Sex is more than an act of pleasure; it is an ability to be close to a person, so connected and comfortable that it’s almost breathtaking. Sex is a significant aspect of life. The matter of concern here is whether it’s safe to make love with your partner or loved one?
What is safe sex? Does such a thing exist? Yes, you can engage in sexual activity fearlessly. However, it is vital to be mindful of sexual health and protection to avoid sexually transmitted infections. A sexually transmitted infection/disease spreads through sexual contact; this includes skin-to-skin contact. Therefore, the only trusted way to prevent STIs is to abstain from all sexual contact (oral, anal, or vaginal). Unfortunately, around one million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide, most of which are asymptomatic.
There are steps to limit the risk of STIs when engaging in sexual activity. Continue reading the article and discover how to have safe sex and no regrets!
Always use a Condom
One way to protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to take a little care each time. The super-simple rule is to use a condom. A condom acts as a physical barrier between you and your partner, which prevents the spread of germs and semen. Consistent use of condoms is highly effective in reducing STD transmission. Do not forget to use a condom each time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex. It’s the only contraceptive method that can protect you and your partner from infections that spread through bodily fluids. A condom can protect you from infections/diseases transmitted from skin to skin, but only if it covers the affected areas. Using barrier methods can lower your risk of contracting STIs. These methods include:
- Use external or internal condoms for penetrative intercourse, including sex toys
- Use condoms or dental dams for oral sex
- Use gloves for manual stimulation or penetration
Condoms are good at preventing the exchange of bodily fluids containing viruses or bacteria. They also help to minimize skin-to-skin contact. Using condoms correctly makes them more effective. In case you have had unsafe sex, it is better to take a morning after pill at once. Other than that, follow these safety precautions when using internal and external condoms:
- Always check the expiry date
- Put the condom on correctly
- Use condom-safe lubricant and avoid oil-based lubes with latex condoms
- After sex, hold onto the condom, so it doesn’t slip
- Dispose of the condom properly
- Never remove a condom and try to put it on again
- Never reuse a condom
Both partners must get tested
Be smart and get tested! The first important thing is to know your STD status. Perhaps, it is the first step in the transmission of STDs. It might be scary at first, but knowing what’s happening to your body and how to treat it if something is wrong is much better. Then, if you or your partner is infected, you can take steps to protect each other. Of course, a conversation about sexual health with your partner is a must, but not everyone with an STI knows they have one. That’s the reason why it’s so important to get tested.
Reducing your sex partners may decrease your risk for sexually transmitted infections. However, before you sleep with a new person, it’s best to ensure you are both physically healthy and have nothing to worry about. If you have a cause of concern, talk to your healthcare provider and get tested.
Some STIs have no or only mild symptoms; they can go unnoticed for a while. However, some infections can lead to long-term health issues or even infertility if untreated. Furthermore, undetected STIs might be passed on to other people as well. Make sure to ask your healthcare provider to test you for STDs. Asking is the only way to know whether you are receiving the proper tests. Don’t forget to tell your partner to ask a healthcare provider about STD testing as well.
Mutual monogamy is an agreement between two partners that they will only be sexually active with each other. You agree to be sexually active with only one person who agrees to be sexually active only with you. The safest way to avoid STDs is to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. It is a requisite that you must both be sure you are not infected with STDs. Maintain a sexual relationship with only one uninfected partner, as more partners increase the likelihood of contracting an infection.
It is vital to have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Communication with your sexual partner is imperative. However, always remember you have the right to say “No.” Having sex is a decision both partners should be comfortable with.
Don’t mix sex with alcohol or drugs
Alcohol and other recreational drugs reduce our ability to make safe sex decisions. What happens actually is people tend to lose control when they’re drunk or on drugs. Having unprotected sex may have serious consequences, which you might regret later on. So stay in control of your body both physically and mentally. Some decisions are best made timely, particularly those involving sex and contraception. Be prepared and think about how you want to protect yourself before heading out to a party.
Maintain Healthy Hygiene
It is best to maintain healthy hygiene. Maintaining good hygiene before and after sexual contact may also help prevent STI transmission. Try to make a habit to:
- Wash your hands before any sexual contact
- Rinse off before and after sexual contact
- Urinate after sex to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Avoid sharing towels or undergarments
- Avoid intercourse if your partner has a rash, genital sores, genital discharge, or any other STI symptoms
It may sound weird, but too much hygiene and too few bacteria can also be risk factors. One example is specially designed shower gels called vaginal douches, which girls use to wash their private parts. Of course, keeping clean is nothing wrong. Still, these douches can remove some of the natural bacteria in the vagina that protect girls from infection. This is why douching may increase your risk of getting STIs.