A – The morning after pill is also called emergency contraception. Taking emergency contraception often, like 3 times in 12 days, can make your period irregular. This means that it can be hard to know when to expect your period.
This might feel stressful if you are looking to your period to prove you are not pregnant. Pregnancy tests are usually accurate 2 weeks after sex. If it is negative, it can be a good idea to take another test a week later.
Talk with a health care professional about pregnancy testing, birth control and your use of emergency contraception. Finding an effective, ongoing method of birth control can help save you stress, time and money.
A – Pregnancy may be a risk anytime a penis or semen touches vaginal area.
Using emergency contraception can lower this risk, but will not end a pregnancy.
• Levonorgestral emergency contraception pills are available off the shelf at stores that have pharmacies and at some clinics, hospitals and urgent care centres. These work best within the first day or so after sex, but can still up to 5 days after sex
• Ulipristal acetate emergency contraception pills are available by prescription only and work equally well for 5 days after sex
• Copper IUDs are the most effective method of emergency contraception, can be inserted up to 7 days after sex and can also be left in to act as ongoing birth control.
If it has been more than 5-7 days so you can’t use emergency contraception, it’s important to get a pregnancy test 2 weeks after the sex.
There is always pre-cum (pre-ejaculatory fluid) the entire time a penis is hard. People don’t feel pre-cum coming out. Sometimes people notice it as a drop of fluid at the tip of the penis or that their penis tip seems moist, but sometimes they don’t notice it at all. If someone wipes it away, more comes up. Pre-cum contains some live sperm.
A – It would be very unlikely for a pregnancy to happen from this situation, but anytime semen or a penis come in contact with the vaginal area, there is technically a risk of pregnancy. Using emergency contraception after sex where semen may have come into contact with the vaginal area can reduce this risk.
This sexual activity would be a high risk for STI, so STI testing might be a good idea. Using an external condom on the penis lowers STI risk for oral sex on a penis. Using a dental dam on the vulva lowers the STI risk for oral sex on the vulva.
Depending on the STI, it can be possible to give it to someone else right away, even if there are no symptoms. Using condoms or dental dams, getting regular testing (and treatment if needed), limiting the number of partners, getting vaccinated against HPV and Hepatitis B and having good communication with sexual partners can all lower your risk of passing on an STI.
A pregnancy can happen anytime a penis or semen come in physical contact with the vaginal-anal area including anal sex and touching the penis to the area around the vagina. If someone has had this contact and is worried about pregnancy, it’s important to take a pregnancy test to find out for sure. Pregnancy tests are usually accurate once it’s been at least 2 weeks after the activity. Using birth control lowers the risk of pregnancy and lowers the worry about becoming pregnant.
A late period can be a sign of a problem so it’s important to talk with a health care provider. Some reasons a period might be late are pregnancy, stress, change in birth control and various health conditions.
A: It might seem like everyone can use tampons easily, but this isn’t always the case. It sounds like you’ve already considered a couple of the most common reasons it can be hard to put in a tampon – angle (aiming for the tailbone works better than aiming up towards the belly button) or vaginal dryness (using lube and being sure to not use a bigger tampon you need for your period flow than you need helps).
Here are a couple of other reasons it can be hard to put a tampon in:
• If you still have an intact hymen (a piece of tissue that stretches around the opening of the vagina) that isn’t very stretchy, putting in a tampon could be harder. With patience the hymen usually stretches out of the way.
• Vaginismus is when the muscles of the vagina and pelvic floor involuntarily cramp up so tight that nothing can get into the vagina. This isn’t something someone can control, but it is something that can go away with treatment.
It can be useful to talk to a health care provider about the trouble you are having using a tampon so they can help make sure that if there’s a problem, you can get treatment.
For many people using a tampon gets easier over time.
A: It is very rare for any type of IUD to move. Less than 1/1000 insertions result in perforation (the IUD pokes into the uterus wall) and 0.05-8% result in expulsion (the IUD comes out).
