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Author Topic: Sex.
beaver987
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Hi all,

I have a couple questions about a couple of things with my boyfriend. I used to be terrible at freaking out about pregnancy (becasue of possible precum on hands before fingering, precum soaking through boxers, etc.) and since going on the pill, it's been getting better. Things are making more sense on how it can happen.

The reason why i'm here is because of sex and the fact that I know my boyfriend of a year and a half is ready for it. Sometimes I feel like I am and sometimes I feel like i'm not.

It's crazy that the pill and condom add up for 99.98% chance against pregnancy, but when I think about it (having a baby), that .02% seems like A LOT. I've talked to one of my sexually active cousins and friends (they seem not to be worried very much at all becasue the risk is so low). When we've talked about it, we would want to do the condom/pullout/pill (when we ever did have sex).

I guess I just feel bad to keep him waiting (even though he said he'd wait until I was ready and respects my decisions----i still feel bad that I worry so much). I just don't know what to do in this situation. I feel like I don't know the reality of how effective birth control really is and the mental readiness sex.

I'd just kind of like somebody to talk to on this. I can't talk to my mom becasue she flipped out when I finally told her about me having oral sex (the very first time). She's just not somebody I can turn to.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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So, let me first make sure we're on the same page here. When you say sex, do you mean any and all kinds of sex, or only certain kinds, like the kind where a pregnancy can occur?

It sounds like you mean the latter, but I didn't want to presume.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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beaver987
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I mean vaginal sex. I've engaged in the other types before. [Smile]
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Heather
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Okay.

So, why do you feel so bad about not having one kind of sex?

In other words, what's your thinking here?

What do you think not doing that one kind means you two can't do or feel, especially if you're engaging in other kinds of sex?

And if you really don't feel all there for this yet, do you think this would be something really great, or that waiting until you do would be better? Also, do you think someone who cares about you -- and it sounds like your BF does -- would even want to have any kind of sex with you if one of your main motivations for it was guilt?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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beaver987
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I guess I just feel bad because i feel like the rest is considered forplay and we're only taking part in that. That we aren't getting to the one thing that would be pleasurable for the both of us. It always seems like vaginal sex is just the "big thing" that everybody builds up to.
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beaver987
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And for your second question, I don't think it would be the best thing to do with my anxiety about getting pregnant and he said he doesn't want to with me not being sure becasue he can only imagine how much I could be worried after getting worried about "non-pregnancy risks". I guess I'm just worried that my fear isn't going to subside with pregnancy and that I'll never be able to do it without worrying so much even though birth control is almost a 100% protectant against pregnancy...especially if I wanted to use withdrawl/pill/and condoms.

I feel like something is wrong with me if other people of long term relationships can have vaginal sex (using protection) and not worry where as I feel like I can't even though the protective rate is so high.

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Heather
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Some people consider other kinds of sex foreplay, it's true. But other people don't. I certainly don't, not personally and for sure not as someone who works in human sexuality. I consider the things some people call foreplay kinds of sex, kinds of sex where, save making babies, all the same kinds of things can be felt and experienced -- emotionally and physically -- as with penis-in-vagina intercourse.

As well, penis-in-vagina intercourse isn't pleasurable for everyone, or all the time, just like oral sex isn't or anal intercourse isn't, or kissing isn't.

Not everyone engages in vaginal intercourse. Some people never have that as part of their sex lives in a lifetime, either, including because it's just not what they or their partners want or not what their bodies can do together.

So much of the media and cultural conventions around PIV intercourse don't square well with the diversity of people's sexual realities: it being made into a big thing has a lot more to do with gender politics than it does with what people enjoy and actually do.

Of course, with younger people, it can also be made bigger because it can be something fewer young people do, so it's this thing people are aspiring to get to, something that typically makes clear in experiences with it, if and when they do happen, wasn't a sound framework, since again, just like with other kinds of sex, some folks find they like it, others don't, some folks find sometimes it's great, and other times it';s boring.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Just saw your second post.

You know, I'm happy to talk you through some of those fears and see where you're at with them.

At the same time, I'd implore you not to try and get to something just because other people can.

