My boyfriend and I have never had sex, but we would like to start. I am just really nervous that something could go wrong! I worry about things like STIs and/or a bursting condom. I am concerned because STI testing and the morning after pill are not easily available where I live. What should I do? Can we still have sex?

This is such a great question! Deciding to have sex is a big decision, one that comes with a lot of responsibility, but it sounds like you’re way ahead of the game, great job! It’s totally possible to have sex, while still playing it safe. Start by having an open and honest conversation, making sure both people are on the same page with regards to commitment and safety is super important. Using protection such as an external (male) condom can nearly 98% effective in protecting both individuals against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when used correctly.

Often times, we are fortunate enough to have reasonable access to things such as the birth control pill and STI testing, but that isn’t the case for everyone. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean someone will get pregnant or get STIs from having sex. When used correctly, external condoms are 98% effective against pregnancy. Practice putting on and taking off a condom the right way before having sex can help you and your partner feel more comfortable when it’s time to have sex. Here’s a great guide that can help go through this in more detail. It’s also a great idea to talk to your health care provider (HCP), as they may be able to help develop a plan in the event something goes wrong.