What is safe sex? Safe sex means protecting yourself from pregnancy right? And STI’s. And injuries. And emotional damage… Actually safe sex means a lot of things and they are all pretty important things to consider. Sex is one of the greatest parts of the human experience but it can also get a bit complicated. So many things can go wrong and turn something great into regret. But never fear! When you’re in the know about sex each experience is much more likely to be something you remember fondly rather than as a mistake.
Here’s how to make sure you’re covering all your bases when it comes to safe sex.
At this point I assume you’re aware that sex can lead to pregnancy. If not, go have a chat with mum or dad and come back and read this later. If you’re all brushed up on sex = pregnancy then continue. There are many ways to reduce the risk of pregnancy occurring from sexual intercourse but none of them are fool proof. Condoms remain one of the most popular methods, in part due to their ability to prevent the spread of STI’s. Condoms also have the added benefits of being an exterior barrier rather than an interior one such as the pill, implanon or the depot shot. Many women find that one or more of these hormonal contraceptives disagrees with them. But with higher success rates than condoms alone they are certainly worth looking in to.
A good way to avoid STI’s is to avoid having unprotected sex with people you don’t know. Seriously, just use a condom and don’t end up with an itch in places you don’t want an itch. While many STI’s are curable, some are not and can be life threatening. Some STI’s do not show symptoms despite being very dangerous to the reproductive organs. For this reason it is recommended that individuals who engage in risky sexual practices (for example unprotected casual sex) get regular sexual health checks. This will include an STI test to pick up any infections, hopefully before they get too serious.
Sex can be vigorous and dangerous. Well, good sex can be anyway. You might not need to stretch or keep yourself in tip top shape to enjoy sex safely but your physical health should be kept in mind. Being too rough can cause damage to the penis or vagina, especially if there is not enough lubrication. For this reason it might be wise to invest in some lubricant for those longer, steamier sessions. When finding fun new places to romp keep an eye out for environmental hazards such as flames in the kitchen, water in the bathroom and voyeurs out in public… Nothing like being surprised by a pervert to make you fall into the bushes and sprain an ankle!
Let’s face it, sometimes sex hurts in other ways. Apart from the obvious ‘wait until you’re ready’, ‘sleep with people you care about’ or ‘only make decisions you’re comfortable with’ lines, there’s another side to sex that requires a little emotional sensitivity. When engaging in new sexual practices, even with an old partner, the emotional toll should be taken into consideration. Some fetishes or role plays can be emotionally intense (e.g. non-consent fantasies, rough sex, gender reversals, BDSM etc.) and both partners should be aware of the need for sensitivity, communication and possibly debriefing after the session.