Are My Boyfriend and I Overcautious About Sex?
My boyfriend and I will likely get the chance to meet up this summer. Our relationship has been long-distance for years now, and originally we were going to take the chance to have sex. However, he's a trans man, and he hasn't started to transition, and I have a penis. He has a lot of mental health issues and has absolutely no desire to have a child, though he luckily lives in a country with easy access to abortions, and his family would be there for him. But since, if he got pregnant, I wouldn't be able to be there with him, the thought makes my stomach turn. I also don't want him to go through the process of getting birth control pills or an IUD because that would probably cause him incredible dysphoria. I know that with perfect use and in addition to the withdrawal method, condoms are over 97% effective at preventing pregnancy, but for some reason that just feels like it's still too great a risk. He and I talked it over and we both agreed we'd feel far more comfortable if we didn't have penis-in-vagina sex, so we decided we're not going to. That said, we still plan on having other kinds of sex, including, potentially, manual, oral, and anal. Although I feel confident we're making the right decision, are we both being too scared about the risk of pregnancy involved in sex? I feel like we aren't because we're both very anxious despite the low chance give contraception methods. Our mutual friend seems to think that we're being a little overcautious. That said, our goal is to get married and move in together, and I want a vasectomy and he wants to transition, so I think it's better to wait a while until we can obviate the risk. My other question is, what are the best ways to keep sperm and semen away from the vulva and vagina during and after outercourse, and oral and anal sex? I assume a condom is the best bet, so I was wondering if there are any other considerations that help prevent pregnancy.
TeenHealthFX recommends that all sexually active teenagers use condoms every time they have manual or anal sexual intercourse. Condoms are the only form of birth control that protect from sexually transmitted infections. The withdrawl method is not a reliable method of birth control, as it is possible to become pregnant from precum. When engaging in oral sex, dental dams are an effective barrier.
Additional methods of birth control can be used in addition to condoms, to ensure best protection from pregnancy. However, being that you stated that utilizing birth control would cause your boyfriend to experience dysphoria, and he is also planning on transitioning, TeenHealth suggests that he makes decisions about additional birth control use with the guidance of his doctor.
If your boyfriend does not have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, he can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact his local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. A Planned Parenthood health center is a good option if he has concerns about cost or confidentiality issues. He can also contact his insurance company for a list of in-network providers.
TeenHealth feels that it is important for you and your boyfriend to continue to learn about sexual readiness, how pregnancy happens, pregnancy tests, emergency contraception, birth control, STDs and more. The more educated you are about these topics, the more likely you will make healthy decisions for yourself when it comes to your sexual health. FX suggests the following resources:
- Resource of the Month: Planned Parenthood Resources on Safer Sex
- Planned Parenthood: How to Talk About Having Safer Sex
- Teens Health: Birth Control
Further, you mentioned that your boyfriend is a transgender man who intends to transition. For our readers who may be unaware, transitioning is "the process of changing the way you look and how people see and treat you so that you become the gender you feel on the inside." This process may involve:
- Medical treatment
- Change of name and preferred pronouns
- Change of physical appearance and dress/style
No two people transition in the same way; some people take much longer than others to transition. It is important to remember to support your boyfriend during this time. TeenHealthFX recommends the following resources for additional information on sexual orientation, gender, transexuality and transitioning.
- Planned Parenthood: Sexual Orientation
- Planned Parenthood: How can I support someone who's trans?
- Planned Parenthood: Transgender Identity Terms & Labels
- Planned Parenthood: What do I need to know about transitioning?
Lastly, TeenHealthFX emphasizes the benefits of speaking with a trusted adult, such as a parent/guardian, teacher or coach for further guidance. You can also speak with a licensed therapist for professional insight. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.