I come from a Christian background. My middle and high school days were spent at a private Christian academy. Sex education consisted of older women telling me that sex before marriage was bad, I would end up pregnant, and didn't offer much information on sex itself. They taught me a “good" Christian girl remained pure until her wedding night.

When I had sex for the first time at age 24, I realized how little I knew. Here are six things I wish I'd known then, and that every woman should know before she has sex.

1. Pee after sex.

It can be awkward peeing after you first have sex because you're shy. It happened to me. My first several sexual experiences had me feeling too shy to pee at the guy's place. I held it until later and after two weeks I was in the ER for a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

Having sex introduces bacteria into a woman's urethra that can then travel to the bladder, causing a UTI. Peeing helps to flush out that bacteria before it can cause a problem.

Don't be afraid to pee after sex because we are all human and must use the bathroom!

2. What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus, HPV, is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical, anal, and vaginal cancer. The way to pass on HPV is through intimate skin-to-skin contact. There is not a delicate way to say this but fingering can pass the virus on.

One thing I didn't know was that oral sex passes the Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) on. That is something I wish to have known because I would have been more careful. I do have abnormal cells and have been informed I am at a higher risk for cancer.

3. Don't be talked out of protection.

Don't let a man fool you into thinking a condom won't fit. There are plenty of examples that show how condoms can fit up an adult's leg. There are condoms made for below and above average penises. Have the guy do his research if he feels the condom is too tight or too loose.

If your partner is unwilling to use protection than ask yourself if you want to be vulnerable with someone who are unable to meet your needs? Be with someone who values your safety as well as theirs.

4. Saying no is ok!

Don't allow yourself to be pressured into something against your will; being a virgin is not something to be ashamed about. In my experience, sex is amazing when with someone you trust rather than someone you just met.

Don't have sex because it is the cool thing, have sex only when you are fully ready and comfortable.

5. Get tested for STD's.

A Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) is something no one wants but is something that is easy to acquire if you're not careful. There are STIs that don't show symptoms and you could be passing something on without knowing it. Being tested helps to give you peace of mind and also provide you treatment if needed.

If you are a student than your health services should offer free testing. Planned Parenthood offers free testing as well to both male and females.

6. Get a pap smear.

Pap smears help detect if you have cancerous or precancerous

cells in the cervix. If you are sexually active then it is recommended to get one done every 3 years, unless otherwise told by your doctor. Check out Planned Parenthood's site to see if you qualify for free testing.

Had I known these six things before my first sexual experience, I'd have been more careful. I hope that this article has helped to inform you of safer sexual practices.