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I'm worried that something might have gone wrong!

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ludaluvaa asks:

Okay, I am 14 years old and my boyfriend is 16. I'm a virgin and we were trying to have sex. I'm so scared that I'm pregnant because I keep thinking that there was sperm on his finger when he fingered me. I just finished my period about two days ago. Even if there wasn't sperm on his finger, I keep thinking that there might have been a hole in the condom! I can't even think of anything else! I am so scared and the pills is over $39.99 and I can't talk to my mom about it because she will make a big deal about it cause I sneaked out today to see him. What do i do?

Sarah replies:

The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and try to relax here. Panic rarely helps anyone, it's just not going to do you any good. So let's break down the situation and look at what's really going on here.

First, I know you're worried about the manual sex ("fingering") you participated in. Unless your partner's hand was wet with fresh ejaculate, it's unlikely you would have a risk from this. Sperm are pretty hearty, but they're not going to survive much contact with surfaces or drying out. They don't survive in an inhospitable environment (on hands, bedsheets, the wall, toilet seats, or what have you) for more than about 20 minutes. And if your partner had been touching other things (sheets, towels, you or what have you), things probably would have rubbed off there, leaving little to worry about. The best answer is always to use latex gloves for manual sex or to make sure that a partner washes his hands before coming into contact with your genitals (this also helps with preventing infection). However, from what you describe, I don't see much of a viable risk here from the manual sex, especially since you're not sure whether he even had anything on his hands.

Secondly, it sounds like you're worried about your condom. Rest assured, when condoms fail they generally fail big-time. We're talking catastrophic failures here. This happens because of all of the pressures and friction that condoms are put under. With the kind of friction involved during sexual activity, something like the "micro-tears" some people like to talk about are just not even logical to have happen (that's just a scare tactic to make people think condoms are unsafe which is quite untrue). Had your condom failed, you would have noticed (perhaps not the moment it failed, but eventually it would have become obvious).

From what you've said here, it does not sound like you've had a risk since your condom did not fail (as long as you used it for all genital contact). You mention that you've had your period, but not whether it was prior to this sexual activity or afterward. If it was after you were sexually active, then you can be sure that you're not pregnant as it is not possible to have a full (real) period and be pregnant at the same time. If you have not had your period yet, then you can take a pregnancy test once it's been at least 10 days since you had sex if that will help you relax.

My bigger concern here is that a lot of the things you are writing really make it sound like this may not be a good time for you to be sexually active. Remember that sex of any sort is 100% optional here. You are not required to participate in these activities and if it is causing you this kind of stress, then quite frankly it's not worth it. Sex should not be stressful. If pregnancy is this much of a worry for you, then that you need to do something to alleviate those worries. Obviously, the best way to avoid all pregnancy (or STI) concerns is to avoid sexual activities that could lead to a pregnancy risk all-together. Abstaining completely is the only thing that's going to provide you with a 100% assurance that you're not going to become pregnant. If you do wish to be sexually active, then you need to find a method (or methods) of protection that you feel comfortable with. Condoms (properly used for all genital contact, correctly stored and applied, with extra lube, etc.) provide excellent protection. If you want further protection, you may wish to back them up with another method like a hormonal contraceptive (like the pill, patch, ring, or injection) or a non-hormonal option like a diaphragm, cervical cap, or Lea's Shield. By combining proper condom use with another method (as described above) will provide you with as much protection as possible (other than completely abstaining, of course). Emergency contraception should also be available to you by prescription from your doctor or local clinic.

If you are finding that you and your partner cannot afford contraceptives that you feel comfortable with, then the best thing to do is forgo sexual activity until you've saved up enough cash to cover your sexual health needs. Being sexually active is a big responsibility and it does have costs associated with it. If you are going to be sexually active, then you (and your partner) need to be able to obtain sexual health care. As a sexually active woman, you should be having a full PAP smear and STI screening yearly (and you may wish to have/need STI screenings more often than that). Your partner should also be getting checked at least yearly. This is important preventative care. Also, understand that treating an STI or dealing with an unplanned pregnancy (no matter whether you decide on abortion, parenting, or adoption) costs a pretty significant amount of money. So if you are having trouble with EC costing $40, how do you plan to pay for other things that may come up? Again, if you have have concerns about affording the health care that you need and that will make you comfortable and safe, then it's wise to not be sexually active until you've got those bases covered. If you're going to be sexually active, then you need to be ready to act as an adult and get the care you need and take the precautions you need to take to keep yourself and your partner(s) safe.

We're also always concerned about people who are sneaking around and hiding things from their parents. Relationships that require you to sneak around and hide from others are rarely the best idea. Parents are also not stupid, things that you try to hide generally come out in the end. And often, when they do come out, they're a bigger deal than they would have been if you had just been open and honest in the first place. So unless you're literally afraid for your life or physical safety, confiding in your mom (or another trusted adult) would be wise so that they can also support you when you do have issues like this.

I'm also going to link you to several articles that I think may be helpful for you. They discuss things like sexual readiness, talking to a partner about sex, risk, and protection. Hopefully they may provide you with some other information to address your concerns.

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Worried about a possible pregnancy? You're not alone: most people who've had sex that presents a risk of pregnancy (or who have been sexually assaulted) have experienced a scare at some point. Heck...

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