The majority of those who write in are women — about 87 percent in January. Those who type in are asked for their age, gender and ZIP code before the chat begins.
Of the 723 people who asked questions in January, about 24 percent were ages 21 to 24. The anonymous format is especially good for young people because it allows them to ask honest questions without worrying they’re being judged or making an adult uncomfortable, says Paula Tavrow, a professor at UCLA and the director of the school’s Bixby Program in Population and Reproductive Health.
ORANGE The questions that pop up on computer screens at Planned Parenthood’s headquarters can be surprising to those who aren’t tapped into high school locker room conversations or late night phone calls with friends. It wasn’t really planned, so we didn’t use a condom,” a 17-year-old girl types during a live chat online. I heard u can’t get pregnant the first time,” the teen writes.
“Yes, a female is at risk for pregnancy anytime she has unprotected intercourse,” writes a health educator who is sitting in a small office in Orange, who then explains the mechanics of a woman’s ovulation cycle and recommends emergency contraception. “Yes, that is common myth that many people have heard and believe.” This is a live online chat room hosted by the local chapter of Planned Parenthood. The small staff who responds to these questions — who all have bachelors degrees and certification from the state — say people from as far as Saudi Arabia have typed.
I hit the first hurdle when both usernames Naughty Boy88 and Naughty Boy1988 are taken.
I’m also dismayed to find that Naughty Boy69 is also unavailable. Two hours later my inbox is still ringing hollow – not a single response.
While I um and ah about forking out another wedge, the messages start to arrive.