This is most common in the first couple of months after it was put in, if there have been very strong contractions during your period, if you have a tilted uterus, you’re breastfeeding or the IUD was put in right after giving birth. Signs that it may have moved are:
• not feeling the IUD strings with your fingers at your cervix
• feeling the plastic of the IUD
• a partner feeling the IUD during sex (not the strings but the actual IUD)
• bleeding when not having a period
• more cramping during periods than usual
• lower abdomen pain
• unusual vaginal discharge
If you think your IUD has moved, call your health care provider. Do not try to put it back in yourself.
A: People can get tested for pregnancy at their family doctor, a walk in clinic or a sexual and reproductive health clinic. These tests are either free or covered by Alberta Health Care insurance.
It can be a good idea to get a pregnancy test done at a health clinic: this way, if someone is pregnant, the health care provider can help right away be as healthy as possible no matter what pregnancy option they choose. If they’re not pregnant and they don’t want to be, they can get birth control right away and if they’re not pregnant but do want to be, the health care provider can talk to them about fertility.
Some community agencies may have free pregnancy tests available. People can buy pregnancy tests at any pharmacy, most grocery stores and even at some convenience stores.
A: Yes, rubbing the penis in the vagina can lead to pregnancy. Pregnancy is a risk anytime a penis or semen come in close contact with the vaginal area. This risk is even higher when ejaculation happens because the semen that’s released from the penis contains millions of sperm. Using one of the three types of emergency contraception can lower the risk of pregnancy after sexual contact:
• Off the shelf emergency contraception pills – you can buy these from stores that also have pharmacies. They’re usually kept on the shelf by the condoms or behind the pharmacy counter. These work best in the first 24 hours after sex, but can be somewhat effective up to 5 days after sex.
• Prescription emergency contraception pills – you get a prescription for this type of emergency contraception from a health care provider and pick it up at a pharmacy. It works equally well to prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after sex.
• Copper IUD – this device is inserted by a health care provider and works very well as emergency contraception up to 7 days after sex. It can also be left in as ongoing birth control.
A: Thank you for your question. It was a good idea to get STI testing because STI are a common reason that testicles hurt during and after ejaculation. There are other health problems that can cause this type of pain. Because your STI tests were negative and treatment didn’t help you feel better, it’s important to talk to a doctor again as soon as possible so they can help find and solve the problem. When you talk to your doctor, be sure to talk about medications, any other symptoms and health conditions, even if you think they’re unrelated.
A: Discharge is fluid that comes out of the body. It’s important to see a health care provider anytime someone has discharge from any part of the body that’s different from what they normally have or if they also have other symptoms like pain or itching.
Vaginal discharge is a fluid made by the vagina, cervix and healthy bacteria. It helps keep the vagina healthy. It’s different person to person and changes based on health, age and menstrual cycle. It can be clear and slippery, cloudy and sticky or creamy. Brownish discharge is common at the start or end of periods, but talk with a doctor if it happens any other time because it can be the sign of a problem.
The only fluids that normally come out of the penis are pre-ejaculatory fluid during an erection, semen during ejaculation or urine (pee) when peeing. If any discharge from the penis is brownish, it’s important to talk with a doctor.
A: Showing genitals to someone without their consent is a form of sexual violence and is against the law. It hurts others. It can also be a medical disorder, so it’s important to talk to a doctor about this so that you can get the treatment you need.
A: Anytime a penis or semen touch anywhere around the vagina, including the anal (bum hole) area, there’s a risk of pregnancy. Washing any semen off quickly does not change this risk. There may be some days of the menstrual cycle that might be lower risk for pregnancy, but the days you say are high risk.
