Unprotected Sex: A Big Risk for a Little Fun
Originally Published: September 26, 2008
Revised: December 10, 2013
“Don’t worry, I can just pull out.”
“I won’t even feel anything with a condom on.”
“Come on, condoms just make me softer.”
The excuses go on and on. The bottom line is that he wants to have sex with you without any protection. Luckily, I’ve never had any of these lines cooed in my ear, but I have had unprotected sex and put myself at risk. Something that feels really good in the moment can lead to regret.
I’d had sex before, but used protection. But one afternoon on the weekend of my birthday, I decided to try sex without a condom. I thought that it would feel good, and I’d heard from my friends that it feels better for guys without any protection. So I told my boyfriend to skip the condom. He was skeptical, but we did it anyway.
When we finished, I thought he pulled out and everything was OK. But he told me a few minutes later that he thought he hadn’t pulled out in time. I freaked out, but I couldn’t yell at him because I’m the one who had insisted we have unprotected sex! I felt disappointed in myself, but I couldn’t sulk. I had to act fast.
I realized that having sex without a condom isn’t worth the days or weeks of being afraid that you’re pregnant or have an STD.
At my last doctor’s appointment, I told my doctor I was having sex, and luckily, she had given me a prescription for emergency contraception (EC). So, I used my birthday money to buy EC. My boyfriend offered to give me half of the money once I found out how much it was, but I declined. Since I did insist on having sex without a condom, I took total responsibility.
As I walked to the local pharmacy, I wished my boyfriend was there with me, but he had to work. The walk was longer than usual with all of these questions flooding my head: Why couldn’t I just use a condom? What if it’s too late to take any pills? What if I’m already pregnant?
Fortunately, I wasn’t pregnant and hadn’t been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Now when I have sex with my boyfriend, we’re always super careful. He wears a condom all the time. We definitely learned our lesson. I realized that having sex without a condom isn’t worth the days or weeks of being afraid that you’re pregnant or have an STD. Feeling good and having my boyfriend feel good is great, but I’d rather figure out what feels good and also protects our sexual health.
“Pulling out”—withdrawing a penis prior to ejaculation—isn’t easy. Even if a guy pulls out, there is still a risk of pregnancy if his partner isn’t using another form of birth control. Why? There’s a chance that there is still semen inside his penis from a prior ejaculation. Or, he could withdraw and ejaculate on the opening to the vagina, which can still get his partner pregnant. And anytime a penis goes inside another person’s body, there’s a risk of spreading STDs. So pulling out isn’t a safer sex practice.
What can you do if you’ve had unprotected sex and want to get emergency contraception? People of any age can buy Plan B One-Step without a prescription over the counter at a local pharmacy. Next Choice, Next Choice One Dose, My Way and Levonorgestrel are approved for sale without a prescription to those who are 17 and older from a pharmacist. If you are 16 or younger, you will need a prescription for Next Choice, Next Choice One Dose, My Way and Levonorgestrel. The EC pill ella is only available with a prescription regardless of age.
Plan B One-Step emergency contraception is not effective at preventing pregnancy in people over 176 pounds. If you weigh over 176 pounds and need emergency contraception, you should speak to a health care provider about possibly using another emergency contraceptive pill or a copper IUD.
Even with all the information that’s out there, teens still write to Sex, Etc. worried about pregnancy when they’ve had unprotected sex, but unconcerned about STDs. Having unprotected sex with a person—regardless of the gender of the person you have sex with—can put you at risk for STDs.
Of course, not having sex is the only 100-percent effective way to avoid STDs and pregnancy. And we all know that if you’re going to have sex, the best way to reduce your risk of getting an STD is to use a condom or other latex barrier, like a Sheer Glyde Dam, each and every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
In a nutshell, I learned firsthand that having unprotected sex is a dangerous way to show your partner that you care about her or him. Take the time to slip on a condom or use a dental dam—one night of pleasure could change your life forever.
To find a Planned Parenthood near you, call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526).
Rhonda Reid is a Sex, Etc. contributor who lives in New York.
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