What should you do if you go to a clinic for birth control and the doctor judges you and lectures you on premarital sex? Should you tell them to keep their opinions to themselves or tell them that you don’t see anything wrong with premarital sex?

We’re so glad that you asked us this question, and so sorry that your provider behaved in an inappropriate and judgmental way during your clinic visit. The responsibility of your health care providers (HCPs) is to help you access information and provide resources for you to be to be healthy and safe. Birth control is an essential tool to keep you healthy and safe, especially if you are planning to have penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex. Many people also use birth control to help regulate their menstrual cycles. No matter the reason for wanting birth control, it is not okay for providers to bring their personal bias and stigma into the health care setting. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes – and it can be confusing and upsetting.

Your awesome question shows us that you know this already, but choosing whether or not to have sex is completely up to you and the partner(s) you are involved with. As long as you and your partner(s) are practicing informed and enthusiastic consent and taking the steps to prevent unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), your sex life is not anyone else’s business. If you find yourself in a situation with a judgmental HCP and feel comfortable doing so, you can and should remind them that you are there to receive care and do not feel comfortable with their sex-negative comments. If you have the ability to find and access a new and more sex-positive provider, we promise they are out there! And as HCPs ourselves, we want you to know that you are amazing for fighting for the birth control and health care you need.