What is Safe Sex?
Safe sex is the several ways, you and your partner(s) can enjoy sex with minimal risk of exchanging diseases/infections.
Diseases contracted during sexual activities are referred to as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Practicing safe sex will help you stay healthy and also make sex more pleasurable.
There are many types of sexual activities you can engage in. However, the risks of infection are higher with those that involve body fluids, such as sperm and vaginal fluid. STDs can also be transmitted from skin to skin, through intimate contact with an infected partner.
Types Of Sexual Activities Include
- Sensual Stimulation: This involves touches that give different sensations, which may lead to orgasm without penetrative sex.
- Vaginal Sex: Involving penis and vagina.
- Oral sex: This is the stimulation of the sex organs with mouth.
- Masturbation: Stimulating your genitals with hands for sexual pleasure.
- Anal Sex: This involves penetrating the anus with penis, fingers, or toys.
- Phone Sex: Could be in form of sextexting or video calls.
- Use of Sex Toys such as dildos, vibrators, cock rings etc used to acheive orgasm.
- Dry Humping: Here, the genitals are rubbed against each other through clothings.
How Do I Practice Safe Sex?
The only approach to sex, that promises absolute freedom from STIs is abstinence, staying away from any sexual activity. While this means zero risks of contracting infection, it does not work for a huge majority of people as most of us crave intimacy with others.
Safe sex practices are the use of barriers to avoid skin and body fluid contacts, in a bid to minimize the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
Safe Sex Practices Include;
- Masturbation: This is next to abstinence in terms of safety. Deriving sexual pleasure by touching yourself with clean hands, devoid of any body fluid from another person, has minimal risk of infection.
- Use of male or female condoms during vaginal sex.
- Oral sex with a condom, plastic wrap, or dental dam.
- Anal sex with penis or internal condom.
- Avoid sex when drunk or high on drugs, as this could make you engage in more risky practices.
- Avoid sharing of sex toys. Always wash and sterilize your sex toys to avoid transfering germs from them to your body. You can also use condoms on sex toys for more safety.
- Use condoms and other barriers always, even if you and your partner are infected. This will prevent the development of a more difficult strain of the causative agent.
- Get tested regularly for any STI. Early detection of infections will help you get treated effectively. It will also help you protect your partner from infections.
- Stick to your safe sexual activities. Have your condoms, dental dams, plastic wraps and gloves close to your bed and in your bags.
- Make the barriers part of the business by wearing them even during foreplays. It feels better than stopping half way to put them on.
- Use each barrier only once.
- You and your partner should be faithful to each other.
Do not listen to myths that the use of barriers makes sex less pleasurable. Many condoms and dental dams out there were made with your pleasure in mind. There are ‘the ribbed’ or ‘studded’ condoms, designed with some raised contours, to increase pleasure for one or both partners. You also have ‘the warming’ condoms that are made of thin latex. These condoms ‘warm up’ in contact with body fluids to create more sensation for you and your partner.
Failure to adhere to safe sex practices will predispose you to many sexually transmitted diseases. Oral, anal, vaginal sex, sharing of sex toys, touching your partner and yourself at the same time without barriers, involve fluid exchange that can transfer STIs. There is, however, a lower risk of getting HIV through oral sex than anal and vaginal sex, but for many other STIs, oral sex is still very risky when you don’t use sex barriers.
Types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
These are infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites, they include:
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Genital warts
- Human Papillomavirus(HPV)
- Herpes Simplex Virus
- Hepatitis A,B,C
- Yeast infection
While some of these infections are curable, some of them are to be managed for a lifetime.
What do I do if I get exposed to an infected person?
Many people do not present with any symptoms of these infections, even when they can infect others. If you get involved with a partner without adequate protection, you should;
- Get tested as soon as possible.
- Ask your doctor about Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
- Use emergency contraceptive to avoid unwanted pregnancy in the case of vaginal sex.
If you test positive for any STI, take your medications as your doctor prescribed and get cured. For incurable ones, such as HIV, herpes, HPV, or Hepatitis B, talk to your doctor and follow your schedules. They may not be curable, but they can be effectively managed or minimized with treatments.
Safe sex practices generally involve the use of condoms, dental dams, gloves, and plastic wraps during sexual activities, to minimize the risk of infections from sperm or vaginal fluid. Body fluid exchange during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, can give you both curable and incurable sexually transmitted diseases. It is therefore of utmost importance, that you stick to your safe sex practices. Stay healthy and protect your partner.