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Dr. Ashton's Five Simple Rules for a Healthy Sex Life

By Jennifer Ashton, M.D., Ob-Gyn with Christine Larson
WebMD Feature by “The Body Scoop for Girls”

 

1. Never tell your boyfriend you’re on the pill.

Did You Know?

Teen Girls Face the Highest Rate of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence—be it stranger rape, date rape, or abuse by a family member or other acquaintance—is never, ever the victim’s fault. It’s a violent crime that has absolutely nothing to do with what the victim wore, said, or did. Sadly, these terrible acts of violence happen more often to teen girls than any other group of people. If you’re a victim of sexual violence (defined as any physical or verbal act that’s sexual in nature and violates your trust and/or your safety), please know that this is not your fault. Many victims of sexual violence feel guilty and ashamed and have trouble trusting people. You deserve help. Many communities have rape crisis centers with twenty-four-hour hotlines, and any teen being abused can contact the twenty-four-hour National Child Abuse Hotline for help: 1-800-422-4453. For more information, visit www.childhelp.org.

More Facts About Sexual Violance

  • A woman is four times more likely to be raped by someone she knows than by a stranger.
  • Women ages fourteen to seventeen represent an estimated 38 percent of those victimized by date rape.
  • Dating violence affects at least one in ten teen couples.
  • More than half of high school boys and 42 percent of high school girls believe there are times when it is “acceptable for a male to hold a female down and physically force her to engage in intercourse.” But let me be very clear: It is, in fact, NEVER acceptable for anyone to force you to have intercourse. Not physically. Not emotionally. No one has the right to make you do anything you don’t want to do.

Yes, you heard me right. I’m telling you to lie to your boyfriend. Because, I promise you, if he knows you’re on the pill or another form of birth control, he won’t use a condom every time. And you always need to use two forms of birth control—one to prevent pregnancy), plus condoms to avoid sexually transmitted infections.

Remember, it only takes one time to get an STI. My patient Julia learned this the hard way. After a very sheltered upbringing, she went to college, where she went a little wild. She started drinking and partying—and the very first guy she slept with gave her chlamydia.

So, as I advise all my patients, don’t tell your boyfriend you’re on the pill or other birth control. If he asks why you’re not, tell him you get migraines or you have a clotting disorder, so you can’t take birth control hormones. Yeah, it’s a white lie. So what? What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. And it can help you—a lot.

2. Tell your mother (or father) when you’re sexually active.

I urge my patients to tell their parents when they start having sex. Parents might not be thrilled, but it’s their job to know about anything that could affect your health and safety. And, awkward as it is, most moms want to know on some level. Given how hard it is for them to bring up the topic, parents may actually be relieved when you tell them.

3. If you want to engage in adult behaviors, you need to act like an adult.

Sex is an adult behavior that requires other adult behaviors—many of which aren’t all that fun. Those include seeing a gynecologist regularly— complete with stirrups, speculum, and regular pelvic exams. It also means being willing to start awkward conversations, like talking with your boyfriend about STIs and birth control and letting your parents know what’s happening.

4. Never do anything you don’t want to do.

Thanks, Dad! This is still one of the very best pieces of sexual advice I’ve ever heard. The sad fact is that one in four women will be abused at some time during her life. So I want you to know right now that no one has the right to ever hurt you or force you into sexual activities you don’t want. If it happens, I want you to tell your doctor, your parents, or someone else you trust right away. Don’t feel bad or ashamed—just get checked out to make sure you’re OK.

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