Safe sex is pretty much having sex while protecting yourself and your sexual partner against STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] and unplanned pregnancy.
With safe sex, there is no direct exchange of semen, vaginal fluids or blood between partners. Safe sex helps to stay healthy and can even make sex better.
Methods of practicing safe sex
- Delay sexual activities until you are both ready [physically and emotionally] to have sex.
- Limit your sexual partners. Safe sex is easier with one partner who has sex with only you. Every time you add a new sex partner, you are exposed to diseases that all of their sexual partners may have.
- Use a condom during sex. Condoms act as physical barriers to prevent exchange of semen or vaginal fluids.
- Use healthy or water based lubricants to help prevent tearing of the skin during sex. Small tears in the vagina or rectum during anal sex can allow STDs get into the blood.
- Always ask your potential sexual partner about his or her sexual history. You’d want to know if he has ever had an STD and if it was treated to better know how to protect yourself.
- Get tested for HIV/AIDS and other STDs and have your partner tested too before deciding on sex without condoms.
How do you know you have an STD?
We wrote about this here
Are some sexual activities safer than others?
Yes. There are some ways of getting sexual pleasure that are less risky than others. These include kissing, touching your partners genitals with your hands, using sex toys with a partner, oral sex, dry humping etc. It is still possible to get STDs from some of these things, although less risky. Using condoms and dams to avoid contact with fluids whenever in the process help a lot.
Safe sex when you have an STD?
Yes, it’s possible. A lot of STDs can be cured with medication, so once you’re done with your treatment you don’t have to worry about passing it on to your partner. For STDs that cannot be cured, there are ways to treat symptoms to avoid giving one’s sexual partner. We created a small checklist:
- Always use condoms during oral, vaginal and anal sex. [Whether or not you have an STD]
- If you have any STD symptom [sores around your genitals, weird discharge, itching etc.] don’t have sex till you have seen a doctor and received treatment.
- If you have a curable STD [syphilis, gonorrhea etc], take all your medicine and have your partner get treated as well.
- If your STD is not curable [like HIV/AIDS], speak with your doctor about medicines that can lower your chances of spreading it to your partner. You may also need to use condoms every time you have sex.
Safe sex and unwanted pregnancies
To avoid unplanned pregnancies, it is important to incorporate safe sex. If you’re sexually active and do not want to get pregnant, use contraceptives. The male condom is the only contraceptive method effective in reducing the risk of STDs. Other forms of contraception like birth control pills and implants do not protect against STDs – they only prevent pregnancy. For sexual partners, it is important to speak to a doctor on the best contraceptive method to apply for pregnancy free sex.
Always talk to your sexual partners about safe sex before you have sex. It is not the easiest conversation, but it is a necessary one.