Most boys and girls in their late teens are sexually active even in a country like Sri Lanka where such things are taboo and ignored in the hopes that it will go away. Precisely, due to this reason, most of these teenagers are ignorant about the consequences of having unprotected sex. There are many a myth surrounding this particular subject, and most teens who are sexually active believe they are true.

Thus, this week’s FYI will focus on debunking these myths solely For Your Information.

MYTH: Everyone at my school is having sex.
FACT: The average age when people start having sex is 17. And even once people start having sex, most teens don’t have sex very often. In fact, 30 per cent of people haven’t had sex by the time they turn 20. So it’s normal to wait until you’re older to have sex.

MYTH: You can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex.
FACT:  You can get pregnant anytime you have vaginal sex. If you’re having sex without birth control, you can get pregnant — whether it’s the first time or the 100th time. It’s even possible to get pregnant before you have your first period. Bottom line: if you’re going to have vaginal sex, use birth control to prevent pregnancy.

MYTH: You can’t get pregnant during your period.
FACT:  It’s not super common, but it’s possible to get pregnant during your period. This is because sperm can hang around in your reproductive organs for SIX whole days, waiting for one of your eggs to come out.

MYTH: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex in the water.
FACT:  Lots of babies have been made in pools and hot tubs. You get zero protection from pregnancy by having sex in a pool, bath, or shower. That’s because the sperm are still getting in the vagina during sex.

However, sometimes people are scared of getting pregnant from swimming in a pool for fear that a guy may have ejaculated in it. That’s not going to happen. Sperm can’t do the backstroke through the pool water, into a vagina, and cause a pregnancy.

MYTH: Birth control doesn’t really work.
FACT:  When used correctly, lots of birth control methods are super effective, more than 99 per cent effective, at preventing pregnancy. But if you don’t use birth control correctly, it doesn’t work as well.

Some methods, like the IUD and implant are easy to use correctly; they’re placed in your body and do their thing without the chance that you could mess it up. Other methods, like the pill, are a little harder because you have to remember to take it every day, try not to miss any pills, and keep getting your new packs on time. If you miss pills, you’re at risk of pregnancy.

Condoms are 98 per cent effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly. And condoms are also the best way to avoid STDs. But you have to put the condom on before you start having sex, and keep it on the entire time you’re having sex. While condoms can break, this usually happens because they’re used wrong. Using extra lubricant with a condom helps keep it from breaking.

The best thing to do is to use both a condom and another birth control method.

MYTH: You’d know if you (or your partner) had an STD.
FACT:  Most people who have an STD never have symptoms. So, just because you and your partner don’t have symptoms, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about STDs. People with STDs can pass them to others, even if they feel fine. And if left untreated, some STDs can turn into really dangerous infections and even lead to permanent damage (like infertility).

The only way to know if you have an STD is to get tested. Getting tested for STDs is quick and easy.

MYTH: Getting an STD is the end of the world.
FACT: A lot of STDs (like gonorrhea and chlamydia) can be cured with simple antibiotics you get from the doctor. These curable, bacterial STDs work just like strep throat — easily fixed in a week or so with medicine.

STDs that are caused by viruses — like HIV, HPV, herpes and hepatitis — can’t be cured. These viral STDs work more like the flu or mono — there’s no cure, but there is treatment to help with the symptoms. People with viral STDs can live long, healthy lives with the help of their doctor.