You jump in your car and what’s the first thing you do? You put on your seat belt. You don’t do this because you’re an accident-prone, bad driver. You do it because you know it’s safer. Sexual health strategies can be thought of in the same way; safer sex is just safer. Check out the tips below to learn about safer sex options and getting a conversation started.
Safer Sex Options
You have a number of options in making sex safer. Below is a list of safer sex strategies that greatly reduce STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) transmission: condoms, female condoms, STI testing, and low-risk sexual activities.
- Condoms are cheap, widely available, and reduce your risk significantly when used correctly.
- Female Condoms reduce your risk and feel great. They are worn by the receptive partner either vaginally or anally and can be inserted up to 8 hours in advance.
- STI/STD Testing. If your partner doesn’t have an STI s/he isn’t going to infect you with an STI. Making sure your partner is STI free or getting treatment for existing STIs are effective safer sex methods as long as both partners remain monogamous. If you or your lover have sex with others or have had unsafe sex 3-6 months before testing, be sure to use this method in conjunction with other methods.
Low-Risk Sex Activities where body fluids aren’t exchanged without skin-to-skin genital contact aren’t likely to transmit infection. Some low-risk activities are:
● Admiring your lover’s body
● Masturbating together
● Using unshared sex toys together
● Erotic massage with gloves
● Watching porn together
● Clothed frottage (rubbing against each other)
● Erotic dancing
● Nude drawing, painting, or photography
What are the High-Risk Sexual Activities?
Only three types of sexual activities put you and your partner at high risk for STI infection. These are unprotected oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse. If you avoid these three unprotected activities, you’re dramatically reducing your STI risk.
Starting the Conversation
You have a number of options in the way you bring up a safer sex discussion. You may choose the direct approach with a statement like, “By the way, I only have safe sex.” Or, you can get the conversation going with statements like, “I enjoy sex more if I know we’re going to stay safe.” Or, “What kind of condoms do you like?” Remember: you don’t have to bring up the conversation perfectly. The important thing is that you have a discussion.
Changing the status quo
What if safer sex means changing the status quo with your current partner? Remember to stay positive and avoid making accusations. Try: “I’ve decided to make a healthy change in my life…” Or, “I feel so comfortable/safe with you that I know I can talk to you about this.”
If you’re relaxed about discussing safer sex, your partner is more likely to be relaxed as well. So, it’s best to find ways to calm yourself and get centered before having this conversation. Take deep breaths, remind yourself that you’re worth it, or say a prayer, anything that helps you find your peace.
You’re Worth It
You and your partner are worth the effort it takes to negotiate a safer sex strategy(s). You have options and can find what works for both of you. Empowering yourself in this way is possible, important, and just might increase your lifespan.