A crash course on safe sex: be responsible, be safe.
What is safe sex?
If you’re considering having sex, making sure you and your partner are safe should be the top-most priority. The practice of safe sex involves protecting yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs) and also pregnancy, if undesired. Some common STDs include syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (that causes AIDS).
Safe sex thus means being responsible. This also involves getting tested for STDs or STIs each time you have sex with a new partner. If you discover you have an STD or STI, it’s important to avail treatment and also let your partner know about it, so that he or she can get tested and treated, and also decide if he/she wants to have sex with you at all.
How can you protect yourself?
Take precautions against any part of your body, especially mouth, vagina or anus coming in contact with your partner’s body fluids. Using a latex or polyurethane condom when you have vaginal, anal or oral sex to protect yourself from STDs is, therefore, a must.
Condoms can go a long way in preventing STDs, as they provide protection from bacteria and viruses present in the semen, vaginal fluids and blood from coming in contact with the other’s body.
Make sure you use a condom correctly. Don’t use the same condom twice, and use just one condom every time. An extra condom doesn’t translate into extra protection, it can in fact be detrimental.
STDs can spread from people who are unaware that they have one, so make sure you use protection every time you have sex.
And if you’re in a relationship, delay having sex until you are physically and emotionally ready for it. Also, it’s best for both to get tested for STDs before having sex.
What about birth control pills?
Birth control pills and injections only offer protection against pregnancy and not STDs. While this is an important aspect of safe sex when you’re not planning a baby, it alone won’t suffice. STDs can be dangerous, and it’s very important to protect yourself and your partner from it, so condom is irreplaceable in that sense.
When you know you’re safe, yours and your partners mind will be it at ease and you can enjoy sex better. So use protection and put your mind at ease.
Also read: Contraceptives: myth busters
Negotiating safe sex: Some must ask questions before having sex with someone for the first time.
- How many people have you had sex with?
- Have you had more than one sex partner at a time?
- Have you had sex without a condom?
- Have you had oral sex without protection?
- Do you inject illegal drugs, or have you had someone who does?
- Have you ever has unprotected sex with a prostitute?
- Have you gotten tested for STDs? If so, what were the results? If you ever had an STD, has it been treated and cured?
- Have you gotten tested for HIV?
If you’re having difficulty in asking these questions, then having sex, at this point, may not be the best thing for you. And, if you find that your partner is reluctant in answering these questions and is belittling its importance you may want to reconsider your decision to have sex with him/her. Make note, a partner who is disrespecting of you for taking responsibility for your own health and well-being may not be the right person for you to be with.
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