Practicing safe sex is when you protect yourself and your partner while having sex to avoid sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. Safe sex is where there is no exchange of semen, vaginal fluids and blood between the two partners.
When two people engage in unsafe sex there is an increased risk of one or both of them contracting STI’s such as HIV, Hepatitis B, Gonorrhea, syphilis and unwanted pregnancy.
Condoms can help ensure Safe Sex
Condoms will offer you the best protection against STIs because they act as a barrier preventing the exchange of semen and vaginal fluids or even blood between you and your partner. However you have to note that condoms will not offer you total protection against STIs. Condoms when used well will help to give the best available protection for sexual partners.
The Male and Female Condoms
There are usually two types of condoms which are the male condom and the female condom. Most condoms are made from latex rubber but if you are the kind of person who is allergic to latex rubber there are condoms made with polyurethane that you can opt for.
The male condom is usually worn by the man when the penis is erect and stiff for it to work properly. The female condom on the other hand is made to fit inside the vagina and is lubricated for effectiveness.
For maximum effectiveness of condoms they should be used when sex is started until when it is ended. Each time you have sex use a new and well lubricated condom and also check the expiry date of the condom before using it. If you need to lubricate the condom more, it is advisable that you use only water based lubricants because other types of lubricants may damage the condom.
Can Condoms Really provide Total Protection?
Condoms are made to offer protection to the parts they can cover but will not protect other parts that they don’t cover. What this means is that there is not 100 percent protection against STIs even when you use them. When using condoms to offer you protection you should consider the following issues;
- Even when having sex while using a condom an infection may still be spread when the condom does not cover the infected body part. Certain infections such pubic lice, genital warts virus, scabies, and the herpes virus are infections that can be spread when there is skin to skin contact. When you use a condom they will offer you some level of protection but not complete protection against such infections.
- Condoms do sometime break when they are not well lubricated or well stored. It is for this reasons that water based lubricants are advised as oil based lubricants usually cause condom breakage. Condoms should also not be subjected to strong heat. You should also avoid using condoms which are past their sell-by dates or even attempt to re-use a condom because they are designed to be used only once.
More Tips for Safer Sex
Practicing safer sex is having sex when you and your partner are ready for it. This way you will be able to have sex that is fun and protected and in the end there will be no regrets. Below are some ways for you to practice safe sex:
- You should only have sex with one partner and ensure that your partner is free from STIs and remaining faithful to each other.
- Go for STI testing with your partner to ensure that you are free from the common STIs. If you just got a new sex partner be sure to go for testing together to ensure that they are not infected.
- Communication with your sexual partner about your worries is good.
- You should be aware that using drugs or alcohol may impair your judgment and therefore avoid having sex when you are under the influence of drugs.
- To avoid unplanned pregnancy, you can use other types of contraception in addition to condoms.
Below are Safe Sexual Activities
These sexual activities usually have a low risk of STI transmission:
- French kissing and when neither of you have sores in the mouth.
- Sexual intercourse using a condom.
High Risk Sexual Activities
- Having more than one sexual partner increases your risk of contracting STIs.
- Sex without a condom increases your risk of contracting an STI.
- Having an unprotected sex and then withdrawing the penis just before ejaculation to avoid pregnancy will not work effectively as a birth control method.
- Using condoms that are expired.
- Trying to re-use condoms.
- Incorrect condom use or even continued use after breakage.
- Engaging in oral sex with an infected partner is also risky.
Factors that Increase the Risk of indulging in Unsafe Sex
- Being drunk.
- Use of drugs.
- Being pressured to have sex.
Remember practicing safe sex means having protected sex all the time. It is better to have one sexual partner and remain faithful to each other. Avoid having several sexual partners as this increases your risk of contacting STI such as syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, and HBV. Practice safe sex with your partner to stay healthy.