To stay healthy, it’s important to know as soon as possible if you are pregnant or not. A pregnancy test taken 2 or more weeks after the activity is usually accurate. It can be useful to take the test at your doctor’s office or a sexual health clinic because:
• If you’re not pregnant, you can talk with the doctor about birth control so you are not worried about pregnancy after every sexual activity
• If you’re pregnant, the doctor can help you stay healthy no matter which pregnancy option you choose: parenting, adoption, abortion
A: The morning after pill is another word for emergency contraception (EC) pills. EC is a type of birth control that works to prevent pregnancy after sex if a person was unprotected (e.g. didn’t use a condom, missed pills, broken condom or sexual assault). Many types of birth control are more effective than EC. How effective it is depends on what type a person uses and when they use it.
There are 2 types of EC pills:
– Levonorgestral pill (E.g. Plan B, Contingency, and NorLevo) – this is available off the shelf in stores with pharmacies. This medicine works very well the first 12-24 hours and gets less effective over time, up to 5 days after sex.
– Ulipristal acetate pill (Ella one) – this is a prescription medicine that is effective up to 5 days after sex.
Copper IUD can also be put in by a health care provider as emergency contraception up to 7 days after sex. It is 99% effective which is more effective than EC pills.
Learn more about emergency contraception here: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/HealthTopics/sexual-reproductive-health/Pages/emergency-contraception.aspx
A: Fertile means being able to make a pregnancy. Pregnancy happens when a sperm fertilizes (enters) an egg and that fertilized egg implants into (attaches to) the uterus. This usually happens through some type of sex where a penis or semen come in close contact with someone’s vaginal area.
Once someone with testicles has started puberty, they can assume they are fertile (have live sperm in their semen and pre-ejaculatory fluid) unless a health care provider tells them otherwise.
People can get pregnant after they ovulate (release an egg). People start ovulating during puberty and adults usually ovulate around every 21-35 days. Some people can estimate the time they ovulate by learning about their body patterns like temperature changes, vaginal fluid changes and knowing when their next period is due.
It’s important to know that even though the egg only lives in the fallopian tubes 12-24 hours, sperm can live in the fallopian tubes 3-7 days. This means that someone could have sex early in the week, release an egg several days later and that egg get fertilized by a sperm.
If someone is trying to create or avoid a pregnancy by using fertility awareness, it’s very important they learn about how to do that from a health care provider.
A: STI, or Sexually Transmitted Infections, are sicknesses that are usually spread through sex including hand, oral, anal and vaginal sex or shared sex toys. Some STI can also be spread:
– to a baby through pregnancy and delivery
– through contact with an infected person’s breastmilk, blood, towels, bedding, rash, blister or sore.
A: Current evidence shows COVID is very unlikely to be spread through semen or vaginal fluid. But, sex can lead to COVID infection because it generally creates the situations that are likely to spread COVID like:
– When a person is closer than 2 meters away from someone with COVID and they breathe in tiny droplets that have the virus on them or those droplets land on their nose, mouth or eyes
– When someone touches a surface that has tiny particles with COVID on them and then touches their face
– Kissing or other contact with someone’s spit
Click here to learn about lowering the risk of COVID when it comes to sex: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/ppih/if-ppih-covid-19-sexual-health.pdf
A: Direct contact between a penis or semen and someone’s vaginal area can lead to pregnancy. There may be a lower chance of pregnancy during a period but it still may be possible. Taking a pregnancy test 2 or 3 weeks after the activity can help a person know for sure.
A: During pregnancy, many people notice changes to the amount and consistency of their vaginal discharge. This can include having more watery discharge. Whether or not someone is pregnant, it’s important to talk with a health care provider about changes to vaginal discharge because some changes can be a sign of a problem. Pregnancy may be a risk anytime a penis or semen has direct contact with the vaginal-anal area. If pregnancy is a concern and it’s been less than 5 days, you might consider using emergency contraception pill. If it’s been less than 7, you can consider using a copper IUD as emergency contraception. Pregnancy tests are usually accurate once it’s been at least 2 weeks since the sexual activity that may have led to pregnancy.
