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POSTED ANSWERS

March 2017

Topic: Risk of Pregnancy

Question: Can pre-cum get you pregnant?

 

Answer: Pregnancies can happen when sperm comes in direct contact with the genital or anal area of a person with a vagina. Both semen (cum) and pre-ejaculatory fluid (pre-cum) contain live sperm. If someone is concerned that they may be pregnant, they can access emergency contraception (click here for information), and can take a home pregnancy test at least 2 weeks after the unprotected sex. Seeing a health care provider can be a good idea to discuss future birth control options, pregnancy options and emergency contraception.

April 2016

Topic: Access to birth control but parents do not approve

Question: I’m looking to get birth control (preferably pills), however, my parents are very religious and would not approve. They control my health insurance so I don’t want to go through that route.  Are there any resources that can help?  Thanks.

 

Answer: In general, you do not need to get permission from your parents to get birth control.  To get birth control, a person goes to see a health care provider like a doctor or nurse practitioner, who then gives a prescription that can get filled at any pharmacy.  It does not show up on health insurance if you pay for it directly at the pharmacy.

 

If you cannot afford birth control, you can:

  • let your doctor or the nurse practitioner know and they can help you get birth control for free
  • go to a community health center that serves vulnerable populations and they can help you get birth control for free,
  • go to an AHS Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic and speak with a nurse and doctor who can help you get birth control for free

 

Because most birth control methods contain hormones, it is important to give your health care provider as much information about your health history and family medical history as possible so they can help you choose the best birth control for you.  If it is safe, having a talk with your parents can help you get that information.

 

For sexual health services in the Calgary area, see:

http://www.tascc.ca/resources/community-resources

 

To find sexual health services in Alberta, call 811

JANUARY 2016

Topic: Am I pregnant?

Question: I had dry sex with my boyfriend, he was naked and I had a 100% cotton underwear (some kind of boyshorts) and there was some precum but no ejaculation and now I’m worried sick that I risk pregnancy! I changed my underwear straight after but still I’m unsure if it can go through underwear or not? I’m worried sick!

 

Also, I suddenly got a cold out of nowhere? And I have a Brown spot on my nipples like some sort of dry skin, I don’t know what it is but once I tugged on it, it peeled off! My breasts are rather big so I can’t tell if they grew or what, all I need to know is can I get pregnant like this? I know this is so stupid but nothing I took in sex ed could answer this question!

 

After a lot of searching I read that a cold can occur at the beginning of pregnancy and some people even said it can “crawl” through panties and impregnate me… help!

 

Answer: Pregnancies happen when sperm comes in direct contact with the genital or anal area of a person with a vagina. Both semen (cum) and pre-ejaculatory fluid (pre-cum) contain live sperm, but in almost all situations, sperm cannot travel through clothing. It would be very unlikely that a pregnancy could happen from the situation you are describing.

 

It sounds like you are concerned that you might be having early pregnancy symptoms. Pregnancy symptoms can include changes in breast size, tenderness and even color. However, having dry brown spots that peel off is not a typical symptom of pregnancy. Sometimes the stress of worrying about pregnancy can trigger changes in hormones and immune system that can lead to symptoms that are similar to pregnancy symptoms.

 

Because you are very anxious about pregnancy, because sometimes details are lost in online communication and because you are having a variety of symptoms that you are worried about, it is a good idea to see a health care provider for a pregnancy test and to talk about your symptoms.

 

You could also talk to your health care provider about birth control so you are protected from pregnancy.

 

To access pregnancy testing, birth control and to speak with a health care provider about other concerns, see your family doctor or walk in clinic.

 

If you are 24 and under or have barriers to accessing a family doctor or walk in clinic, you can access sexual health services like pregnancy testing and birth control at a Sexual and Reproductive Health clinic: click here for more resources.

 

To find a health service, including a family doctor or walk in clinic in Alberta, call 811.

 

For more information on pregnancy and early symptoms of pregnancy, click here.

