A Guide To Safe Sex

Imagine this; things are getting heated between you and your partner/s and you are all ready to take the next step forward and engage in sexual intimacy. But before you take the big leap, you need to first consider the impacts of the intimacy and the term ‘safe sex’. Safe sex ensures you and your partner/s stay protected from sexually transmitted infections and makes the experience more enjoyable for all parties. Sexual health checks, knowledge on sexually transmitted diseases, use of contraceptives, and staying protected are some steps to ensure that you have safe sex.

What does safe sex mean?

Safe sex is referred to as having sexual contact with your partner to prevent any unplanned pregnancy and spread of any sexually transmitted diseases that could affect you or your partner. Safe sex might not be 100 per cent effective again preventing such instances, however a checklist can be followed, which not only keeps everyone around you safe and healthy but also makes the experience enjoyable.

What does safe sex mean? ​

Talk with your partner

It is crucial to the talk with your partner about safe sex. Having a chat is key that ensures both parties are on the same page when things get hot and heavy. Talk about when to have sex, contraception methods and sexually transmitted infections. You can ask your partner about their recent health checks or a sexual health check for any recent STI. The use of contraception should also be discussed. It might feel awkward but don’t hesitate to talk about who is responsible for purchase of contraception.

Let’s jump right into the checklist to explore the things you need to know about safe sex.

ALWAYS have proper consent ​

ALWAYS have proper consent

A mutual agreement between both partners is essential before proceeding with sexual intimacy. It is good to talk not only before, but also during sex to know whether both parties are comfortable with the actions taking place. It is important to always respect change of mind or unwillingness as it is essential to always have proper consent before starting or continuing sexual intimacy.

Contraception

You can always stay safe from STIs and avoid unwanted pregnancy by using simple contraceptive methods like male/female condoms or diaphragms. Moreover, hormonal contraception can be practiced, but it cannot protect from sexually transmitted diseases. You can purchase condoms at a variety of supermarkets, chemist shops or convenient stores.  Take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of your partner by always making sure you have contraception available.

Practice safe oral sex

Check for cuts or sores around the lips, near the mouth or genital areas and avoid oral sex for protection against STIs. Even a sore throat infection can pass during the act. Visiting a sexual health clinic for an STI test each year or at the start of a new relationship can help you understand your health status.

Stay safe from HIV

Contraception methods of using a condom with a lubricant significantly reduces the chances of acquiring an HIV infection. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is also an option for HIV negative people who are frequently on the risk of an HIV infection.

Stay safe from HIV

Don’t forget sexual health checks

Going for a sexual health checkup at least a year is necessary. Furthermore, there is no problem in re-testing for STIs before the start of a new relationship, or after unsafe sex, or when your previous/current partner informs you that they have an STI. All sexual health checks are kept confidential and are readily available at sexual health clinics. The tests are performed by collecting a urine sample or by taking a genital swab. You can trust your doctor while obtaining a sample for a genital swab and don’t feel embarrassed as it is a necessary diagnostic procedure. If a disease is detected, it is best to let your previous/current partner know about the infection and advise them to get tested for a possible STI that could get back to you if left untreated.

Go for safe sex with strangers

When planning on having sex with people that you don’t know very well or have met recently, let a friend know about your plan. There is no problem in taking consent and asking for a recent sexual health check. Besides, keep condoms/dams with you if you have made up your mind to have sex. It is essential to understand that there might be no sex at all, and you should respect a change of mind.

Precautions after unsafe sex

There is no need to panic if you forgot whether you had safe sex or not. Moreover, there may be instances where you did not use a condom while having sex, or if the condom has come off. Under such circumstances, there are several steps you can take to minimise the risk of a sexually transmitted infection.

  • Go for an STI test at your sexual health clinic or the nearest hospital.
  • Use a contraceptive pill within 24 hours of having sex. However, the tablet can be used for up to 96 hours and is 85 per cent successful.

LGBTQIA+-friendly sexual health services

You can always find an LGBTQIA+-friendly sexual health clinic around your area at DocLIST, a directory for doctors that are recommended by lesbian and bisexual women alike.

Being sexually intimate with your partner is a great experience and engaging in safe sex should always be in your mind whenever you make the decision to move forward. The biggest thing to consider is to make sure you get consent and use appropriate contraception during the experience.

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