Talking About Sexual Health

During your teen years, puberty brings about many hormonal and physical changes, including thoughts and feelings about sex. While learning and talking about sex and relationships can be difficult or awkward, finding someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy to share your concerns with is a great way to help you navigate through your teen years and beyond.

Even though you may be embarrassed or afraid to talk to your pediatrician or primary care provider about your sexual health, it’s very important for you to speak openly and honestly about your body so that your provider can give you the best course of treatment and advice. If you do not trust or feel comfortable with your current provider, you have the right to ask around for recommendations and change providers.

When discussing your sexual health concerns or questions with your provider, remember that he or she is not there to judge you – they are here to help you. Your provider has addressed all kinds of questions and conditions with their patients, so chances are the topics you want to talk about are not new to them.

Here are some examples of questions to ask your health care provider:

  • What rights do I have as a teenage patient? Will you tell my parents what we discuss?
  • My body has been going through certain changes. Is this normal?
  • When I decide to become sexually active, what birth control options do I have?
  • What can I do to protect myself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
  • Are there any vaccines available or recommended for me to protect myself from STIs?
  • Can I get tested for an STI without my parents finding out? If so, what is the process, and how often should I get tested?
  • I’m not sure if I’m in a healthy relationship. Can we talk about this?

UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics treats illnesses and provides preventive care into early adulthood. If you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment, visit our locations page for more information or to find an office convenient for you.