You might think that you know everything there is to know about having safe sex, but you’re probably wrong. Many people assume that they have all their facts straight, but it often turns out that they have been misinformed, or they remember something incorrectly. Even if you had sex education lessons at school, you swapped facts with friends, or you did your own research, you might still not fully understand the basic rules. If you’re sexually active or you’re about to be, it’s essential that you get the facts right. There are a few basic things to remember that will help you engage in safe sex and prevent STDs.
Use Protection for Any Type of Sex
Many people may realize that they need to use a condom to prevent the transmission of diseases during vaginal or anal sex. But what you may not know is that you can also pass things from one partner to another through oral sex, genital-to-genital contact and even kissing. Remember that any time bodily fluids come into contact with each other, you could be at risk of contracting an infection. You should use condoms and dental dams for oral sex, and take precautions for other activities. With some infections, there is a risk that having an open sore, especially in your mouth, could increase the risk of it being passed on.
Get Tested for STDs
People often fall into the trap of thinking that if they can’t see or feel that they or a partner has a STD, they must be clean. But the truth is that many infections are asymptomatic, meaning you don’t get any symptoms, for at least the first few weeks. In order to be certain that you haven’t become infected with anything, you should go to a clinic for testing. You can find locations all over the US, as well as any other country if you’re abroad. So even being on vacation is no excuse. Only these tests will reveal for certain if you’re healthy or not. Most infections, once identified, can be easily treated.
Use Contraceptives Correctly
Contraceptives, from condoms to the pill, are only effective so long as you use them in the way they are intended. For example, when you use condoms you need to handle them with care. Don’t keep them in your wallet for months or expose them to too much cold or heat. When you use them, make sure you know how to put them on correctly, and that you don’t snag them on anything to cause a tear. If you take a contraceptive pill or have another form of contraceptive, talk to your doctor about anything that could interfere with its effectiveness.
Safe Sex is Consensual Sex
Remember that safe sex isn’t just about preventing diseases and pregnancy. Respecting each other is essential too, so be sure to obtain consent every time. Your partner should respect you too, and should never do anything you don’t want them to do.
Learning about all the way that you can contract a sexually transmitted disease can make you nervous, but safe sex is easier than it sounds. It all comes down to protecting yourself and your partner.