Teen Talk: Q&A
You asked, we answered.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that we've heard teens ask, and our replies.
All Things Birth Control
I have been on birth control for about 2 years now. I haven't had a period or any bleeding for about a year. Does this mean that my risk of pregnancy is drastically decreased?
Nope, your chance of getting pregnant is the same whether you've been on your birth control for 2 weeks or 2 years. While you don't mention the method you use, with most methods you are able to get pregnant as soon as you stop using it—which is why it's important to use birth control consistently. While having no period is a common side effect for some birth control, it doesn't mean you are any less fertile should you stop using your method.
Can I have an IUD inserted if I've never had sex?
Great question, you can have an IUD inserted even if you have never had sex. This is a great discussion to have with your healthcare provider though to make sure that it's the best type of birth control for you!
If the condom broke but I didn’t feel the sperm, could I still be pregnant?
Yes. Any time you have sex, there’s a chance that you can get pregnant. If the condom broke, even if you didn’t feel anything, sperm may have still entered the vagina. If you think you might be pregnant—or if your period is late—be sure to take a pregnancy test or contact a health care professional who can give you one. If it’s early enough after the condom broke, you might be able to use emergency contraception as a backup; emergency contraception or EC is a method of birth control that stops pregnancy from happening. It’s not meant to be used as your primary method of birth control—hence the name emergency contraception—but we all know that accidents (like the condom breaking) happen, so it's best to know about this method before you need it.
What is the age limit for purchasing condoms?
There’s no age limit for buying condoms! It’s normal to be a little bit nervous when you’re buying condoms for the first time, but it’s super important to be protected if you decide to have sex. If you want to avoid coming face to face with a cashier, try to go somewhere with a self-checkout counter. There are also places that will give you condoms for free, so you might want to check out this Condom Finder.
Am I still covered for that week I don't take my pill?
Yes but... you're only covered if you took the first three weeks of pills right. That means you took all 21 pills, one a day, at the same time every day. That's because the pill works by releasing hormones that prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. Remember that the pill doesn't protect you from STIs. It’s a good idea to double up your hormonal birth control method by using condoms too.
Is it a good idea to go on a birth control pill even if you don't plan to have sex?
It's your call. If you're not currently sexually active, but want to be prepared for the future then getting on birth control is a great idea. Some people also use birth control to lessen period symptoms such as cramping or to make sure they always know when their period is going to come. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss which option will work best for you and to get a prescription.
Where can I buy birth control without a prescription?
One of the easiest methods of birth control to obtain privately is condoms, because there are no age restrictions and they require no prescription.
If you’re interested in hormonal birth control (like the pill, patch, ring, shot, implant, and IUD), those usually require a visit to a health care provider for a prescription. (Though some states are starting to allow pharmacists to prescribe some hormonal methods) Each state makes its own laws about confidentiality for patients under 18. When calling to make an appointment, tell your age, ask if you need parental consent for your visit and the method you want, and ask whether the clinic guarantees confidentiality. If you’re visiting your usual health care provider’s office using health insurance under a parent’s name, try calling your insurance and doctor’s office to ask about confidentiality.
Need help finding a clinic? Use our clinic locator; just type in your zip code for all the info you’ll need to find a health center nearby.
How can I know if a condom broke after sex, and how do I know if it was effective?
A broken condom is usually a noticeable rip or tear, there shouldn't be any tiny holes unless someone has intentionally damaged them.
When condoms break, it’s usually because:
- Space for semen wasn’t left at the tip of the condom
- The condoms are out-of-date
- The condoms have been exposed to heat or sunlight
- The condoms have been torn by teeth or fingernails
If the condom broke, even if you didn’t feel anything, sperm may have still entered the vagina. If you think you might be pregnant—or if your period is late—be sure to take a pregnancy test or contact a health care professional who can give you one. If it’s early enough after the condom broke, you can use emergency contraception as a backup; emergency contraception or EC is a method of birth control that stops pregnancy from happening. It’s not meant to be used as your primary method of birth control—but we all know that accidents (like the condom breaking) happen, so it's best to know about this method before you need it.
