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Going All the Way: Sexual Intercourse

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Going All the Way:
Sexual Intercourse

What is sexual intercourse?
What happens before sexual intercourse?
What happens during intercourse?
What are the chances of getting pregnant after having intercourse?
What if I don't want to have sexual intercourse?
Should I be sexually active?
Once I have sex, should I keep doing it?
What can I tell someone who is trying to pressure me into having sex?

What is sexual intercourse?
Sexual intercourse, commonly known as "sex", occurs when a male and female decide to engage in the emotionally and physically intimate act. After foreplay in which both people get sexually aroused, the male places his penis inside the female's vagina. A couple usually has sexual intercourse for pleasure and sexual satisfaction. The biological function of sexual intercourse is to lead to pregnancy. back to top

What happens before sexual intercourse?
Most couples have foreplay before intercourse. Foreplay might include hugging, kissing, touching each other's genitals, and touching a woman's breasts.

Biologically, sexual intercourse can only happen when a male has an erection. Emotionally, sex is much more pleasurable when both partners are sexually excited. In females, that excitement shows up in her body during foreplay as an increase in fluids and secretions that are released from her vagina and cervix. These secretions make the vagina more slippery and wet, which makes it easier for the male to insert his penis. As the male becomes more excited, his penis fills with extra blood. That makes it grow longer, extend upward, and become hard. When the male's penis is hard and the female's vagina is wet, intercourse can occur.back to top

What happens during intercourse?
When a couple decides to have intercourse, the male inserts his penis into the female's vagina. They can have intercourse in many different positions including the boy on top, the girl on top, or facing each other on their sides. The couple moves together until one or both of them reaches orgasm. This can take anywhere from several seconds to several minutes.

Not all females have an orgasm during intercourse. Other girls find they need more or different stimulation (like oral sex) to have one.

What are the chances of getting pregnant after having intercourse?
Most couples have intercourse for sexual satisfaction, but its main biological purpose is to lead to pregnancy. When a man has an orgasm, sperm in his semen are released into the vagina. The sperm swim up through the uterus and fallopian tubes to try to meet an egg and fertilize it.

Unless you use birth control, it's only a matter of time before you become pregnant. If you are having unprotected sexual intercourse, there's a 20% chance that you will be pregnant within 1 month. If you continue having unprotected intercourse, your chances of getting pregnant rise dramatically. After 6 months, there is a 50% chance you will be pregnant, and after a year it rises to 90%. So if you are having unprotected sex, you will get pregnant; the only question is when. back to top

What if I don't want to have sexual intercourse?
You may find yourself in a situation where your boyfriend is pressuring you to have sex when you're not interested or not ready. No one should pressure you to have sexual intercourse until you're ready. Sexual intercourse is not a way of showing someone you like them. It will not help you get or keep a boyfriend. Your boyfriend won't suffer any harm if he doesn't have intercourse. It's your body, and you are in control of it. Sometimes it helps to talk to a friend or an adult to help you decide. back to top

Should I be sexually active?
The decision to be sexually active is a very special one. Don't decide to have sex just because a boy wants you to or because you think he expects you to. Many, many girls make a good choice to wait until they're older and in a committed relationship. If there's any doubt in your mind as to whether it's right for you to have sex, the answer is probably "no."

If you're thinking about whether you should have sex with someone, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this boy worth getting pregnant with?
  • Is he worth getting a sexually transmitted disease?
Many girls feel so weird about the fact that they had sex that they break up with their boyfriends. And a boy might say he will only stay with a girl if she has sex with him, but then he breaks up with her after they have sex. Both of these things can leave a girl feeling very sad. back to top

Once I have sex, should I keep doing it?
Even if you've had sex before, that doesn't mean you have to continue doing it with your current boyfriend or any future boyfriends you may have. You don't have to pick up with a new boyfriend where you left off with the last one. Each relationship is new and you can decide if you want to have sex with a new boyfriend. back to top

What can I tell someone who is trying to pressure me into having sex?
You shouldn't feel that you have to have sex with someone. Some guys will use pressure to get girls to have sex with them. Any boy who does that is not thinking of your needs and feelings.

You might think of a couple of things to say to a guy who's trying to pressure you. Here are some examples:
  • If a guy says, "You would have sex with me if you really loved me or cared for me."
    You can say, "If you cared about me, you wouldn't ask me to do something I don't feel comfortable doing."
  • If he says, "Everyone is having sex. Are you a baby?"
    You can say, "No, I'm a teenager, and I'm not ready to have a baby."
    Or "Go find one of those 'everyones' and have sex with her."
  • If he says, "I thought you wanted to have fun."
    You can say, "It's not fun for me if it's not something I'm sure I want to do."
If your boyfriend is making you feel uncomfortable, listen to your gut feelings and talk about it with him. If he isn't willing to listen, is he the right person for you to be with? back to top
Last Modified Date: 4/4/2001
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