When engaging in sex, you don’t only share intimate moments and emotions with your partner. You also exchange various bodily fluids that may or may not result in diseases. Having safe and healthy sex is a major part of a healthy lifestyle, and this article will help you understand why safe sex matters and how you can practice it in real life. Read on!
Safe sex is the practice of taking specific measures before or during sexual activity. The goal is to limit the risk of sharing sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs/STIs), such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 20 million new STD infections are recorded each year. Meanwhile, the cost of STDs to the US healthcare system is around $16 billion per year.
Untreated STDs and STIs can lead to serious long-term health problems. As a result, it’s best to prevent them through safe sex rather than treat them after the fact. The following are the most common ways to practice safe sex:
Condoms serve as barriers that prevent contact between you and your partner’s genitals. That way, you limit your exposure to each other’s bodily fluids. Latex and internal condoms are the most popular types. You can also use condoms on sex toys to avoid the transmission of fluids among partners.
Apart from condoms, you may also want to try dental dams, which can be used over the vulva or the anus during oral sex.
Apart from spicing up the bedroom and helping you explore your specific preferences, sex dolls and toys help prevent the spread of STDs and STIs especially when they’re not shared. A realistic sex doll can also limit contact among partners as they try to experiment with their usual sexual activities.
Non-penetrative activities are those that don’t require actual penetration. Common examples include making out, handjobs, and fingering. All of these activities reduce your exposure to your partner’s bodily fluids.
It should be noted, however, those non-penetrative activities still can’t protect against STIs, which are often transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. These infections include herpes and syphilis.
You can also take certain types of medications to protect against diseases. For one, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the practice of taking specific prescription drugs to reduce your risks for HIV infection. These drugs are usually unavailable without the direction and approval of a healthcare professional.
Having multiple sexual partners increases the chances of exposure to diseases. As a result, it’s best to limit the number of your sexual partners to people who are willing to communicate their medical and sexual history with you. On top of that, make sure that your chosen sexual partner agrees to do safe sex practices with you.
If you have been a victim of sexual or other forms of abuse, the traumatic experience may interfere with your ability to practice safe sex. In this case, it’s best to seek the help of a therapist or a support group to help with your healing process. Doing this will help you select sexual partners and settings that make you comfortable.
Last but not least, you must be proactive in pursuing safe and healthy sex. Learn more about your own body; understand why unsafe sex is detrimental, and know what to do in case you’ve had unprotected sex. Don’t shy away from having an open conversation with your healthcare provider and asking them questions about your sexual health.