What Is Safe Sex?
What is safe sex? While all experts agree that the only completely safe option is abstinence, there is some disagreement on what sorts of sexual practices qualify as safe sex. Many authorities in the field, in fact, opt to use the words "safer sex" in place of "safe sex." While all sexual activity comes with some risk, there are steps you can take to ensure that both you and your partner are as well-protected as possible from risks such as unwanted pregnancy or disease. Here are some safe sex practices to help maintain your sexual health.
- Engage in smart condom usage. This means not just using condoms consistently, but also using them correctly. Most cases of condom breakage can be attributed to air bubbles inside the condom from putting it on incorrectly. Make sure that you never use oil-based lubes with condoms, as they will cause condoms to break. Store condoms correctly, as heat can also cause them to deteriorate.
- Get yourself tested regularly. For men, this means getting annual HIV tests at the very minimum. If you engage in risky behaviors like male/male sex, you should get tested more often, and also get tested for other STDs.
- Be honest with your partners. If you have more than one sexual partner, they all need to know that you are sleeping with other people. Practicing safe sex means protecting the health of your partners, as well as your own health. And, when you are honest with people, they are also likely to be honest with you, so, you have better odds of getting honest information about their sexual history as well.
- Practice monogamy. Besides abstinence, a mutually monogamous relationship is the safest sexual situation to be in. Just make sure that both of you have clean bills of health before you start going barrier-free.
- Be smart about barrier protection. While most people choose not to use protection for oral sex, if you or your partner are considered high risk, you should make sure that you take precautions. In the safest sex practices, condoms and dental dams are used for oral sex, too, since there is a chance that diseases and infections can be passed during oral sex. Check online for barrier protection designed specifically for oral sex. When choosing a condom for oral sex, stay away from those that come with lube or spermicide. Try out different flavored or scented models. There is a huge variety out there of brands, so, if you do not like one, try a different one.