We’re sure you’re well used to listening to the adults in your life telling you how to keep yourself safe. When you were a kid, for example, you needed guidance on how to cross a road safely. That’s fair enough, as you’d be fairly screwed if you were left to do it yourself. It could be about any number of different things given the age you are now, but I bet you’re well used to hearing input from others about how you should behave.
Don’t go out without a coat!
We’re not moving until you put that seatbelt on!
Be sure you’re home before it’s dark!
Since the pandemic began, however, more of our conversations than ever before have been about ways to keep ourselves and each other safe from harm.
Wear a mask!
Wash your hands!
Get the vaccine!
Given that adults – particularly parents – are so often telling you how to stay safe, you might assume they’d be talking non-stop to you about safe sex and the importance of sexual health. After all, you’re reaching a stage in your life where it’s totally normal to start having sexual experiences of your own. You’re old enough to be at least thinking about these experiences, so you’d think the adults in your life would be preparing you as much as they can to ensure you stay safe.
Is this what’s actually happening!?
As you probably know by now, not all adults are comfortable having these conversations with young people. Many parents struggle to know when to bring these topics up for conversation themselves. And, let’s be honest here, not every teenager is mad about the prospect of having detailed chats with their mum or dad about condoms, unplanned pregnancies or genital warts!
Just because these conversations can be awkward to have, however, or that it’s easier to avoid them, it doesn’t mean it’s the healthy or advisable thing to do.
The truth is that people can have really satisfying, enjoyable, healthy and safe sexual experiences all the time. It’s just a matter of knowing how to! Like wearing a helmet on a motorcycle or a seatbelt on a plane, there are certain things you do to protect your health without even thinking. What you should really do – and I know this sounds like just another adult telling you what to do – is make sure you learn all the ways to keep yourself and your partners safe during every kind of sexual activity you have with one another. All you need is the right kind of guidance and go from there!
Thankfully, you’ll find out all the information you need on this topic in section 6.