Ask Now: What do you do when your first experience with sex is negative? This question comes from thirteen-year-old Akhutu Lynn Kayabe, a student from Lenana Girls High School in Kitale, Kenya.

I know from your essay that you were married before reaching your teens in order to help your siblings out financially, that they might stay in school. While making such a sacrifice for your family is very honorable, this major change in your life at such a young age must have been difficult, confusing, and scary. When your first experience with sex is negative and becomes the root of unhappiness, it takes time, as well as discipline to change your outlook and reclaim your innocence, but it can be done. You must decide with your mind, body, and soul that it’s what you want for yourself and believe just as earnestly that it’s what God wants for you, as well. God wants you to have a healthy, positive understanding of sex, so that when you are older, it will be an amazing, life-giving expression of love in your marriage.

I can imagine strong emotions behind your questions, such as anger, fear, and frustration. If you have any one or all of these feelings toward sex, please don’t think you’re alone. I chose to write about this because it applies to millions of teens, girls and boys alike, who have jumped into physical relationships too fast and have learned to accept their confusion, rage, or disappointment as normal. Eventually, it can get to a point where you no longer have control of your own sexuality, and subsequently your life.

You can regain control by first deciding what is best for your health and your future. That might mean getting out of your current relationship, or slowing things down. If this seems too difficult, because it’s easier to please than it is to say no, think about what’s at risk: should you become pregnant, you may have to give up your education or your child; should you become exposed to disease, your health or even your life may be in danger. Finally, is it worth jeopardizing your relationship with your future chosen husband? Isn’t he worth waiting for?

First you need Courage and Discipline, and then you need Faith that new life, a better life, awaits!

So where do hormones fit in? Hormones are chemical messengers secreted into your blood stream by glands called endocrines. They stimulate critical reactions in your body; for example, growth, the breakdown of food, sexual function and reproductive health, plus mental ability, our moods, body temperature, and thirst.

You need your hormones, as does the continuation of the human race, but that does not mean you let your hormones control your decisions. Hormones cannot look after your baby if you become pregnant, and they will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. Hormones don’t know the depth of true love, either, and love is what makes sex a profound and powerful force. You cannot “escape” your hormones, but you can choose not to react to them until you're sure you know what you're getting into.

What if sex is not consensual? I’m referring to your question, “How can you escape in the rapist’s hands?” One answer is to scream and fight, and in that case, your hormones are on your side. These chemical messengers racing through your blood stream will charge your energy, give you strength you didn’t know you had, and even desensitize you to pain. But if you are outnumbered or are up against a weapon, fighting is not the answer. Here again, you have to be smart and decide what would be your safest reaction. When cruelty is all around you, let God be your escape. When you have nowhere to run to, imagine yourself safe in His arms and He will give you peace. Nothing can separate you from His love.

Two certainties we can expect as parents are questions from our children we'd like to avoid and mistakes from our children we wish we could have circumvented. Being receptive to their questions about sex will keep the doors of communication open, and outwardly loving them, even when they've made life-altering mistakes, will earn their trust and allow for second chances.