You and your partner have taken all the steps to have safe sex, including using a condom to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Things are going awesome... until the condom breaks. What now???
Step 1: Are you or your partner at risk of getting pregnant?
This is step one because it needs to be dealt with the most quickly. If you or your partner are also using another form of birth control, like the Pill or an IUD, there's a much lower chance of accidental pregnancy. If not, there are a few different methods of emergency contraception (birth control) available. These help prevent pregnancy, even after unprotected sex has already happened.
Step 2: Are you or your partner at risk of getting an STI?
If you or your partner haven't been tested recently, or you're not in an exclusive relationship, go get tested. It never hurts - many STIs can be easily treated as long as they're caught early enough. Make a doctor's appointment or phone the Sexual Health Centre (403-320-0110).
Step 3: How do you and your partner prevent this from happening again?
Make a plan! This might mean pairing condom use with another form of birth control, like the Pill or an IUD. It might mean getting tested more regularly. It might mean keeping Plan B on hand just in case. It might also mean using condom-safe (water-based) lube to help prevent future condoms from breaking. Accidents can happen - in the future, you'll feel better knowing you're prepared just in case one does.
These Planned Parenthood videos use cats to teach about vulvas! Learn about anatomy, sex and masturbation, and care and cleanliness with the help of some cute kitties.
From Planned Parenthood
There's a common misconception that having safe sex only matters when there's a penis going in a vagina. That's not true though!
Is there really a risk?
Actually, yes. STIs can totally be spread through oral contact - just because there isn't a risk of you or your partner getting pregnant doesn't mean you don't need to use some kind of barrier (like a condom).
What does safe oral sex look like?
First, remember that if you're sexually active it's always a good idea to get tested. That way, if something does crop up, you can get treatment without putting others at risk. As far as specific sex acts go, flavoured condoms and dental dams are great ways to prevent the spread of disease while also potentially making oral sex more enjoyable! They come in a variety of flavours like mint, vanilla, strawberry, cola, chocolate, and even banana (haha). Flavoured condoms work just like regular condoms - they go over a penis before sex, and get thrown out after. Dental dams are sheets of latex, the same thing condoms are made out of. You place them over your partner's vulva to create a barrier between their genitals and your mouth. Dental dams should also be thrown out after use - don't reuse them! They come in lots of flavours. Dental dams are also great for oral-anal contact, like rimming. You can even make a dental dam from a condom: check out a picture guide here.
Looking specifically for resources catered to queer folks? Here's a few:
Queer Poetics: How to Make Love to a Trans Person
A beautiful poem about sex and intimacy with a trans partner.
Figuring Out How to be a Lesbian Safer Sexpert
From Scarleteen: "It’s a horrible misconception that safer sex is somehow less intimate or real than unprotected sex. And for queers, where the sex we have is already always under attack for not being “real,” adding unfamiliar safer sex practices can be uniquely daunting. But we are very real. Our bodies are real, the sex we have is real, and the risks inherent in our sexual activities are real. So, please, let’s protect each other."
This site is run by the same people who run Planned Parenthood, but is specifically catered to queer folks! "Queer sex ed is a guide to both a healthy sexual life and to a healthy emotional one. It’s tips to a healthy relationship with significant others and with yourself. It’s providing queer youth with a roadmap— not prescribing one for them, but providing the tools to use and guides to live and to have wholeness as awesome, sexually healthy people within the vast array of contexts that they navigate daily. We’re queers, after all. We don’t fit into a nice, clear cut-box and follow one, singular roadmap. And that rules."
Looking for information? Here's some great online resources on a ton of different topics:
Want to learn more about anatomy? This article gives an overview of sexual anatomy including and beyond the penis and vagina. Did you know the brain is one of the most important sexual organs?
This article talks about overcoming shame and stigma about having sex - it's a good read if you're struggling with similar feelings.
Not sure how to bring up that you'd like your partner to get tested for STIs? Planned Parenthood has some tips.
Nervous about telling your partner you have an STI? This article can help you out.
There's no wrong way to have a body - I'm a broken slinky!
From Gemma Correll.
You’ve decided that you want to get an abortion – now what?
Remember, having an abortion is your choice. You should not feel pressured into having an abortion OR into keeping the pregnancy – make the choice that is the best for you. If you’re struggling after an accidental pregnancy, talk to someone you trust. You are not alone, and there is no wrong choice for you to make.
Counsellors and doctors are also great resources – Lethbridge has a sexual health clinic specifically for people under the age of 25 that offers free pregnancy tests, counselling, and information. They can also refer you to other clinics depending on your decision. You can phone them at 403-320-0110, or visit their office in Suite 300 of the Lethbridge Professional Building, 740 4th Avenue South.
What is an abortion like?
It depends on how far along the pregnancy is. Your doctor can help you determine this more accurately, but you typically count forward from the last day of your most recent period.
From the Kensington Clinic Website: There are two types of abortions available: medical and surgical. Medical abortions involve taking medication (often a pill) to end your pregnancy. You can choose to have a medical abortion if your pregnancy is less than 9 weeks. Surgical abortions involve inserting a tube into the uterus to remove its contents. They can be done if your pregnancy is up to 19 weeks.
Where do I get an abortion?
Your doctor may be able prescribe the medication for a medical abortion. Not all doctors are willing or able to do this, so it’s a good idea to have a backup plan just in case. For example, maybe your friend has a doctor they trust, or you could ask at the sexual health clinic for a recommendation.
There are no clinics in Lethbridge to get a surgical abortion. The closest city with an abortion clinic is Calgary. In Calgary, you can make an appointment at the Kensington Clinic, which specifically provides abortions, or you can make an appointment at the Peter Lougheed Centre, which is a hospital. For more information about making appointments, check out the Kensington Clinic website. It’s a great resource if you’re looking for more info on abortions in general. You can phone the Kensington Clinic at 403-283-9117, and the Peter Lougheed Centre at 403-943-5716.
You will need someone to accompany you to Calgary if you make an appointment to get a surgical abortion! You will be unable to drive after the procedure, so make sure they can give you a ride home too. Grab a trusted friend or family member. If you can’t find a ride, ask a leader at the MAT or another adult you trust to connect you with one – lots of people in Lethbridge are happy to help you out.
Important: Abortions are covered by Alberta Health Care! If you have an Alberta Health Card, it’s free.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources!
Making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy? All-Options offers a non-judgemental, open-hearted talkline to help you understand your options.
If you want to talk to someone after an abortion, Exhale offers a free non-judgemental talkline.
Some ideas for taking care of yourself after having an abortion.
All About Abortion from Scarleteen, a pro-choice sexual education website. This is an American website so keep in mind that abortion laws and the health care system in Canada are slightly different!
This site addresses some common questions and myths about abortion (again, this is an American website)