There are so many stories around sex, it’s hard to know what to believe. Find out about the facts – it’s the best way to make sure that you have safer sex.

1: Yes, you can get pregnant the first time that you have sex.

You may have heard that a girl can’t get pregnant the first time that she has sex. The truth is, if a boy and a girl have sex and don’t use contraception, she can get pregnant, whether it’s her first time or she has had sex lots of times.

A boy can get a girl pregnant the first time he has sex. If you’re female and have sex, you can get pregnant as soon as you start ovulating (releasing eggs). This happens before you have your first period. Find out more about periods and the menstrual cycle.

Using contraception protects against pregnancy. Using condoms also protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Before you have sex, talk to your partner about contraception, and make sure you’ve got some contraception. Find out about getting contraception and tips on using condoms.

2: Yes, you can get pregnant if a boy withdraws (pulls out) his penis before he comes.

There’s a myth that a girl can’t get pregnant if a boy withdraws his penis before he ejaculates (comes). The truth is, pulling out the penis won’t stop a girl from getting pregnant.

Before a boy ejaculates, there’s sperm in the pre-ejaculatory fluid (pre-come), which leaks out when he gets excited. It only takes one sperm to get a girl pregnant. Pre-come can contain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so withdrawing the penis won’t prevent you from getting an infection.

If a boy says he’ll take care to withdraw before he ejaculates, don’t believe him. Nobody can stop themselves from leaking sperm before they come. Always use a condom to protect yourself against STIs, and also use other contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

3: Yes, you can get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

There’s a myth that a girl can’t get pregnant if she has sex during her period. The truth is, she can get pregnant at any time of the month if she has sex without contraception.

Sperm can survive for several days after sex, so even if you do it during your period, sperm can stay in the body long enough to get you pregnant.

4: Yes, you can get pregnant if you have sex standing up, sitting down or in any other position.

You may have heard the myth that a girl can’t get pregnant if she has sex standing up, sitting down, or if she jumps up and down afterwards. The truth is, there’s no such thing as a ‘safe’ position if you’re having sex without a condom or another form of contraception.

There are also no ‘safe’ places to have sex, including the bath or shower. Pregnancy can happen whatever position you do it in, and wherever you do it. All that’s needed is for a sperm to meet an egg.

5: No, you can’t get pregnant by having oral sex.

You may have heard that you can get pregnant by having oral sex. The truth is, a girl can’t get pregnant this way, even if she swallows sperm. But you can catch STIs through oral sex, including gonorrhoea, chlamydia and herpes. It’s safer to use a condom on a penis, and a dam (a very thin, soft plastic square that acts as a barrier) over the female genitals if you have oral sex. 

6: No, drinking alcohol doesn’t make you better in bed.

There’s a myth that drinking alcohol makes you perform better in bed. The truth is, when you’re drunk it’s hard to make smart decisions. Alcohol can make you take risks, such as having sex before you’re ready, or having sex with someone you don’t like. Drinking won’t make the experience better. You’re more likely to regret having sex if you do it when you’re drunk. Find out more about sex and alcohol.

7: You can’t use clingfilm, plastic bags, crisp packets or anything else instead of a condom. They won’t work.

There’s a myth that you can use a plastic bag, clingfilm or a crisp packet instead of a condom. The truth is, you can’t. Only a condom can protect against STIs.

  • You can get condoms free from:
  • community contraceptive clinics
  • sexual health and genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
  • some young persons services

You can also buy them from pharmacies and shops. Make sure that they have the CE mark on them, as this means that they’ve been tested to European safety standards. Find sexual health services near you, including contraception clinics.

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