One of the toughest decisions that a lot of teens face is whether to have sex. If people decide to have sex, it means they must also take responsibility to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The most effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence (not having sex or any intimate genital contact, including anal sex or oral sex). Those who do have sex must use condoms every time to protect against STDs. As a parent, it's important that your kids feel that they can come to you with a question about sexuality, no matter what it is. It helps if you treat it as a natural part of development, not something dirty or embarrassing. At times, kids may not feel comfortable asking parents about sex. That's OK. But it's important that they have a trusted adult — like a teacher, school counselor, school nurse, or doctor — to talk with about birth control and other issues. Birth Control Methods Couples who do decide to have sex can choose from many effective methods of birth control. Check out the articles below to learn the facts about these different options: Abstinence Birth Control Implant Birth Control Patch Birth Control Pill Birth Control Ring Birth Control Shot Cervical Cap Condoms Diaphragm Emergency Contraception (Morning-After Pill) IUD Fertility Awareness Spermicide Withdrawal Back to Articles Related Articles Questions and Answers About Sex Answering kids' questions about sex is a responsibility many parents dread. But by answering these questions honestly, parents can help foster healthy feelings about sex. Read More Sexual Development Big physical and emotional changes happen during puberty and the teen years. These articles can help you become a source of information, comfort, and support for your kids. Read More STDs Parents should learn about the most common STDs, how they spread, and how they're diagnosed and treated. Read More Talking to Your Kids About STDs Your kids need to understand how STDs spread and how to protect themselves. Here's how to talk to them about sexually transmitted diseases. Read More Sexual Orientation During the teen years, sexual feelings are awakened in new ways because of the hormonal and physical changes of puberty. It takes time for many kids to understand who they are and who they're becoming. Part of that understanding includes a person's sexual feelings and attractions. Read More When Should My Daughter First Go to the Gynecologist? Find out what the experts say. Read More Your Daughter's First Gynecology Visit The idea of going to the gynecologist may make your daughter feel nervous. Here's how to make her feel more comfortable about a well-woman visit. Read More Should Girls Who Aren't Sexually Active Be Vaccinated Against HPV? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More About Birth Control Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control. Read More Birth Control Methods: How Well Do They Work? Some birth control methods work better than others. This chart compares how well different birth control methods work. Read More Talking to Your Partner About Condoms Some people - even those who are having sex - are embarrassed by the topic of condoms. Here are some tips for talking about condoms with your partner. Read More STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself. Read More Abstinence Abstinence is the only form of birth control that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. Abstinence also protects people against STDs. Read More Virginity: A Very Personal Decision Deciding whether it's right for you to have sex is one of the most important decisions you'll ever have to make. Each person must use his or her own judgment and decide if it's the right time - and the right person. Read More Gyn Checkups Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams. Read More Do You Need a Pelvic Exam to Get Birth Control? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Irregular Periods Wondering whether it's normal to have irregular periods? Get the facts about this common problem. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.