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Sexual Health: Overview

By HERWriter
 
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This morning, a friend was discussing how angry she was when she discovered her 13 year-old son had already at sex. Not only was she angry, she was quite unprepared to discuss sexual health with her young son.

The American Medical Association (AMA) reported that "a 2010 article in Pediatrics noted that more than 40 percent of children have sexual intercourse before talking with their parents about issues as important as condom use, choice of birth control and symptoms of sexually transmitted illnesses."

Needless to say, I was not shocked until I reflected on my childhood. What was I doing at 13 years old? At that age, I was clueless about sex. I didn’t know whether to wind my butt or scratch my watch at 13 years old.

I was a late bloomer and my parents would rather eat a glass sandwich than talk to me about sexual health. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation 85 percent of parents surveyed thought they talked with their teens about sex "often or very often." The foundation also stated that 58 percent of teens in the survey said they talked with parents about sex "never or not often."

Unfortunately, my sex education was derived from conversations with my teenage girlfriends. And I received some misinformation. One myth I was told when I was in my preteens was "if you have sex on a full moon, you’d have a baby." Even today, you will find oodles of misinformation about sex health on the Internet.

Here are some common myths about sexual health:

• You can only have an orgasm through vaginal sex
• You can re-use a condom
• You can use plastic wrap as a condom or dental dam
• You can get herpes from a toilet seat
• A Pap smear tests for sexually transmitted diseases
• You can become infected with HIV through a mosquito bite
• It is not safe to have sex when you have a headache
• Cold sores are not contagious
• You cannot be allergic to sex
• The condom is the most effective type of birth control

Also, it is very important that we talk to our children about sexual health. According to the AMA, "Preteens whose parents communicate openly about sex are more likely to ask parents for help with other tough issues."

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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