I (14 year old) had my period last week. I used a tampon and I suddenly started bleeding heavily. I am afraid I may have damaged my hymen. What can I do now?

You don’t need to be afraid.
The flow of your period is different sometimes.
That may be why you bled heavily.

Do you know what a hymen looks like?
Let me explain:
Many believe it is skin grown over the vagina.
But this is wrong: the hymen is just a fold.
The fold is around the entrance to the vagina.
This fold always looks different:
Sometimes it is very small and you can hardly see it.
Sometimes it is larger and there is only a small entrance.

What’s important is: that every girl’s hymen looks different.
Only about half of all girls bleed when they have sex for the first time.
You cannot tell by looking if a girl has had sex.
So you don’t need to worry at all.
If you would like more advice you can visit a gynaecologist or a ProFamilia office (https://www.profamilia.de/)
You can find out what happens there in this question: All my girlfriends at school have already visited the gynaecologist. Do I (14) also need to go? What happens?

All my girlfriends at school have already visited the gynaecologist. Do I (14) also need to go? What happens?

You should visit the gynaecologist if you:

  • Have questions about sexuality and your body.
  • Need a contraceptive.
  • Are pregnant.
  • Have pains in your lower abdomen or when you have your period.
  • Would like to terminate a pregnancy.

A gynaecologist will talk to you first.
She wants to know how you want her to help you.
Then you decide together whether to have an examination.
Then you need to get undressed.
If you are wearing a skirt you only take off your underwear.
Then the doctor examines your ‘vagina’.
That means: she uses a speculum to look into your vagina.
A speculum is a small, metal tube.
It is pushed a little way into your vagina so that the doctor can look inside.

This examination is not always necessary.
You can decide if it should be done.
The doctor will see if you are still a virgin.
The hymen is not usually damaged.
You can watch a doctor explaining what happens here: https://gutzuwissenfilm.wordpress.com/ (video in German, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic and English)

My parents say I (16) have to be careful with my German girl friends. They have already all had sex with boys. Are my parents right?

We don’t know if your girl friends have already had sex.
Sex can be done in different ways.
Let’s look at ‘intercourse’.
Intercourse means: the penis is pushed into the girl’s vagina.

So what do most girls and boys in Germany do?
Lots of young people are asked regularly.
They answer anonymously: that means they do not give their names.

Imagine a school class with 10 boys and 10 girls the same age as you.
Only four of these girls have already had sex.
That means: six girls are still waiting a bit longer to try sex.
It’s very similar for 16 year old boys.
Here, too, only four boys have already had sex.

Most young people are still waiting for the right partner.
Some are worried about getting pregnant.
Some are still too young or afraid of their parents.
Every girl or boy should only do what is right for them.

I have recently started growing hair on my face (boy, 14). My voice is strange. It’s embarrassing.

You are worried because your body is changing.
But that’s completely normal: you are growing up.

Your body is now producing sexual hormones.
These hormones are new information for your body.
They are telling it what needs to change.
They are slowly turning your body into a grown-up’s body.
This period of change is called ‘puberty’.

You start growing hair in your armpits and genital area.
You start growing beard hair, which you can shave off or leave to grow.
Your voice changes from a child’s voice to a man’s voice.
You experience ejaculations.
That means: fertile semen comes out of your penis.
This change doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a bit of time.

And: the hormones make you feel things very strongly.
Sometimes you will feel very sad, sometimes very angry and sometimes very happy.
This is all part of puberty and part of growing up.
This change in feelings will calm down again at some point.

There is a 17 year old girl in my class. She told us that she is actually a boy. I find it confusing! How should I act around her?

It is completely understandable that you are confused.
I suspect many young people feel the same way.
She has told you something important about herself: she feels she is a boy.
Her physical gender is not the gender she feels she is.

We would like to explain it to you:
Who are you? How do you perceive yourself? This is your ‘identity’.
‘Gender identity’ means what gender you consider yourself to be.
If the gender you feel yourself to be does not match your physical gender it is called:
‘Trans-identity’ or ‘Trans-gender’.
That means some girls feel they are boys.
And some boys feel they are girls.
Some people are also born ‘inter-sexual’.
That means their body is neither clearly male nor female.
Some of these people do not feel they are male or female.
So you see: there are a lot of different gender identities!
The best thing to do is to continue treating him as you did before.
Or you can ask what she or he would prefer.
For example, how she or he would like to be addressed.

