Ohio State University shows that the idea that men are always thinking about sex is a myth. The study results showed that the men reported thinking about sex an average of 19 times a day. Interestingly, the women who participated in the study said they thought about sex 10 times a day! 

Do you think that men really think about sex almost twice as often as women? Or are men more comfortable admitting how much they think about it because of stereotypes? 

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Can u lose your virginity by getting fingered?

You bring up a really good problem with the idea of virginity! The traditional definition of it refers to penis in vagina sex, which means that anyone not having sex that way (LGBT people, people who prefer to use toys, and people having oral sex to name just a few) can't lose their virginity. But in reality it doesn't actually exist because we aren't defined by our sexual experiences 

Think about how you define your sexual experiences and how you think about yourself. If losing your virginity is something that's important to you, than sure, why not expand the definition to meet your needs. Having sex is about a lot of different things; feeling good, having fun, and getting close to someone special are just three of them. So don't let the idea of virginity get in your way! 

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Do drugs and drinking make sex more fun?

No! Some may say that doing drugs or having alcohol make sex easier and better, but there is a lot of science that proves they're wrong. Many drugs can actually make it harder for guys to get and maintain an erection! Some drugs (and all alcohol) can make it harder for women and men to have and enjoy an orgasm. This is because both drugs and alcohol change the chemical make up of our brains and we rely on certain chemicals (like dopamine and endorphins) to feel good and safe. Without those feelings sex suffers. 

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Can you get pregnant if he ejaculates while we are in a hot tub?

No! If a man ejaculates into a pool, it is extremely unlikely that a woman will get pregnant. Pools and Jacuzzis have chlorine and other chemicals, so sperm don’t stand a chance for more than a couple of seconds out on their own.

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Do you use a condom in the shower?

Yes, you should use a condom for shower sex. As long as the condom doesn’t break it will still provide the same level of STI protection.

However, using a condom when water is involved can be more complicated.  The best thing is to put the condom on before getting in water. Soaps, conditioners and shampoos are typically oil based which can weaken the condom so be wary of bubble baths and water with similar additives. Water can also wash away the vagina’s natural lubrication, which means you run a higher chance of the condom breaking, discomfort, and even infection. You can try water or silicone based lubrication, but you’ll have to do your best to make sure it doesn’t get washed away.

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Is "doubling up" more safe?

Wearing two condoms (a.k.a. doubling up) is NOT safer! In fact, because the condoms will create friction with each other, using two condoms actually makes them more likely to break. When it comes to condoms one is the magic number: one time use, one per use.

The only kind of “doubling up” that makes sex safer is when you use two different types of birth control. The safest sex uses a male or female condom in addition to another method of birth control.

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If you take birth control pills for over a long period of time can it cause problems for having kids in the future?

No, continuous use of the birth control pill will not cause problems with future fertility. There's been lots of research on birth control pills over the years and the consensus is that long-term use doesn't affect your ability to get pregnant once you stop taking the pill. It's always a good idea to stay current on your annual health exams, whether you use the pill or another method. Our health changes over time, so it’s important to use a method that is the best for your body.

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How long can sperm live in the vagina?

Sperm can live in the vagina for up to five days (which is why you CAN get pregnant during your period)! Jumping up and down, rinsing out your vagina, or urinating after sex won’t get rid of the sperm, which is why it’s important to use birth control every time you have sex.

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Is the pull out method effective?

The pull out method by itself not super-effective and it doesn’t protect from STIs—in fact, 22 out of 100 couples who use only pulling out (also called withdrawal) to prevent pregnancy will have a pregnancy within a year.

Withdrawal is difficult to get exactly right, especially consistently, since it requires a lot of self-control. The point it, there are way more reliable methods available. Some couples pull out in addition to using another method of birth control so they can be extra careful to avoid pregnancy—which is way safer than using just one method alone. Consider using a condom to protect you and your partner from STIs and as an additional form of birth control.  

Explore all methods by cost and effectiveness with the birth control explorer.
 

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Can you get an std through oral sex?

Do you have to get an exam down there to start birth control?

Nope! Depending on your provider, your medical history, and the type birth control you’re looking to get, it may not be necessary for you to have a gynecological exam to receive birth control. Without a physical exam it’s extra important to make sure you’re being open, honest and asking a lot of questions about birth control to make sure you’ll pick the right method for you.

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Is it true that STis will stick with you forever?

Not in all cases. Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor, and when treated properly, these cured STIs often have no lasting negative health effects. And while viral STIs like HIV and herpes can’t be cured like bacterial STIs, they can be treated with medication. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can get treated and start managing any symptoms you may have.

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Can you get pregnant if you are standing up?

If you’re having sex, it doesn’t matter which position you’re in, there’s a risk of the girl becoming pregnant. That’s why it’s super important to use protection, whether it’s a condom, or a form of hormonal birth control, like the pill or the patch. Also, you don’t have to stick to just one method! Using a condom and a form of hormonal birth control can greatly reduce the risk of an unplanned pregnancy. Plus, the condom is the only form of birth control (besides abstinence) that protects against STIs. To see all of the birth control options that are available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer.

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Hi, if I have a lot of sex will my vagina stretch?

What you've just stated is a fearand common myth about vaginas, they do not change size or stretch because of penetrative sex or penis size! The only experience that can change the size of your reproductive organs, like your uterus, vagina, and cervix is childbirth. 

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My brother told me that I might have trouble with sex because of the size of my penis, is this true?

Guess what? Your brother is wrong! 

Sexual pleasure is not affected at all by penis size. There are lots of ways to have great sex whatever your penis size may be! 

The truth is, you're not alone in worrying about the size of your penis. Penises come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, society has taught us that this matters and that somehow penis size impacts masculinity and sexual activity. So, you're not alone in worrying about this, there are a lot of people that share the same concern. However, the good news is that in this case, what society tells us is not true. You can do you and feel good no matter what your penis size is. 

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