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Question of the Week
Question of the Week

Each year, the Health Education team reaches thousands of people through outreach and presentations. We get a lot of questions from folks. Each week, we’ll post a question that we’ve been asked recently so that everyone who visits our site can get the answer.

Have a question yourself? Send it to us at diane.brown@longbeach.gov - maybe your question will make it on the site.

Week of August 23,2010
Q: How can condoms break?

A: Condoms can sometimes rip or tear, but using and storing them properly can help lower this risk. Heat, sun, oils, and chemicals all can weaken condoms, making them more prone to breakage. Keep condoms away from heat and light, which can dry them out, and don't use oils or lotions on a condom. Carrying a condom in your wallet, where it may be folded or sat on, can also wear down the material and cause the condom to break. Check the expiration date on the condom-yes, they have expiration dates. The material used to make condoms can weaken over time, so don't use one that has expired. Condoms can rip during use if they don't fit right or if they aren't put on correctly ( such as not leaving enough room at the tip of the condom).  They can  also tear if there is too much friction and not enough lubrication, or if the condom comes into contact with a person's nails, rings, piercings, teeth or other sharp edges. Condoms are the only type of birth control that can help prevent both pregnancy and STD's. So it's important to use and store them properly.

Week of August 16,2010
Q: Am I still a virgin if I use a tampon?
A: Some girls worry that if they use tampons, they will no longer be virgins. the truth is, a virgin is someone who has never had sexual intercourse (sex). Inserting a tampon is definitely not the same as having sex! So why is this question asked so often? Girls who are virgins usually have a hymen, a very thin piece of skin-like tissue that stretches partly across the opening of the vagina. A lot of people mistakenly thing that a girl is only a virgin if her hymen has not been broken. Most of the time a girl's hymen breaks after having sex for the first time. But a girl's hymen can tear in many ways that have nothing to so with having sex. For example, it is possible that inserting a tampon might tear the hymen ( although that usually doesn't happen). So even if a tampon does break a girls hymen, she is still a virgin until she has had sexual intercourse.

Week of August 9, 2010
Q:  Can you use two condoms for extra Protection?

A: NO. You should never use more than one condom at a time. Using two condoms actually offers less protection than using just one. Why? Condom manufacturers say that using two condoms can cause friction between them, weakening the material and increasing the chance that the condoms might break. No other method of birth control is as successful at protecting people against STD's as a condom. But condoms are one of those things where less is more. So always use a condom if you are having any kind of sex. But just at a time!

Week of August 3, 2010
Q: Can you get an infection from "fingering " or oral sex?

Germs are everywhere. Even if you're not having intercourse, fingering and oral sex can lead to infection. Be sure to wash you hands before touching your partner's genitals. And, if either of you has a cold sore, don't have oral sex. The virus that causes cold sores can transfer to the genitals and become genital herpes.

Because it can be hard to tell when a cold sore is active, and because other sexually transmitted diseases ( STD's) also can be passed by oral sex, it's best to use a dental dam or condom when having oral sex to protect against infection. 

Week of July 26,2010
Q: Can a girl get pregnant if she has sex during her period?

A: A lot of people think that if a girl has sex during her period, she can't get pregnant. But yes, its is possible for a girl to get pregnant while she is on her period.  This can happen for a couple of reason:
Not all vaginal bleeding is the result of a menstrual period. Sometimes a girl will have a small amount of vaginal bleeding at the time of ovulation - the time when she is most fertile. During ovulation, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and travels down a fallopian tube to the uterus ( all parts of the female reproductive system).  Girls who are ovulating sometimes have some vaginal bleeding that can be mistaken for a period.

Sometimes ovulation can happen before the bleeding from a girl's period has stopped or a few days after her period is over. Sperm can fertilize an egg for a few days after ejaculation. So in both cases, having sex during a girl's period CAN result to pregnancy.

Having unprotected sex at any time is very risky. Along with the chance of becoming pregnant, there is also the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD's), such as chlamydia, genital warts, or HIV. The only sure way to prevent pregnancy and STD's is abstinence-which means not having sex at all. But if you do have sex, use a condom every time to protect against STD's and unwanted pregnancy.

Week of July 27, 2009

Q: Is it normal to bleed after a Pap smear?


A: Good question…and if you’ve had bleeding after a pap smear before, you’re not alone. It is common that a woman will bleed or have light spotting after a pap smear. When having a pap smear, the doctor uses an instrument called a speculum to open the vagina and then scrapes the walls of the cervix to test the cervical cells. In this process, little blood vessels can break in the walls of the cervix, which can cause light spotting.


However, in rare cases, spotting can also signal the presence of an infection, especially chlamydia or gonorrhea. Chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause the blood vessels in the cervix to swell, so when you’re getting a pap smear they become more likely to rupture and bleed. When getting your annual pap smear, therefore, it’s not a bad idea to ask your doctor to check for chlamydia and gonorrhea too!

Week of July 20, 2009

Q: Can a guy cum and pee at the same time?


A: Some people may wonder if urine and semen can come out of the penis at the same time.  While it seems like this might happen, it can’t.  Urine and semen are stored in different parts of the male’s body.  Urine, which is stored in the bladder, cannot be released at the same time as semen because when a man ejaculates, a valve (door) closes within the tube that carries fluids out of the penis (called the urethra) that stops urine from being able to leave until after a man ejaculates.

Week of July 13, 2009
Q: Does wearing two condoms give you double the protection?

A: No, adding more layers won't help. The truth is, wearing two condoms make sex even more risky. Using two (or more!) condoms can cause a lot of friction between the two, and increase the likelihood that one or both condoms may break.  Better to stick with one condom.  Do you know the correct way to use condoms?  Check out www.lbyouth411.com/youth411/manage_question.aspx to learn how.

Week of June 1, 2009:

Q: Is it possible to break your penis?

A: There are no actual bones in a penis, so it isn't possible to break it. However, the cracking sound, intense pain, and immediate swelling and bruising that occurs when a guy has an injury to his penis may remind us of the fractures that occur in bones.

Penis "fractures" usually occur when the penis strikes the pubic bone of a partner during rigorous sexual activity. Rolling over in bed with an erect penis in the middle of the night has also been implicated as a way to cause this injury.  If this happens to a guy, he should see a doctor right away.

Week of May 25, 2009:
Q: Is it true that when gay boys have sex, they go blind?

A: While there are a lot of myths out there about sex, this one was a first for us.  Individuals may have plenty of reasons for not having sex - infections, unintended pregnancy, want to know partner better, would like to be in a monogamous relationship (just to name a few) - but going blind from sex isn't an issue for ANYONE - gay, straight, or bisexual.

Funded by the City of Long Beach through a grant from the State of California Department of Public Health, Sexually Transmitted Disease Control Branch
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