What Is Safe Sex?
Safe sex, also known as safer sex, is when you have sex with the lowest risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, herpes, and syphilis. It can make your sex life better by improving communication and trust between you and your partners.
Even though it’s called safe sex, it still carries some risk. But it’s much healthier than sex with no protection at all.
Safe sex is protected sex during every sexual encounter. It includes:
- Oral sex with a condom, a dental dam, or plastic wrap
- Vaginal sex with a male or female condom
- Anal sex with a male or female condom
How Do You Get STDs?
STDs, also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), spread during vaginal, oral, or anal sex or close intimate contact. Many of these infections are carried in bodily fluids like semen, blood, or vaginal fluids. Others are on your skin.
Safe sex means not letting your partner’s semen or vaginal fluids get inside your vagina, anus, penis, or mouth. It also means avoiding genital skin-to-skin contact, because some STDs are spread by touch alone. Safe sex also means being careful if you have cuts, sores, or bleeding gums; these can raise the risk of spreading disease.
Anyone can get an STD. Young people who have more than one sexual partner, gay men, and bisexual men are at the highest risk.
You might not notice any symptoms. They can differ depending on the disease. The only way to know for sure whether you do or don’t have an STD is to get tested.
What Is the Safest Sex?
The only definite way to prevent HIV or STDs is to not have sex at all. The next safest thing would be to limit activities to those listed below or to use condoms. If your partner has HIV or another STD, or if you don’t know their sexual history, the safest sexual activities involve things like:
- Fantasizing or having phone sex
- Touching yourself (masturbation) while having your partner touch themselves (mutual masturbation)
- Caressing your partner with a nonsexual massage
- Rubbing against your partner’s body with clothes on
5 ways to make use of safer sex
1) Use condoms
Using condoms every time you have sex is one of the best ways to prevent STIs and STDs, especially if you’re having sex with a new partner and you haven’t taken any STI tests recently. Condoms are around 98% effective in preventing pregnancy, so if unplanned pregnancy is definitely not an option for you, you can use them in combination with another form of birth control for full protection.
2) Be open with your partner
Be open with your partner about what makes you feel comfortable and safe when it comes to sex. If they don’t respect how you feel, don’t be afraid to ditch them and find somebody who will!
3) Don’t live by ‘just once’ can’t hurt
Unplanned pregnancy and sexual diseases can happen whether you have had sex once or a thousand times. It isn’t possible to tell whether someone has an STI by looking at them, so always use a condom – especially with a new partner.
4) Consent is a must
If you’re feeling guilty or pressured into having sex with someone, exit the situation as soon as possible. Sex should be a pleasurable experience for all individuals involved. You can learn more about consent here.
5) Take charge of your sexual health
Learn more about your body, how to access birth control and where to get tested if you’ve had unprotected sex. If some parts of sexual health are still a mystery to you, don’t be afraid to reach out to your healthcare provider or local sexual health clinic to answer any questions.
Why you should practice safe sex
STIs are more common than you may think. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 million STIs are acquired every day worldwide. Most STIs can be treated with antibiotics, but left untreated they could remain with you for life or even affect your fertility. In addition to the health-saving benefits, managing your reproductive health can empower you, giving you control over family planning and your sexual wellness.
What should I do if I’ve had unsafe sex?
If you’ve had unprotected sex, book a doctor’s appointment, chat with a pharmacist or visit your local sexual health clinic as soon as you can. You’ll be able to get tested for STIs and pregnancy: no questions and no judgments. Your healthcare professional could also help you find a more reliable method of protection so that you feel more prepared next time.
Keep in mind: Help is available. The morning after pill exists and many STIs can be treated with a single dose of antibiotics – so the sooner you visit the doctor the better! Here you can also buy generic pills on genericpride.com with a 15% discount.
The health benefits of sex
Did you know that having regular sex can help live a happier and healthier life? Here are 6 ways your sex life can improve your wellbeing
Boosts immune system
Some studies have shown that regular sex can boost your immune system, with people who have sex once or twice a week having more illness-fighting antibodies, and a higher sense of overall wellness.
Having regular sex can help you fight insomnia and fall asleep soundly, especially when you have an orgasm. This is due to the release of the ‘love’ hormone, oxytocin, as well as the rush of endorphins, leaving you feeling sleepy and relaxed after sex.
The rush of pain-relieving endorphins and relaxation of the muscles after orgasm makes sex your very own DIY (or with a friend) menstrual cramp treatment! Having an orgasm during your period can actually shorten your period too! It’s common to experience a higher sex drive on your period – all the more reason to embrace it.
Relationship health and happiness
This one is a bit of a chicken and the egg situation; happy couples tend to have sex more often, and the physical act of having sex actually increases the hormone oxytocin in the body. This hormone is responsible for feelings of trust and associated with relationship satisfaction, meaning that regular sex can enhance intimacy and the connection you have with your partner.
Sex can be a great form of exercise, improving heart health and reducing your resting heart rate. However, this doesn’t mean you should forego other cardio workouts as it isn’t as effective as running or HIIT!
Sex can increase your confidence and help you embrace your sexual side, discovering what feels good for you. Plus, the hormones produced from sex promote a better overall mood, enhance your sex drive and result in higher rates of sexual satisfaction in general.
Sex isn’t the only thing that’s good for you
If you don’t have a sex partner, there are tons of ways to live a healthier life and promote your sexual well-being. Masturbation has many of the same benefits as sex, and genuine acts of intimacy such as cuddling and deep listening release oxytocin, promoting bonding, emotional understanding, and fulfillment.