Can I Get Pregnant If...
Can a girl get pregnant from being drunk?
Being drunk won't make you pregnant by itself, but it may lead to you making more risky decisions than you would when you were sober; decisions like having unprotected sex. If you use birth control it can protect you from unplanned pregnancy. 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.
Can I get pregnant if he orgasms, but I don’t?
Yes! If there is ejaculate inside the vagina, pregnancy is possible. Here is a great video on how pregnancy happens.
Can I get pregnant if I have sex on ovulation day?
Sperm can live inside you for anywhere from 2 to 5 days after you have sex and it's hard to know when exactly you're ovulating because it doesn't happen at the exact same time every month. Likewise, even if it was just the tip or he didn’t ejaculate, there may be sperm in pre-cum.
So while the probabilities of getting pregnant may be low, the possibilities are there. Better safe than sorry, so be prepared ahead of time with birth control. Use our Birth Control Explorer to learn more about all the methods available to you. It’s a great idea to use a super effective method like the IUD or implant along with condoms, so you’re protected against pregnancy and STIs.
Can I get pregnant if he went in just a couple of times?
Whenever there's semen present (in either cum or precum) there's a chance of pregnancy. So even if sex didn't last for very long there's still a chance of pregnancy. You may want to check in with a health care provider and get tested for STIs and pregnancy. Better safe than sorry, right? Plus, they 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. (Hint: 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.
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.
Can I get pregnant if I haven't had sex, but just touching?
Pregnancy happens when a man's sperm meets with a woman's egg. If you're not engaging in any behavior that would result in that (penetrative sex, cum play, etc.) then nope, you can't get pregnant from just touching!
Can I get pregnant if he fingers me with semen on his finger?
Anytime semen is near the vagina—whether it’s on you or your boyfriend’s hand—there’s a possibility it could get inside and cause a pregnancy. But the situation described is not one that is particularly good for sperm. Sperm live longest in warm, moist environments, like a woman’s body. In fact, after ejaculation, sperm can live in the vagina for up to five days! In contrast, sperm outside the body may only last minutes to a few hours because the semen dries out and the sperm die.
Your best best is to make sure you’re protected with birth control. There are so many birth control options, so check out our Birth Control Explorer and have a chat with your doctor to find a method that works for you.
He came before then wiped it off, we had sex again with another condom but that one ripped inside of me and his penis was exposed inside of me. Could I get pregnant?
Anytime semen is near the vagina—whether it’s on your boyfriend’s hand or inside a broken condom—there’s a possibility it could get inside and cause a pregnancy. You may want to check in with a health care provider and get tested for STIs and pregnancy. Better safe than sorry, right? Plus, they 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. (Hint: 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.
Can you get somebody pregnant if there's semen but you both were still dressed?
Sperm live longest in warm, moist environments, like a woman’s body. In fact, after ejaculation, sperm can live in the vagina for up to five days (which is why you CAN get pregnant during your period)! In contrast, sperm outside the body may only last minutes to a few hours because the semen dries out and the sperm die. So it’s a lot less likely you’ll get someone pregnant with all of those layers. If she is worried, she can take a pregnancy test or meet with her health care professional. Need to find a health center? We can help!
Can I get pregnant if he puts a condom on at the end but not the beginning?
You or your partner needs to wear a condom the entire time you are having sex in order for it to be effective. There’s always a chance that he may cum, and there can be semen in pre-cum as well. Make sure you know how to use a condom the right way before having sex.
Can you get pregnant if there's semen inside you, but he only put the tip in?
Great question! If there is ejaculate (cum) inside the vagina, pregnancy is possible. Sperm can survive in the body for up to six days after ejaculation. If ovulation occurs during this time and an egg is released, a pregnancy can result. Here is a great video on how pregnancy happens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can I get pregnant from pre-cum?
It’s possible. Pre-cum (aka pre-ejaculate), is a clear fluid that comes of the penis before ejaculation. While it has less than regular ejaculate, pre-cum may have sperm in it—meaning it could put you at risk for pregnancy. And if you’re not using a condom, you’re also at risk for STIs.
