Having sex when you're a teen is a big deal. Whether you're curious about losing your virginity or contemplating doing it with a new person, it's a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly... and it definitely shouldn't be decided in the heat of the moment. Here are a few things to consider if you're thinking about having sex on prom night.
Have you talked to your potential partner about birth control?
Any time you have sex, there is a possibility of pregnancy. It can be prevented, of course, by using proper birth control... and you should discuss what method you're going to use with your partner. Are you or your partner on the birth control pill? Do you have condoms? What type of birth control is right for you? You should have this discussion before you have sex... even before you start fooling around. If you haven't discussed this with your partner, or you're not comfortable talking about it, then you're not ready to have sex on prom night. Here's some info about choosing birth control to help you decide which kind is right for you.
Do you know about STDs (or STIs) and how to prevent them?
Having sex (especially unprotected sex) can result in getting an STD or STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection). No one is immune and anyone can get them. It's important to know exactly how STDs are spread and the different types of STIs. You can read up on STDs here... or ask an adult you feel comfortable talking to about this (like your doctor, a family member or health teacher). Make sure you have all the facts about STDs, and know how to reduce the risk of getting them. Yes, condoms are effective... but know that they only work 85% of the time, according to About.com's Guide to Contraception, Dawn Stacey M.Ed, LMHC.
Do you have a plan if one of you gets pregnant or gets an STD?
Even if you use protection, accidents can happen. Make sure you have a plan for if you get pregnant or get an STD. You should know whether you'd want to deal with having a baby or having an abortion. You should have your doctor's phone number at the ready in case you do get a disease.
Would you be okay if your partner decided to dump you?
Having sex is very intimate. It's the closest you can physically get to someone. But, just because you have sex doesn't mean that you and your partner will be together forever. Are you okay with sharing an intimate moment with someone who might not be in your life next year, next month or even (it's unfortunate, but it happens) next week? Think about it.
Are you comfortable being that close to someone?
Like I just said, sex is very intimate. Ask yourself if you're comfortable being that close to someone, and if you're ready for all the emotions that will come with it. Your emotions might be running wild afterward... are you prepared for that? If the answer is no, you're not ready.
Is your partner the right one?
Whether you're having sex for the first time or the tenth, it's important to have it with the right person. Ask yourself: Do you trust them? Do they treat you with respect? Will they be kind to you before, during and after you have sex? The answer to all of these questions should be yes.
Are you sober?
Drinking or doing drugs on prom night isn't cool... and I'm sure you already know that it's illegal, even though some teens will do it anyway. You shouldn't have sex if you've been drinking or doing drugs. Alcohol and drugs impair your judgement, and you should be completely clear-headed when you decide whether or not to have sex. It's a big decision and you want to make sure you're making it when you're 100-percent YOU... not a you that's under the influence.
Is it legal?
In the U.S., the age of consent differs from state to state. Know the laws before you dive in. Here's an age of consent chart that breaks it down by state.
It's okay to say no.
Remember, it's your body and it's your choice what to do with it. You can say no whether you just don't feel like it, you want to slow things down with your partner, you don't like it, you're uncomfortable, or for any other personal reason. You can always say no to having sex... even if you have said yes before.
So, are you ready to have sex on prom night? There's more to it than just this article. Take this quiz: Are You Ready to Have Sex? and do some more reading by checking out this article: What is Sex, Exactly? Five Types of Sex, Explained.