Topic: Bumps on Penis

Question: I have never been sexually active and since the first time I masturbated and after I did the first time about a year and a half ago I have noticed a bunch of pimple like things or bumps on my penis and when you pop them it a white paste comes out I was wondering what they are there and how to get rid of them

 

Answer: It is unlikely that the bumps on your penis are related to masturbation. It could be that once you began masturbating, you became more aware of your penis and noticed the bumps then. It also might have been a coincidence that the bumps developed near the time you began masturbating. Anytime a person notices bumps, lumps or other changes in the genital area, is important to see a health care provider (such as at a family doctor or walk in clinic) to get a clear diagnosis. The bumps you describe could be something called Pearly Penile Papules (PPP). These are harmless white bumps with no known cause but are not related to masturbation or sexual activity. PPP can be removed by a dermatologist. Many dermatologist websites have information on PPP. Penis bumps can also be caused by ingrown hairs, blocked pores, allergies, irritation, skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis or infections. It is important to not squeeze these bumps as squeezing them could damage the delicate tissue of the area and could lead to infection.

 

To speak with a nurse about symptoms in Alberta, call 811

 

To find a family doctor in the Calgary area, see:
CalgaryAreaDocs.com

 

For sexual health services, click here.

Topic: Masturbation and Values

Question: I am a Catholic teenager who is wondering if the act of masturbation is still considered to be a sin. I am 18 years old and I do believe that it is a natural way to find out about one’s body and how it can be used. I have heard that it is not a sin but a natural and healthy thing to do. I have also heard that it is a sin. I have heard that a vast majority of both boys and girls do it. I can understand if one does it while thinking about other people then it is a sin but if one is doing it to get rid of old stuff then does it count as a sin. I have done it recently. There are no thoughts, images or fantasies involved.

 

I do think that it is better than having a nocturnal emission and having to clean your underpants and to hide it so no one think that i wet the bed. I also believe that it is better to masturbate rather than waking up to find a sticky mess in my underpants which has happened to me and it was not fun. I have also heard that it can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Is it normal to feel confused about it after doing it?

 

I am planning to talk to my parents and a priest to see what they think of it. If my parents say that it is natural and a normal thing to do does that mean it is alright to do. The only tricky thing is that I am not entirely sure how to approach the subject with them. I have mentioned it to my mother and she doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. She said that it is better to do that than to be out having intercourse with girls. I haven t done it in 3 weeks and I feel conflicted over it I see both views on the issue and I am not sure.

 

I don’t want to feel guilty for doing something that has been labelled natural and normal. I love and believe in god and want to know what the views are on it. I do not have any addiction whatsoever I have very good control over myself.

 

I live in Ontario where the ministry of education has released a updated sexual education curriculum where it mentions that masturbation is natural and normal. There is a part of me that really wants to do it as I feel it takes the edge off. I have heard that some catholic organizations are backing it. This leaves me confused if it is still considered to be a sin. I also believe that it is a crucial part of understanding how one’s body works and learning about oneself. I do find it a little hard to understand that we can somewhat accept the sexual orientation of people but people still consider touching ones genitals to be a sin.

 

Answer: Masturbation is when a person stimulates their own genitals for pleasure. Many people of all genders masturbate; some do not. Both choices can be normal and healthy. Various faiths, cultures, and families have different beliefs about the role of masturbation and if it is right or wrong. As public health professionals, we do not speak on behalf of any faith to determine if an action sinful. From a medical perspective, masturbation is generally seen as a normal, healthy, clean process and as one healthy way to explore, express and experience one’s own sexuality.

 

It can be confusing when researched based health and education messages are different from what a person has been taught is right and wrong. When making decisions about if masturbation is right for you, it seems that you are following a solid strategy: gathering information from a variety of objective and evidence based sources, speaking with adults you trust such as your parents and priest, considering your own experiences and ideas. Because you see conflicting ideas within your faith teachings, it might also be helpful to speak with a variety of leaders in your religion as part of the decision making process.

