Birth Control and Sex Advice for Teens

Are You Prepared?

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For many high school students across the nation, it is finally time for prom! A time to get a pretty dress, buy corsages, rent limos, and try to convince mom and dad to let you stay out all night long. This is also a time that many teens may be considering having sex for the first time. Thinking about having sex may be stressful and scary for many teens because it may mean having to think about how to prevent an unintended pregnancy. You may already know about birth control, or you may not have a clue about your contraceptive options. Some teens have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to comprehensive sex education, yet many have not.

Although talking about birth control may be embarrassing, if you can't talk to your partner about this, then maybe you aren't ready to have sex.

Did you know that 5% of births in the United States are by teenagers ages 15-19? Teen pregnancy is always an issue facing American youth, so you must act responsibly if you are planning to have sex—on prom night or whenever. However, there is so much available information about teen sex that it may be hard to know where to begin and which sources to trust.

There are some great birth control apps and condom apps you can use. They can remind you when to take your pill or show you where the closest place to buy condoms may be. It is also important to realize that birth control is not as effective if you don't use it the correct way. For example, you should know how to properly use a condom if this the birth control method you have chosen.

You may have already decided that you don't want to have sex on prom night or in the foreseeable future. Abstinence is the only way to 100% guarantee that you won't become pregnant. Yet if this is your choice, it is important to discuss this with your prom date so they are aware of where you stand and don't have any expectations for having sex after the prom.

And if you do end up having unprotected sex after your prom, remember that you can use emergency contraception after the fact. Teens can now buy Plan B One-Step (the morning-after pill) or its generic alternatives (which are just as effective) My Way, Take Action, or Next Choice One Dose over the counter without a prescription. There are no age restrictions to buy the morning-after pill.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lindberg LD, Maddow-Zimet I, Boonstra H. Changes in Adolescents' Receipt of Sex Education, 2006-2013. J Adolesc Health. 2016;58(6):621-627. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.02.004

  2. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Trends in teen pregnancy and childbearing.

  3. TeensHealth from Nemours. Birth Control Methods: How Well Do They Work?

  4. TeensHealth from Nemours. Emergency Contraception.

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.