To find a sexual and reproductive health clinic in Alberta, see: ahs.ca/srh
For more information about signs of pregnancy, including early signs of pregnancy, see: https://tascc.ca/supporting-high-risk-youth/pregnancy/
A: Thank you for your question. We often hear from worried people who were going to “pause sex” while changing birth control but ended up having some sort of sexual activity. Because there was unprotected contact between the penis and vaginal area, there is a risk of both sexually transmitted infection (STI) and pregnancy. If it’s been less than 72 hours, you can use the emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill or ECP). You can get ECP at a pharmacy or a sexual and reproductive health clinic without a prescription. If it’s been within 7 days, you could see a health care provider for a copper IUD as emergency contraception. It’s also important to see a health care provider for STI testing, and treatment if needed.
You mentioned you have irregular periods – because missed periods can be a sign of pregnancy, many people assume that missed periods are the sign to watch out for. But, because many people get some “break through” bleeding in early pregnancy and there are other reasons for missed periods, a pregnancy test taken at least 2 weeks after sex is the way to know for sure if there is a pregnancy or not.
Q – Does semen stay on clothes or bedding after washing?
A – Semen is the fluid that comes out of penis during ejaculation. It is made up of water, sperm, minerals and sugars. Sperm ejaculated outside of the body dies quickly. Semen washes out of clothing and bedding easily using cold water and laundry soap, especially if you use a laundry soap with enzymes (also called a biological detergent). Using hot water or leaving semen on items for a long time can create a stain, but the semen itself will be gone after washing.
Q – How far can bits of semen get transferred through touching objects?
A – If you don’t wash your hands after directly touching semen, microscopic bits of dry semen can be transferred to other objects, although the sperm will have died within a few minutes outside of the body. Washing hands after touching semen prevents this.
Q – How clean is semen compared to saliva and sweat?
A – Cleanliness means different things to different people. All body fluids are part of healthy body processes. If a person has a contagious infection, depending on the germ, it could be in any body fluid. Semen is made up of water, sperm, minerals and sugars and is part of the reproductive process. Saliva contains water, mucous and chemicals like enzymes. It’s part of the digestive process and helps your mouth stay clean and fight infections. Sweat is made up of water, minerals, sugars and some chemicals that are leftover from a variety of body processes. Sweat helps regulate body temperature and helps your body get rid of toxins.
Q – Is semen sinful?
A – Semen is a body fluid that comes out through ejaculation. Ejaculation is a normal body process. Body parts, fluids and processes are not choices. Sinful means an act that is morally wrong or against God. We are not able to speak about what is right or wrong for you. You can talk to a faith leader to learn about what actions are and are not considered ok in your religion.
Q – Do we have to wash our hands after masturbation or touching semen?
A – Washing your hands before and after masturbation and after touching semen can help you stay healthy and avoid infections.
Q – If someone touches an item to their mouth that has touched something that had semen on it in the past, is it oral sex?
A – Oral sex is when one person’s mouth comes in contact with another person’s genitals. The situation you describe is not oral sex.
Q – What do other people do if they get an erection or even accidentally ejaculate semen in a public place like on a bus?
A – Many people get erections (a hard penis) in public. When this happens, covering up the erection with an item of clothing, sitting down or thinking about something else helps the erection go away. When a penis is erect, it can produce a small amount of fluid called pre-ejaculatory fluid that sometimes people notice on their clothing. Ejaculation is when semen comes out of the penis. When a person is awake, people have control of their sexual arousal and can avoid accidentally ejaculating. If someone gets sexually aroused in a public place, it is important to not stimulate (touch) the genitals and to think about other things to avoid ejaculation.
Q – What do other people do if they notice someone with an erection or ejaculating in public?
A – To protect boundaries and privacy, it’s important to try to hide an erection if you get one in public. If someone notices it, they usually feel embarrassed or threatened and look or move away. If someone notices another person ejaculating in public, they will feel extremely uncomfortable or unsafe and may call the police..