I am a 13-year-old girl. My entire body is changing. Is that normal?

You’re worried because your body is changing.
But that is completely normal.
The bodies of all girls and boys change as they grow up.

This is what will happen over the next few years:
You will now produce sex hormones in your body.
Hormones give new information to your body.
They tell your body what needs to change.
This time of change is called “puberty”.

Hair will grow under your arms and in your pubic area.
You will sweat more frequently.
You may get spots on your face and back.
Your hair will become oilier and should be washed more often.
You will get your period.
Your breasts will start to grow.
Your nipples will become larger and darker.

These hormones will also make you feel very strong emotions.
Sometimes you will feel very sad, sometimes very angry and sometimes very happy.
That is all part of puberty.

My friend told me that he ejaculated. What does that mean?

Boys and men can ejaculate.

That means that fluid comes out of the penis.
This sometimes happens during sleep.
Or when a boy or a man rubs and strokes his penis.
And it happens mostly when a man has sex with someone else.

The boy or man will experience a great feeling when he ejaculates.
That great feeling is called an orgasm.
Most fluid comes out of the penis at the moment of orgasm.
Some fluid may also come out of the penis before orgasm.
From puberty, this fluid contains sperm.

Sperm can become a baby together with an egg.
The egg is found in the woman’s -> womb.
The penis sometimes enters the woman’s womb during sex.

Ejaculation is not bad.
Men and boys experience it as a good feeling.
Most boys and men ejaculate a lot during their lifetime.
Men should always use a -> condom to avoid “accidentally” making a baby.
A condom also protects men and women from contracting certain diseases.

I (13 years old) have blood in my underwear. Am I sick?

It’s more than likely you have had your first ‘period’.
Some families and countries actually celebrate this.
It means: you are growing up.

‘Having your period’ means:
The blood in your underwear comes from your vagina.
The vagina leads to a small cavity in your abdomen.
This cavity is called a womb.
There are two ovaries next to the womb.
There is a fallopian tube between each ovary and the womb.
Roughly once a month a tiny little egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube.

Now you could become pregnant.
However, in order for this to happen, you would have to have sex with a man or a teenage boy.
But you are still too young for that.
Next, the egg would be ‘fertilised’ by his semen and that means you would be pregnant.
The egg could grow in the womb.
As you are not pregnant the blood comes out of your vagina.
From now on roughly once a month the blood is rinsed out of your womb.
It takes a few days.

You can get sanitary towels or tampons for the blood in the shops or from a chemist.
You place sanitary towels in your underwear.
You push tampons into your vagina.
Ask a girl friend or your mother if they can help you.
Sometimes you may experience bleeding for a long period of time or you may have strong pains.
If this is the case you should consult your doctor.

How do I know if I have HIV?

You cannot tell if someone has HIV.
Only a HIV test can tell you
if you have the HIV virus in your body or not.

You can take a HIV test at a Gesundheitsamt (health office).
The HIV test is free and anonymous.
You do not have to pay any money.
You do not have to give your name.
A doctor will take blood from you.
Then look for the HIV virus in your blood.

If there’s no HIV in your blood, then that’s good.
If you have HIV in your blood, you will receive medications.
If you have HIV or AIDS, you should never have sex with others without condoms.
Otherwise you could infect the other person.

Text: AWO-Zentrum für Aidsarbeit Schwaben

I do NOT want to get HIV. What can I do? How can I protect myself?

If you use condoms correctly, you will not get HIV through having sex.
Condoms can be purchased in various places,
such as supermarkets, petrol stations or pharmacies.

Important: Do not use condoms which have been left in the sun.
Do not use old condoms.
Do not use broken condoms.

Use a condom when you want to have sex with a girl or boy.
Pull the condom over the penis.
Condoms provide good protection.

I have questions about HIV and AIDS. Who can I talk to?
If you have questions about HIV and AIDS, you can get help from an AIDSBERATUNGSSTELLE (AIDS Advice Centre) or AIDSHILFE (AIDS Support Centre).
These centres can be found in many towns and cities.
You do not have to pay and they will not talk to anyone else about your questions.

Text: AWO-Zentrum für Aidsarbeit Schwaben