During your teens you go through puberty and become sexually mature. If you're a girl, you develop breasts and begin to get your period. If you're a boy, your penis and testicles become larger. If you have sex, you could get pregnant or get someone pregnant. Whether you choose to have sex or not, it is a good idea to know about safe sex and how sex affects your health. Besides pregnancy, having sex puts you at risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease, such as herpes or genital warts, or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The only way to be completely safe is not to have sex. If you choose to have sex, however, latex condoms are the best protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms are also a form of birth control to help prevent pregnancy.
- Teen Use of Long-Term Contraception Rising, but Remains Low (04/07/2015, HealthDay)
- Dating and Sexual Feelings (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)
- Deciding to Wait (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Especially for Teens: Birth Control (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) - PDF
- Expect Respect: Healthy Relationships (American Academy of Pediatrics) Available in Spanish
- Helping Teens Resist Sexual Pressure (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Homosexuality: Facts for Teens (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Making Healthy Decisions About Sex (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Making Healthy Sexual Decisions: Talking with Your Partner (Children's Hospital Boston)
- Masturbation (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Sex Education: Talking to Your Teen about Sex (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Sex: Making the Right Decision (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Sexual Attraction and Orientation (Guys) (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- Talking to your parents about sex (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)
- Talking to Your Partner about Condoms (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- Teaching Teens To Use Condoms Faithfully (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Teen Talk: Commonly Asked Questions about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) (Office of Public Health and Science, Office of Population Affairs) - PDF
- Virginity: A Very Personal Decision (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
Health Check Tools
- Teen Sexual Behavior Calculator (University of Maryland Medical Center)
- Stay Teen: Games (National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Teen Sexual Behavior (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Association of gender norms, relationship and intrapersonal variables, and acculturation...
- Article: Childhood behavior problems and age at first sexual intercourse: a...
- Article: Prospective association between negative life events and initiation of sexual...
- Teen Sexual Health -- see more articles
- KidsHealth (Nemours Foundation)
- Sexual Health of Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation) - PDF
- Sexual Risk Behavior: HIV, STD, & Teen Pregnancy Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)