Teen Talk: Sexual Health 
Teen Talk. Photo of teens laughing together.
Hey teens, let’s talk! J

I'm Taylor, one of the Youth Services librarians at Aurora Central Library.  

Cartoon Taylor  
Each month at the Aurora Public Library, I cover a variety of topics for teens. This month’s blog is all about sexual health.
Swing by the Aurora Central Library's teen area to browse books, resources and activities related to the monthly topic. 

Text: Let's talk about sex. Pop art style of two people with hand cupped around mouth, like shouting.

April is STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) Awareness Month! I didn’t know this, but it seems so fitting given that this month’s blog post is all about sexual health. Let me begin by saying sexual health is not only about preventing STDs  it encompasses a whole range of topics related to your changing body, sexual relationships and overall health. 

Some of the things you will read in this blog post may be new to you, lead you to feel uncomfortable or awkward and have you asking more questions than you did before — and that is all okay! It’s normal. You are not alone in your feelings. This is a safe space. 

Real talk: Growing up I did not have access to a lot of information regarding my sexual health. This left me feeling a sense of personal shame, confused and even stupid at times. It also affected my physical health, leading to a handful of STDs as well as an unplanned pregnancy. I hope this blog post will help you feel more informed regarding your health as well as capable of having a conversation with a trusted adult if you need more information and questions answered. 

Graphic that reads Your Sexual Health Matters 

•  KidsHealth.org has one of the most comprehensive lists I’ve seen regarding adolescent and teen sexual health. I’d highly recommend exploring this page to get some of your (potentially embarrassing) questions answered.

Sex, etc. has a sex ed dictionary with almost 400 words you need to know. - https://sexetc.org/sex-ed/sex-terms/

Puberty is a time of emotional and physical change. You can feel out of control and confused at what is happening inside of you. However uncomfortable, awkward and scary it may be these feelings will not last forever and are all part of normal growth and development.

Graphic of what happens during puberty
Resources about Puberty
· Puberty Topics (Videos)
· Everything You Wanted to Know About Puberty
· Puberty & Development Information
· Puberty 101

"What is it about masturbation that provokes such negative reactions from so many people? Shame, silence and stigma are common adult reactions to the topic.

Yet, the topic of masturbation is consistently mentioned in all the groups of students with whom I’ve worked. Students often ask if it is okay. Silence from adults communicates stigma to our young people: masturbation is shameful and taboo. So, young people learn not to talk about it. They hide their questions and behavior from the adults who love and care for them. Our children develop unhealthy attitudes about the ways their bodies work and feel during puberty.

[I]t is normal if someone does masturbate, and it is also normal if someone does not masturbate. Whether or not a person masturbates is an individual choice” (Wendy Sellers, 2016).

Masturbation: Totally Normal (Video)

Healthy Relationships 
Graphic listing healthy signs and warning signs for relationships

· Healthy Relationships 
· 6 Simple Ways to Understand Consent (Video)
· Consent: What Does it Mean?
· How to Tell Your Partner What You’re Ready (or Not Ready) for Sexually

STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
STDs come with a lot of stigma and shame… Why? Despite what you may think, more people have had an STD at some point in their life than not. 

While a handful of STDs are not a big deal if treated (usually just an antibiotic for a couple weeks), if left untreated they can severely impact your life. That is why it is important to get tested regularly if you are sexually active and communicate with any sexual partners you have.

· Free, Safe, & Confidential Testing
· Do You Have an STD? You're Not the Only One
· How To Tell Someone That You Have an STD or STI
· 10 Signs You May Have an STD or STI
· How Do Teen Couples Talk About STDs?

Unplanned pregnancy can be scary and overwhelming. There are three options: raising the child, having an abortion or placing the child for adoption. It is important remember that there is no “right” option, each one is a choice — a hard one, but still yours to make. 
· Pregnant?
· Experiencing an Unplanned Pregnancy? You have options.
· The Adoption Option
· Birth Mothers Share What They Want Adoptive Parents to Know

Birth Control
 Chart showing how well various forms of birth control work
What’s the Best Birth Control for Teens?

***The most effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is by practicing abstinence -- meaning not having sex or any intimate genital contact (including anal sex or oral sex).***

Explore books & eContent regarding sexual health: 

Check back next month for our next Teen Talk!  

Come join me every Thursday at 4 p.m. for our weekly Teen Hang at Aurora Central Library. I'd love to meet you and hear about what topics you’d like featured.  

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-Taylor (she/her)

Posted by [email protected] On 05 April, 2022 at 9:33 AM  

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