Friday, May 6, 2011

Youth & Sex: Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions!

In honour of International Youth Week, we are sharing some answers to a few of the common questions we receive from youth about sex and sexuality   For more information about these topics, and many more, visit us online at or give us a call at 403-283-5580.

If I talk to my teacher or school counsellor about sexual issues, do they have to tell my parents?

It depends. Information you share is usually kept private unless there is a risk of harm to you or another person. For example, if a young person told a teacher or school counsellor that he or she was being sexually abused, the counsellor may have a responsibility to report it. If you are unsure and concerned, before you share details you can ask if the type of information on your mind can or will be kept private.

Can I see a doctor without my parents’ permission to get birth control?

Yes. If you are worried, ask your doctor how they feel about keeping your information private from your parents. If you don't like what you hear, you can go to one of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinics in Calgary. These clinics have services just for young people, and will respect your privacy. They also have birth control and condoms at lower cost. You can also talk to a counsellor at the Calgary Sexual Health Centre about your options. But we are not a clinic and cannot give you a prescription for birth control.

Can a person masturbate 10 times a day?

Everyone is different. Some people masturbate every day and other people don’t. If you want to masturbate ten times a day and it isn’t getting in the way of school, homework or other responsibilities, then it is up to you. If you masturbate a lot, you may want to use a water-based lubricant like K-Y Jelly (you can buy lubricants from any drugstore) so that you don’t irritate your skin.

What does Popping the Cherry mean?

Popping the cherry is a slang term for when a woman has vaginal sex for the first time and her hymen stretches and bleeds. A hymen is usually a very thin layer of skin. It is naturally stretched with physical activity, sexual activity or using tampons. Some may bleed a little and some may not.

A hymen that has not been stretched is often considered a sign that a woman has “lost her virginity”. Most women actually don’t have am “intact” hymen by the time they start having sex. To have a good first experience with sex it helps if both people feel relaxed and aroused and are paying attention to what feels comfortable physically and emotionally. The key here is to talk to each other and go slow.

What makes people gay?

Scientists still aren’t sure whether people are born with their sexual orientation or whether it develops over time. What they do know for sure is it’s not something people can change about themselves. A person might want to use the label “gay” if they find their sexual attraction is mostly toward people of the same sex as themselves. It is normal to have some sexual feelings or a lot of sexual feelings for people the same sex as yourself. Attraction is as simple and uncontrollable as who makes your heart flutter. Curiosity and attraction toward people the same sex as yourself is totally okay and it’s up to each person what label, if any, they want to put on it.