 

As you point out, it can be a challenge to approach the topic of masturbation in conversation with your parents and other adults, even when it is important to do so. Helpful strategies to start this conversation can include picking a time that is emotionally neutral, letting the adult know you have something important you want to talk about, telling them it might be a difficult topic and having that person choose a good time. Staying calm, not judging or arguing the other person’s ideas and asking questions might also be helpful.

 

It is important to keep in mind that masturbation can be harmful if the person:
• puts themselves at risk for injury or infection because of unsafe practices
• feels that it is wrong but they do it anyway and feel guilty after doing it: balance between values and actions is important to overall health and shame can have negative health impacts
• masturbates so frequently or obsessively that it is negatively impacting other aspects of their life
• is breaking laws including those related to consent, abuse, assault and indecency

 

There does not appear to be enough research to suggest that masturbation decreases or increases cancer risk. For some people, masturbation may decrease the number of nocturnal emissions, or “wet dreams” as you suggest.

 

To learn more about masturbation, see:
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/sexual-health/what_is_masturbation
http://www.sexandu.ca/sexual-activity/concerns-sexual-problems/#tc7

Topic: Vaginal Discharge

Question: Hi I had sex like 6 days ago, I’m having sometimes clear or brown discharge, what does this mean?

 

Answer: When people have vaginal sex, it can result in increased vaginal discharge and sometimes even small amounts of dried blood (brown discharge) for a few days after the sex happened. However, anytime a person experiences new symptoms after having sexual contact with another person, it can be a good idea to see a health care provider to check for infection or injury. It can also be a good chance to talk about pregnancy testing and birth control if applicable.

 

For a sexual and reproductive health clinic, click here.

 

To learn more about sexually transmitted infections, see: SexGerms.com

Topic: SLANG

Question: What does the term slut actually mean?

 

Answer: “Slut” is a slang word that is used to put another person down. It generally means a person who has sex with many people or people they do not have a personal relationship with and is used to imply that the person is a bad person because of that. Just like other names that people use to hurt people, it imposes unfair judgment and cruelty.

 

To learn more about bullying including name-calling, see:
http://www.prevnet.ca/bullying/types

Topic: Vaginal Bump

Question: I found a bump on my vagina and I’m not sure what it is. I know that it is not an STI or STD because I have never participated in sexual behaviour. What should I do? What could it be? Is this normal?

 

Answer: Bodies, unlike in photo-shopped movies and magazines, have lumps and bumps on them. Sometimes, the bumps are things like ingrown hairs, moles or scars and are of little concern. Other times, the bumps can be from injuries, infections or can be from cell changes that, over time, could lead to health problems. Anytime you notice a new bump on your body or one that is changing or causing you concern, even if it doesn’t hurt, it is important to see a health care provider to find out what it is and if it needs treatment.

Topic: Small Penis

Question: My penis length and diameter is small, so I want to increase length and diameter of my penis at home without surgery only by exercise

 

Answer: Many people are concerned about the size of their penis and fear that it is too small. However, for most people, the size of their penis is right for them. Penis size is not related to the ability to give or receive sexual pleasure or the ability to father children. If there is difficulty with giving or receiving sexual pleasure or with fertility, there is generally something going on more than penis size.

 

Sometimes people’s understanding of what a normal size penis looks like has been affected by the exaggerations of other’s and from exposure to sexually explicit media (pornography) where the penises shown are not an accurate representation of real life penises (or real life sexuality for that matter). In these cases, some men fear that their penis is too small when really, it falls within or just outside of the average range of about 5-7 inches for an ADULT penis when fully erect. However, sometimes a penis does not work the way a man wants it to because of its size. If a man’s penis is under 2 or 3 inches when fully erect, the man may have difficulty with engaging in some sexual activities. If this is the case, there are no products, devices or exercises that have been demonstrated to successfully increase penis size. Worse yet, many of these products, devices and exercises can actually cause significant harm to the man. In these cases, speaking to a health care provider to explore options, including surgical ones, might be the best option.

Use our online question box if you have a question about sexual health. The question box is available here.

 

All of the question box answers will be posted on this page, so that other people can learn from them. If you do not see your question posted within five working days, please resubmit your question. Your question may not be answered if it is outside the scope of sexual health.