Safer sex starts with thinking about sex risks and then making safer sex decisions. Remember, no matter what sexual activity is happening that it is always consensual and both partners are on the same page. Decisions about having safer sex include:
- What you will and won’t do
- Decisions about the amount of risk you’re willing to take when it comes to STIs or pregnancy.
No kind of sex with another person is guaranteed to be 100 percent safe: Since STIs don’t always have symptoms; people don’t always know they have them. And pregnancy can happen even if you use birth control (although depending on the method used, it’s unlikely).
But not all kinds of sex have the same risks. Vaginal and anal sex are the most likely to spread STIs, oral sex is less likely, and things like kissing, mutual masturbation, and outer course (AKA dry humping) are even safer. Here are ways to have safer sex:
-For vaginal sex, use birth control and condoms.
-For anal sex, use condoms and water-based lubricant.
-For oral sex, use a condom to cover the penis.
-Get tested for STIs, especially if you do not know the health status of your partner.
Sexual activity also has emotional risks. It’s not just a physical act, but an emotional one as well, which is why it is very important to communicate with your partner about what is ok and what is not. It’s also important to ask yourself what you are ready for, what you want and what you are looking for in a sexual relationship.
To learn about your contraceptive choices, click here.