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Can My Doctor Tell If I Am Sexually Active?

Published: April 12, 2000
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Fact or Fiction:  Is it true that the GYN cannot tell if you have had sex if you stay abstinent for six months before you visit?
Signed: Can My Doctor Tell If I Am Sexually Active?

Dear Can My Doctor Tell If I Am Sexually Active?,

 

Your doctor can only tell if you are sexually active if you are honest with him/her (very important to be honest with your doctor), if you are pregnant or if you have a sexually transmitted disease.  This is true whether you do not have sex for 6 months or one day. 

You did not mention it, but your question seems to be referring to the hymeneal ring or the "popping of the cherry" that is supposed to be around a virgin's (someone who has not been penetrated through intercourse) vaginal opening.  IT IS A HUGE AND DEFINITE MISCONCEPTION AND IS FALSE.  Yes, most females are born with a hymeneal ring.  However, the hymeneal ring is not necessarily broken only by sex.  In fact, many females hymeneal ring break through activity (like stretching, horse-back riding, gymnastics, etc.), the use of tampons and/or masturbation. 

So the answer to your question is - No if everything is normal, your doctor or Gyn cannot tell if you are sexually active just by looking.  However, it is extremely important that you are honest with your doctor, especially if you are sexually active.  If you are seeing your Gyn. with a parent, ask the doctor not to share this information with your parent's.  They usually respect the patient's wishes.  If you do not feel comfortable talking to your Gyn. while with your parents, you can always call a teen health center in your area. 

A teen health center can see you confidentially without your parent's consent and on a low/no cost basis.  In New Jersey, please call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at (973) 971.5199.  Outside of New Jersey, please call your local Planned Parenthood.  It is very important to be under the care of a doctor (either an adolescent medicine physician, a gynecologist or your doctor) if you are sexually active.  They can make sure everything is okay medically and provide you with birth control and STD counseling.

Sex is a big decision and one that needs to be thought out and discussed between you and your partner.   Your partner should also be seen at a teen health center for the same reasons as you.  If you are already having sex, please practice safer sex using condoms and get to a teen health center.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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