Q – Is it bad if my mother touches my clothing, bedding or other items that may have had my semen on it?
A – Protecting parent-child/teen/youth boundaries is part of a healthy relationship. As soon as someone is able to do their own laundry, it’s important for them to wash their own bedding and clothing if they have had a wet dream or have gotten semen on them. If someone happens to have touched those items inadvertently, that is unlikely to be a problem.
A: Thank you for your question. A pregnancy is possible anytime sperm or penis have direct contact with the vaginal area. A medical abortion is a procedure that uses medicine to end a confirmed pregnancy. It can be done up to about 10 weeks of pregnancy. After a medical abortion, an ultrasound is done to make sure that the abortion worked. If an ultrasound showed no pregnancy, the person was not pregnant when the ultrasound was taken. Because it sounds like not being pregnant is very important to you, you might want to think about using a very effective method of birth control like an IUD or the birth control implant.
A: Because the situation you describe can lead to pregnancy, it’s important to see a health care provider right away to find out for sure. If you are pregnant, they can help you decide which of the 3 pregnancy options (parenting, adoption or abortion) is right for you and help you be healthy whichever you decide. If you’re not pregnant, they can help you make choices about birth control. Anytime a penis comes in close contact with the vagina, even if the penis doesn’t go in and even if the person doesn’t ejaculate (cum), there is a chance of pregnancy. This is because fluid called pre-cum, or pre-ejaculatory fluid, contains live sperm. Pre-ejaculatory fluid is made anytime a penis is hard. Pregnancy tests are usually accurate if they are taken at least 2 weeks after the risk activity. To find a sexual health clinic in Alberta, see ahs.ca/srh. For more information about pregnancy risk and options, see https://tascc.ca/supporting-high-risk-youth/pregnancy/. For more information about birth control, see, https://tascc.ca/supporting-high-risk-youth/birth-control/
A: Thank you for your question. Pregnancy is a risk anytime a penis or semen might have had direct contact with someone’s vaginal area. Based on what you have written, this may not be the case for you, but missed periods can be the sign of a problem. Anytime someone misses their period, it’s a good idea to talk with a health care provider. You can call your family doctor, a walk in clinic, 811 to talk to a nurse or go to ahs.ca/srh to find a sexual and reproductive health clinic near you.
A: Everyone has different values, or different ideas of what is good or bad, when it comes to sex and relationships. Some people think that sex should happen only in long term, committed relationships; some people think that sex can be part of building relationships and some people think that it’s ok to have sex-only relationships. If you’re figuring out your own sexual values, it can be helpful to learn more about your family, faith and cultural values by talking to family members, cultural and faith leaders and peers. No matter what your values, a healthy relationship is based on clear communication, setting and respecting boundaries and mutual respect, care and safety. This is true for all relationships, including sex-only relationships.
A: Unhealthy or abusive relationships can cause serious harm to a pregnancy and the baby. Anytime someone is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, it’s important to get supports to either help the relationship get better or to safely end the relationship.
If someone is in immediate danger, call 911
For 24/7 anonymous help, call 310-1818
A: As soon as someone thinks they’re pregnant, it’s important to talk to a health care provider like a family doctor or an AHS Sexual & Reproductive Health clinic nurse about options, resources and how to stay healthy no matter what choice is made. A pregnant person has 3 options: parenting, placing a baby for adoption and abortion. Some non-profit pregnancy support/care centres have anti-abortion values, so they might best be accessed only if someone has decided they will stay pregnant.
Find an AHS Sexual & Reproductive Health clinic at ahs.ca/srh
A: Pre-cum is another name for pre-ejaculatory fluid. This is a liquid that is at the tip of the penis before semen is released. It’s there anytime the penis is hard. There is live sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluid. It can also have germs, like STIs, in it. Washing and drying hands would wash away the pre-ejaculatory fluid and would kill the sperm.
