Get Informed Topics Safer Sex & STIs Safer Sex What is safe sex?

What is safe sex?

Sex can be fun and pleasurable but it can come with risks such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and or unplanned pregnancy. Safer sex is about taking care of yourself and your partner(s).

Safe sex is:

Using a condom and a pill or other contraceptive method every time you have vaginal or anal sex. A condom protects from STI’s. A pill or other contraceptive method does not protect from STIs but does prevent pregnancy. If you want to stop condom use or prefer sex without a condom, first do an STI test together with your partner(s). 

Safer sex includes:

In addition to condom and contraceptive use, here is what you can do to increase the chances of having safer sex:

  • Talk to your partner(s) before having sex about using safer sex tools such as condoms, dams and gloves to prevent the exchange of blood, semen (cum), vaginal and anal fluids that can transmit an STI or cause an unplanned pregnancy.
  • Asking your partner(s) before having sex if they have an STI or if they have ever been tested for STIs.
  • Getting tested for STIs when you or your partner has a new sexual partner. If you have new sexual partners often, get STI testing every 3-6 months. If you ever have symptoms of an STI, get tested right away.
  • Consider sexual activities that can’t result in an unplanned pregnancy or that put you at lower risk of getting an STI such as finger play or oral sex.
  • Consider getting the vaccines that are available for preventing Hepatitis B and some strains of HPV.

Why have safe sex?

Safe sex is the best way of protecting yourself and partner(s) from unplanned pregnancy and STIs, including HIV.

There are very good reasons why sexually active people need to practice safe sex including the following.

  • Condoms stop HIV transmission.
  • You can't judge whether someone has an STI based on how they look, dress, behave, who they have slept with, etc. Anyone can get HIV or another STI.
  • Practicing safe sex provides you with peace of mind.
  • Thinking 'HIV won't happen to me' or ‘I won’t get pregnant’ provides no protection.
  • Some STIs are quite common and using condoms will reduce the risk of infection.
  • People with HIV or STIs don't always know that they are infected.
  • Safe sex protects you from unintended pregnancies.
  • HIV and STIs can affect anyone. Best to be safe.

What Is the Safest Sex?

There are different ways of having sex. But what is safe and what is not when it comes to STIs, HIV and pregnancy? 

When you have sex, you do not want an STI or unplanned pregnancy. That is why safe sex is important. 

These are safe sexual activities:

> Not having sex at all. This is the only definite way to prevent HIV or STI

> Kissing, caressing, hugging, massaging, rubbing against your partner's body with clothes on

> Fantasizing or having phone sex

> Touching yourself or masturbating. Also touching yourself while having your partner touch themselves (mutual masturbation)

> Fingering or giving a hand job. 

> Having sex using a condom

> Having anal sex with a condom and a lot of lube

> Having sex using a condom and the pill or other contraceptive that prevents pregnancy

What is unsafe sex?

Unsafe sex or unprotected sex usually means sex without contraception or a condom. 

Having sex without protection is risky. You're risking pregnancy, getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), including HIV, and possibly stress.. This could be oral, anal or vaginal sex. Condoms help to protect against pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Unsafe sex can also mean sex without any form of contraception or birth control such as the pill or an IUD that help to prevent pregnancy.

Did you learn something?

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