Better safe than sorry, so be prepared ahead of time with birth control. Use our Birth Control Explorer to learn more about all the methods available to you. It’s a great idea to use a super effective method like the IUD or implant along with condoms, so you’re protected against pregnancy and STIs.
Can you get pregnant on your period?
Yes! Any time that you have sex—even during your period—there’s a chance you’ll get pregnant, especially if you’re having unprotected sex. You’re most likely to get pregnant around the time of ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary), but is possible to get pregnant at any time during your cycle. Many women have irregular period cycles or unpredictable ovulation, and it’s especially common for teens to have irregular cycles. Plus, sperm can stay alive and swimming in the body for days after sex.
If you’re having sex, your best bet is to use birth control—ideally, use a hormonal method and a condom (to help prevent STIs as well as pregnancy). There’s a ton of birth control methods out there, so check out our Birth Control Explorer to find one that works best for you.
Crushing, Dating, and Everything in Between
My best friend and I had sex and now it's #awkward. What should I do? Can we have a no strings attached relationship? Can we just be friends?
Both of these are viable options for you, but you can't make the decision by yourself. You and your friend need to talk about what happened and decide what to do going forward. We get that it probably feels super awkward right now and there's not too much you can do to get around that fact. It might help to remember that your best friend is likely feeling just as awkward as you are though and start your conversation by saying out loud that you're feeling a little embarrassed/uncomfortable just to get it out there.
If your best friend is supposedly dating your crush that you want to ask out what do you do?
That's a tricky situation. Since this is your best friend, it's probably best to prioritize your friendship over your crush. Since you're not sure if they're dating you need to talk to your best friend to find out. If they are, you owe it to your friend to back off. If they're not, you and friend will have to talk about if it's ok for you to ask your crush out or if your crush is off limits to both of you. Remember that your relationship with your best friend is like a relationship with a romantic partner; the key to any relationship is to make sure that it’s healthy—that both parties are happy and that they support and care for each other.
Friends with benefits with my ex? Is that a good idea?
Being friends with benefits with anyone is pretty risky business. First of all, if you’re sexually active you could be exposing yourself to risking STIs—this means it’s even more important to use a condom (internal or external) every time.
Emotionally, it can be hard to have any type of physical relationship without developing feelings. In this case, it might be extra difficult since you’ve already had such a close emotional connection. Becoming friends with benefits may uncover some feelings you thought you’d left behind, and even if you can handle the arrangement your ex may start getting confused. If either of you are jealous, that’s another thing to consider.
One or both of you could be thinking that this may be a step to getting back together, so think about if that’s something you’d really want. Take some time now to consider why your relationship ended and why you want to be friends with benefits. Think about how this arrangement will be different, hopefully better, from your past relationship.
There’s a lot to think about if you want to try this arrangement so it’s really important to figure out your feelings first and follow it up with an open and honest conversation about how you two got to where you are today, as well as the potential consequences.
How do you get over someone who doesn't love you back?
Getting over someone who doesn’t love you is always tough, and it’s totally okay to feel sad. It’s a great idea to ask your friends to help you keep your mind off of heartbreak, whether you guys get together for a movie night, or try something new like sledding or a painting class. It might also help to unfriend or unfollow the person on social media, even if it’s just temporary. Constantly seeing their status updates can make it hard to get over someone!
How do I get my ex back?
If you already dated and broken up, but you're interested in trying again it might make sense to start off by reforming your friendship. Then you could bring up the topic of moving from a friendship back to a relationship, although there’s a possibility that he doesn’t feel the same way as you anymore. On the other hand, he might not have thought of the possibility. The only way to know for sure how he’s feeling is to ask, even though it can be a little scary to bring that topic up. But remember, there’s no way to make someone like you—and besides, you deserve to be with someone who likes you for you (without having to convince them)!
When is the right time to start dating?
There is no right or wrong time to date. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to be in a relationship, and those reasons are very personal.