A: We’re sorry you are feeling stressed. Pregnancy can only happen when sperm comes into direct contact with the vagina. If ejaculation happens with clothes on, there is no direct contact between the sperm and the vaginal area. This would not be considered a risk for pregnancy. If someone had their period following the sexual activity in question, this would be another sign that pregnancy is not a concern at this time. Different medications and illness can sometimes cause irregular periods. There is a chance the delayed period is related to the treatments. If you continue to have concerns please call 811 to get more direction.
A: STI, or Sexually Transmitted Infections, are sicknesses spread through sexual contact with another person’s genital area, semen or vaginal fluid. Oral sex is a high risk activity for many STI, including syphilis, Chlamydia, HPV and herpes. It’s a lower risk activity for HIV and Hep C.
A: It’s common to have one person who wants to have sex and the other person doesn’t. When this happens in healthy situations, both people to say what they want and don’t want, the limit’s respected and the other person accepts they won’t get what they want. It’s not ok to keep pressuring, pestering, bullying, manipulating or coercing someone to have sex when they don’t want to. It’s sexual assault to continue a sexual activity someone doesn’t want. If any of that happens, talk with a trusted adult.
A: Pregnancies can happen when sperm comes in DIRECT contact with the vaginal area. Sperm in pre-cum (pre-ejaculatory fluid) does not travel through clothing and cause pregnancy. If you are still worried about pregnancy, or are having any symptoms, call your family doctor or 811.
A: Some people can feel pain and discomfort during menstruation (their period). They have bad cramps, heavy bleeding (having to change a pad or tampon every hour or 2), headaches or feel sick to their stomach. Because really bad periods can be a sign of a problem, it can be a good idea to talk with a healthcare provider. Doctors hear about periods all the time so don’t feel embarrassed.
Make sure you get good rest, eat healthy food, drink enough water and exercise (even though you may not feel like moving lots, this can help). Don’t feel that you are alone. Talking with an adult you trust and/or a healthcare provider will help you come up with ways to make your periods better.
A: In Canada, it’s against the law to share a sexual picture of someone without their consent (permission). This is a sign of an unhealthy relationship and is bullying. It’s a good idea to talk to a trusted adult or contact the police.
A: It’s not necessary to buy special washes to smell good. The genitals have their own smell which is normal to each person. It’s healthy to clean the outside of the genitals (the vulva) with water and mild products but the inside does the work for you. The vagina makes its own discharge to keep it healthy and in balance. This fluid gets rid of any unhealthy bacteria. So no need to use special washes.
If you smell or see something that is different for you it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider.
A: Came is slang term for orgasm. Cream pie is slang term for sperm ejaculated during sex without using a condom. Anytime a penis or semen come in contact with the vaginal-anal area, there is a risk for pregnancy. If someone might be pregnant, it is important they see a health care provider right away so they can be as healthy as possible.
People cannot consent to sex when they are sleeping. Sex without consent is sexual assault. That means that if one person is awake enough to start sex, they need to make sure the other person is also awake and able to consent before any sexual contact.
Many people orgasm during sex – this is often called having a wet dream. But, it’s not typicl for healthy people to move for sex during sleep. If you think you might be having sex while you are sleeping, talk to a doctor right away because it can be the sign of a health problem.
A: It is unclear why your friend is experiencing cramps and nausea. Some people have cramps and nausea while they have their period. Pregnancy can only happen when sperm comes into direct contact with the vagina. If ejaculation happens with clothes on, there is no direct contact between the sperm and the vaginal area. This would not be considered a risk for pregnancy.
If anyone is taking part in sexual activity where semen could get close to the vulva and vagina it is a good idea to use protection. This could be a condom or another type of birth control. That person may then feel that they are able to take control of their reproduction. It may be important to talk to a healthcare provider about choices. For more information about birth control including how pregnancy happens and how to get birth control, see https://tascc.ca/supporting-high-risk-youth/birth-control/
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