Some people never ever worry about driving cars, others do; some people are less concerned about certain risks than others. And really, we are all different, with different things we do and don't want in our lives, or different timelines of wants. So, one person not worrying about pregnancy and another person being very worried often has a lot to do with those kinds of differences. Know what I mean?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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beaver987
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I know what you mean. I guess it's just something that everybody makes into such a big deal that "vaginal sex" is so much better than any other types, but i'll just have to realize that other types are just as good and okay too.

I understand the second part as well with some people not worrying as much and other people that worry a lot. I've always been a worrier (with literally everything). The non-pregnancy risks (with my worrying) have gotten much better since going on the pill and I'd like to supress my worries about sex at some point as well.

It just worries me that I won't ever be able to have that type of sex until i'm married because of my anxiety (I have nothing against that, but I feel like it would be okay to have that type of sex with somebody I really love before I would be...maybe not right now but sometime down the road). I'd just really like some help on how to get rid of some of my worries considering how effective birth control really is.

It just doesn't work in my head that taking a tiny pill everyday can basically save me from having a CHILD....or a simple piece of latex can do the same thing? It just seems too easy. I just don't know how to get past these things. I'm freaked out that my body just won't work with the pill (like the .03% that get pregnant while taking it perfectly). It seems like I just have a hard time taking into consideration how effective BC is.

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Heather
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I don't know about everybody doing that, but it sounds like in your own world and circles, that's the experience you're having, and that certainly is going to amp up the pressure.

But the good news is that you aren't in a sexual relationship with everybody: just who you choose to be which, right now, sounds like with this one person. So, whatever "everybody" thinks or says they want just isn't something you need to concern yourself with. What the two of you think, want and don't, what's right for the two of you, is all you need to consider here.

I'm not sure what being married would change, unless you think that if and when you're married, being pregnant all of the time and raising loads of kids is what you'll want. otherwise, you'll probably want to space out pregnancies like most folks do, if pregnancy and parenting is something you'll want at all.

But here's the logical deal. When people use TWO reliable forms of contraception -- not just one, but two -- we know that pregnancy pretty much just doesn't happen unless folks using those methods don't use them properly. Even one very highly effective method -- like the IUD, implant or Depo -- used alone is very, very unlikely to fail. the pill used alone is more so, because there's way more room for user error, and if and when the pill fails, that's usually why: because it wasn't used properly.

I'm not sure I'm getting why you feel so mystified by the fact that we can have methods of contraception that work to prevent pregnancy: it sounds like maybe you're kind of giving conception a power that...well, isn't realistic.

To give some counter-examples, we have antibiotics that can treat infections which previously literally killed MILLIONS of people. Insulin can make diabetes a manageable illness instead of something fatal. Medications and medical devices can absolutely be highly effective at changing the way our bodies work, and it's not really mystical, it's just sound science. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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beaver987
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So, it's pretty rare when 2 methods fail when used together? I think i'm really good at taking my pill. I've never been more than 2 hours late and only use a topical antibiotic as a spot treatment for acne sometimes (which one of the members said that wouldn't make a difference). That alone would be very effective in preventing pregnancy? If I were to add condoms and the withdrawal method, it would barely even be a risk? (My boyfriend decided that he'd like to use withdrawal along with condoms to ease his mind just like me with taking the pill).

I feel like I would definitely be ready for this. It's just that I'm always worried of birth control methods failing, even if we use them pretty much perfectly (since you said that "perfect use" is only considered in a science lab).

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Heather
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You can see how rare with all the possible combinations of two methods here: The Buddy System: Effectiveness Rates for Backing Up Your Birth Control With a Second Method


I really think people discount:
• How many people in the world have no access to contraception, or don't have consistent access. For instance, can get the pill, but then a few months later, not afford to continue on time.
• How many people simply don't follow directions and don't use methods properly for other reasons.

For sure, with the pill, condoms and withdrawal, your risk is about as close to zero as it gets. Really, with the pill and condoms alone, used properly, you're there.

I wonder, too, if it might help you out to talk together about what a possible pregnancy would mean to you. In other words, what makes pregnancy so scary, especially if you live somewhere where legally, you have the right to choose not to continue a pregnancy you don't want? Sometimes unpacking the why of our big fears is what we need to do to learn to get past them OR to recognize why they're actually sound for us, and why we perhaps aren't in a position to do the things that they're about.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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beaver987
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I think the reason i'm so scared of pregnancy is because of my parents. I've told my mom about oral sex and she got SO mad. She told me that I was screwing up my life and that if I took it a step further she pretty much looked at it and told me that I would be guarenteed to get pregnant. She still looks at me like that 6 year old girl. My mom and dad are both very against abortion as well.

