I’m 16 and I’ve been with my boyfriend for a while and I think we’re ready for sex. I don’t think a condom is enough protection…

…which is why I want to go on the pill too.  How long after I get the pill do I have to wait before I can have sex?

First of all, great job taking control of your sexual health!

It’s a great idea to consider condoms  and dental dams when you’re thinking about engaging in sexual activities. If used correctly and consistently, condoms can help prevent pregnancy and STI transmission by up to 98%!

Even if you are using condoms, it’s still important to think about starting a birth control method if you are engaging in the type of sex that can result in pregnancy. The pill is a great option for someone who can remember to take a pill at the same time every day! If taken correctly and consistently, the pill can be anywhere from 92-99% effective in helping prevent pregnancy. Teen Clinic offers the pill along with quite a few other methods that can help prevent unplanned pregnancy. Here are some examples of methods we provide and a little bit information about each one!

  1. Abstinence– abstaining from oral, vaginal, and anal sex is the only way to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs 100% of the time
  2. Condoms, etc.– Male (external) condoms, female (internal) condoms, and dental dams help to reduce your risk of unplanned pregnancy and STIs
  3. Birth Control Pills (estrogen, progesterone, and a combination of both)-  take every day at the same time
  4. Birth Control Patch (Ortho Evra)- change every week
  5. Birth Control Ring (Nuvaring)- change every month
  6. Birth Control Shot (Depo Provera)- receive every 3 months
  7. Birth Control Implant (Nexplanon)-  effective for 3 years
  8. Intrauterine Device/IUD Hormonal (Mirena)-effective for 5 years
  9. Intrauterine Device/IUD Non-hormonal (Paragard)- effective for 10 years

With any hormonal form of birth control, you will need to abstain from sexual acts where pregnancy can occur for one week. It takes one week for the hormones to take full effect and start helping to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Even after this first week though, Teen Clinic recommends using condoms and dental dams to help reduce your risk of transmitting an STI.

Another important thing to think about is consent. Consent is when people agree to a sexual activity without pressure, force or without being tricked. Anyone involved in the activity must be comfortable and feel safe.  Another thing to think about is your “readiness.” It’s important that someone feels emotionally and physically ready for any type of sexual activity. Knowing the risks, knowing a partner and knowing yourself are key parts of readiness.

Know that you have the right to change your mind at any moment. Even if you’ve consented to an activity once, it doesn’t automatically mean you consent every time after that!

At the end of the day, it’s your body—and you have the right to make decisions that work for you. Teen Clinic encourages everyone to talk with a trusted adult – whether that’s a parent, another relative, a teacher, coach or clinician – if they are thinking about becoming sexually active.