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:

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

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