It scares me that I would disappoint them so much. I'm at the top of my class, in sports, have about 15 REALLY good and close friends that I could talk to about anything and my parents are so afraid of me screwing all of that up...which is why I am terrified to do it.

I guess i'm mainly worried because my mom pretty much locked in that I would get pregnant if I started having vaginal sex when I told her that i've had oral (I don't like lying to her, but i've found that I really can't talk about this subject with my family). If I did get pregnant i would rather have an extremely early abortion or give the baby up for adoption, but my mom was explaining that all three choices would be terrible decisions.

That's just kind of why i'm really scared if pregnancy would happen.

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Heather
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I can certainly see how a reaction like that would have a big impact and make you feel really scared.

But you know, let's see if we can't logically unpack some of this.

How many kids do your parents have? Ten, fifteen, more? If not, then your parents have also been employing some means of contraception which has clearly worked for them.

I also don't think that any of this means you'd be a screw up or screw up your life. By alll means, I'd really encourage you to hold off on any kind of sex you don't feel ready for, even if the reason in that someone else scared you about it. because it just doesn't make sense to do something optional when we're not all there, especially something that is about pleasure, and we can't really enjoy ourselves when we're freaking out.

As well, how your parents might feel about reproductive choices and how you feel are different things, even if you shared the same feelings. No one else can say, with any authority, what would or wouldn't be another person's right reproductive choices. We can have opinions, sure, and sometimes they're educated and sometimes they aren't, but that's still all they are" opinions.

If and when you have the legal right to, the only opinion with a reproductive choice that's really going to matter and have weight is yours.

I wonder how you think you might feel if you held off on sex that could create a pregnancy until you weren't in your folks house anymore and had some distance from them?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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beaver987
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That is what I would like to do, it's just that two more years in thier household and then finally going off to college seems like a long time away, considering how far my boyfriend and I have come in a year and a half about making decisions.
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Heather
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Have you and he talked about that?

If not, how about you do that?

When you do, I'd try and unpack some of what you each think you might be missing by not having intercourse now. If you think about it clearly and creatively, you'll likely discover together that pretty much anything people can experience with intercourse, save pregnancy, they can with other kinds of sex, too, especially if they are approaching those other kinds of sex the same way they'd approach intercourse, rather than thinking of them or treating them LIKE "foreplay" or "not real sex."

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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beaver987
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Yeah, I'll definitely talk to him about that. I guesss I'm just scared that the other kinds of sex will get boring or will be kind of the same-old-same-old when I don't want that to happen. I'd rather just keep those types fun and exciting so we don't have to try and resort to the type that would give me worries. I'm just not sure how to do that yet.
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Heather
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Well, intercourse has the capacity of becoming boring just like any other sexual activity. And really, it's not activities themselves that keep sex from becoming boring: it's whatever creativity we do -- or don't -- bring to them, any of them.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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beaver987
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Ok, I get this now. I think i really just need to realize that vaginal sex is just one of the many kinds and isn't really considered "better". It's just more of the risky types.

If I ever do decide to engage in vaginal intercourse sometime in the future (maybe in a year or two, when i'm totally and completely ready), can we talk a little about the best contraception methods? I am currently on Apri birth control. I'd just really like to have the best combinations possible for the future so I will not get pregnant until I want kids.

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Robin Lee
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HI There,

Of course when or if you ever do decide to engage in vaginal sex we can definitely talk about contraception. [Smile]

And really, yes, vaginal sex is just one kind of sex, no less or more important than any other kind of sex, especially when we're talking about partners being able to enjoy sex and connect with each other.++

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Robin

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Cricket
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Deciding what is "foreplay" and what is "real" sex is totally up to you - I've had three sexual partners in my life so far and never had PIV intercourse with any of them, but that hasn't meant that any of us have missed out on intimacy, mutual pleasure, or orgasms. Intercourse isn't the "one thing" that you can do to make sure both of you enjoy sex at the same time. The ways people enjoy sex are as varied and numerous as the number of people who have sex.
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