Whether you have someone in mind or not, when you're thinking about if you're ready here are a few questions to consider: Why do you want to be in a relationship? What do you need emotionally from your partner? How does your ideal partner make you feel about yourself? Regardless of whether your relationship is long term or only lasts for a few weeks, it’s important to feel that you have a safe place and a partner you trust.
How do you make someone fall in love with you?
There’s no way to make someone like or love you—and besides, you deserve to be with someone who likes you for you (without having to convince them)!
But if you want to get to know someone better (a great first step to dating someone and giving them a chance to love you), try to find something that you have in common, whether it’s a class that you have together, a sports team that you both root for, or a TV show that you both obsess over. It might seem cheesy, but that’s really the best way to strike up a conversation. Everyone likes to talk about things that they enjoy, and even if it seems a little bit awkward, that might be the best way to start a conversation with the person you love.
How do I make someone like me if they don't like me back?
There’s no way to make someone like you if they don’t. It seems like it would make everything a lot easier sometimes if there were something you could do to make your crush notice you, but in reality, you deserve to be in a relationship with someone who likes you for being you. Crushes are really hard, but sometimes you just have to make peace with the fact that someone doesn’t like you and move on to someone new. There is someone out there who will like you just as much as you like them, without you having to convince them!
How can you tell if a guy is flirting or it is just his personality?
Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure is to ask. You can also ask yourself some questions. Does he seem to go out of his way to talk to you? Does it seem like he tries to make conversations last longer? Do you guys have a snap streak or does he like all your Instagram posts? Other signs of flirting sometimes include prolonged eye contact, little touches (like touching your shoulder or lower back), and inside jokes.
I've had a crush on this guy for over a year and I think he likes me, but I can't quite tell. How can I tell?
Crushes are tough, especially if you’ve been crushing on a guy for a while. It can be really frustrating if you’re not sure how the other person feels, especially if they give you mixed signals. It can be really scary, but the only way to know for sure how this guy feels is to ask him. You don’t have to make it a high pressure conversation, but try to be honest with him about how you’re feeling, and that you still want to be friends no matter what. He might not feel the same way, but at least you’ll know for sure! You might be nervous as you’re telling him, but it will be a relief to finally talk about the crush you’ve had for so long and to know for sure where you stand with this guy so that you can move forward.
I made out with my friend's ex, and she confronted us. What should I do?
Getting between a friend and her ex can be a tricky situation and she’s probably feeling really hurt. She might think it’s too soon or her ex is off-limits, but the only way that you can know for sure what she’s thinking is to have an honest conversation with her. It’s tempting to hide your actions to protect your friend, but it can hurt even more if she finds out from someone else—which it sounds like she might have. Exes don’t have to be off-limits forever, but you owe it to your friend to be honest and figure out together if she can be okay with the hookup. If she still has feelings for her ex, you might need to decide if the new relationship is worth losing a friendship.
The Real Deal about STIs
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.
Are condoms the only form of protection against STIs?
External condoms and internal condoms are the only birth control methods that also provide STI protection (besides abstinence, of course). If you want to be extra protected against pregnancy too, you can use them with a hormonal birth control method (like the pill, the implant, or an IUD). Visit our Birth Control Explorer to check out all of the birth control options available to you.
Can you catch a STI if you've already had it?
You can, yes. You can catch some STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis as many times as you're exposed to them. And if you and your partner(s) don't wait until after treatment has fully cleared all of the bacteria or parasites from your body, you could pass the disease back and forth. Some STIs you can only get once, but that's because they have no cure. If you get HIV or herpes it's usually yours for life.
This is why using condoms (the only form of birth control that protects against STIs) is so important!
My partner and I had oral sex and it was both of our first time, is there any chance I could have gotten STIs?
Great question. Anytime you have oral sex, STI transmission is a risk. While it is unlikely that this scenario would result in an STI, it's best to check with your health care provider, get tested, and know fore sure!
What STIs are there?
There are a load of different kinds of STIs, but they can be divided into three main categories; bacterial, viral, and parasitic. The five most common STIs are HPV, genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDs. The only form of birth control that protects against STIs are condoms, so make sure you practice safe sex by using them!