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prevention

All the Barriers! All the Time!

Everything you'll probably ever need to know about safer sex barriers, like which to use, how to use them, how to get more comfortable with them, and how surprisingly cute they are.

After Contraception or Commitment, Why You Still Gotta Rock Safer Sex

We sometimes deal with a tough situation in direct service: a user comes in, and reports having contracted an STI; a user who also isn't a first-time user of our site or services, and who, in a previous conversation with us about pregnancy risks, blew off also talking about STIs and safer sex and turned down help we offered to them to reduce their STI risks, not just pregnancy risks.

When this happens, a person like this will usually be very upset about having contracted an STI, often angry, and even mystified about how this happened to them. Of course, we're rarely mystified and also are not usually surprised this happened, since we already identified risks of STIs when we were talking with them in the past, which is why we brought the importance of safer sex up with them in the first place.

This is one of those things where there's no joy or pride in being right: it stinks to be right about someone getting any kind of illness and being unhappy. Even though the majority of STIs are t

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The Testing Diaries: Robin

Do you feel anxious about the idea of getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases? Some of our readers certainly do.

Some never had adequate sex-education and did not realize that sexual activity with a partner -- and not just anal or vaginal intercourse -- can pose STI risks in the first place. Some are not sure where to go for testing or how to ask for it. Others feel uncomfortable discussing STIs with a partner or potential partner. We get it: this stuff can be hard, and it is usually not the kind of thing where someone just takes us by the hand and leads us through.

This is why we're doing this series at Scarleteen. In it, some of our volunteers share their own stories of how they deal with different aspects of STI testing and reproductive healthcare.

Ten years ago, I knew about using lube, about making first-time intercourse comfortable, and about pregnancy prevention options, but it seems I didn’t know much about sexually transmitted infections.

My partner at

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UTI from birth control? What are my other options?

Audrey asks:

I am 22, I have been on the contraceptive pill since I first became sexually active at age 15. I have REALLY regular UTIs (I always pee and drink water after sex etc) and have been on antibiotics for that quite alot. I also experience a hightened sex-drive if I go off the pill even for a few weeks. I feel like, even though my GP doesn't even consider it, that my UTIs might be due the contraceptive pill.

New Study Finds Long-Acting Contraceptives Much More Effective Than Pills (Especially for Those Under 21)

We're posting this across all of our channels, because it's mondo important.

From Reuters, today (bolding, ours):

A large real-life test of birth control methods found more U.S. women got pregnant while using short-acting methods such as pills, patches and vaginal rings — and the failure rate was highest when they were used by women under 21.

In a new study published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, about 7,500 women and teens in the St. Louis area were allowed to pick from a variety of contraception methods at no cost.

Over the course of the study — more than three years for women who completed all follow-up interviews — participants had a total of 334 unintended pregnancies. For the full study, see: bit.ly/KdMCQp

“We found that participants using oral contraceptive pills, a transdermal patch or a vaginal ring had a risk of contraceptive failure that was 20 times as high as the risk among those using long-acting reversible contraception,” said the research team, l

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Safer Sex: Do Women Sleeping with Women Need It?

absolutelyapple asks:

My girlfriend and I (I'm a chick) are both virgins. Is there any point in us using a dental dam when/if we have oral sex?

The Simple and Underrated Art of Washing Your Hands

Handwashing, seriously? Yep, handwashing. Seriously. (Well, mostly seriously.) Here's how to do it and why it's so important to do.

The Truth Behind the Trope: Understanding the Realities of Teen Parenthood and Teen Pregnancy Prevention

What do we know about teen parents? Take a moment to make a mental list (or, if you’re motivated to get out a pen and paper, I won’t stop you) of all the facts and statistics you’ve heard.

In case you’re coming up short, I’ll give you a few:

  • Most teen parents drop out of high school.
  • Only 2% of teen parents will graduate from college by age 30.
  • Many teen parents will end up on welfare, costing tax payers billions of dollars nationwide.
  • The children of teen parents are more likely to fail a grade in school. Their sons are more likely to go to jail. Their daughters are more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
  • The relationships of teen parents almost always fail, leaving teen mothers to be single parents.

You can read more here or here or here or watch any episode of 16 and Pregnant that features Dr. Drew. He’ll usually cover most of these points before the hour is up – while interviewing young people who are actually parenting.

Beyond these “facts”, we hear plenty of othe

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When you use the pill, do you still have to use condoms?

Kori_Sanchez asks:

I'm and 18 years old and have been having sex for a year and been on the pill for about a year. I take my birth control like a ritual at the same time every day (the combination pill). Sometime my boyfriend and I don't use a condom in the beginning to get him hard then we always put one on. My question is, when on the pill do you absolutely have to use condoms? They say that every time you have sex you NEED to use a condom. I know it is the most effective way, but I thought that the one of the points of the pill is so you don't need to use a condom.

Out, Out Damn UTI!

amberbug asks:

Could not cleaning myself a certain way after sex be causing my frequent urinary tract infections? What is the proper way to clean myself after sex (we use condoms and KY)?

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.