safe sex

Safe sex: do’s and don’ts

By Steph Haase August 16, 10:53 am
Safe sex sounds a bit boring. Sex should be exciting and satisfying – but safe? Well, if you imagine the kind of stress an STD or an unwanted pregnancy will cause you, being responsible about sex seems like a small price to pay…
Go Double Dutch

Going 'double Dutch' means using two forms of contraception when you’re having sex, for example, the pill and condoms. Condoms are the best way to protect yourself and your partner against STDs during intercourse, but with typical use, 14 per cent of women get pregnant when they use condoms as their only birth control method for a year. So combining condoms with another method is a surefire way of protecting yourself from STDs and unplanned pregnancy.

Talk to your partner about it

If you want to have safe sex, you need to talk to your partner. Talking about condoms and other forms of contraception may seem a bit embarrassing for you, but it's much less awkward than a pregnancy scare or itchy, painful genitals!

Also, you should talk to your partner about their sexual history: how many people did they have unprotected sex with, do they get regular check-ups and STD test and what kind of birth control do they prefer? And just as with talking about condoms, there's nothing embarrassing about being responsible and staying safe and healthy!

Know the basics about STDs

You may have heard some tales about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Like, as long as someone looks healthy and their genitals look fine, they probably don’t have an STD. Wrong! Or if you wash your genitals before and after sex, it will stop you getting an STD. Wrong!

It helps to know some basics about STDs if you want to make the right decisions. What they are, how you can get them and how you can protect yourself from them. And know what the myths around STDs and safe sex are. That will also help you in case you have to convince your partner to use condoms.

Make condom blunders

Many things can go wrong when you use condoms, so it's important to get it right. Use a condom on a banana or a cucumber first to practice if you’ve never used one before.

Also, remember the basics: never reuse a condom – use a new one every time you have oral, vaginal or anal sex. Never use a male and female condom at the same time, they can slip. Don't use condoms that are out of date (check the date on the pack) or broken. Always hold the condom in place when you pull out the penis.

Upset the vagina

Vaginal irritation removes the normal bacteria that protect the vagina from infection. And that can increase your chances of getting an STD.

Many things can cause vaginal irritation. For example, using lots of soap or douches aren't good for the vagina.

And products that you’re supposed to put in your vagina to dry it out for ‘dry sex’ or 'vaginal tightening' will also irritate the vagina inside and make you more likely to get STDs. A dry vagina isn’t clean, it’s unhealthy.

Don’t switch between anal and vaginal intercourse without cleaning the penis or sex toy, or use a fresh condom. Some of the bacteria found in the rectum can cause irritation in the vagina.

Give up sex because you've got an STD

If you or your partner gets diagnosed with an STD, you may feel you have to stop having sex. But you don't need to. If you use a condom correctly, it will minimize the chances of passing on the STD.

Many STDs are easily treatable, but even if you get treatment, keep using condoms until you get a green light from the doctor. That's because having sex with an STD that isn’t fully cured (or reappears occasionally, like herpes), will increase your chances of getting other STDs, such as HIV.


These are just the basic facts. What essential facts do you think are missing? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.

Did you learn something new?

Hi Goddy, if they are itchy, painful or ooze fluid, please go see a healthcare professional. But, if they don't cause any problems, they could be pearly penile papules, a harmless condition. You can read more about them here:
Hi Mercy, generally, the first 7 days after and the last 7 days before a woman's period are the days when she is least likely to get pregnant. However, safe days are extremely unreliable and there is a high chance of getting pregnant. So please consider another form of birth control, unless you don't mind getting pregnant. You can find a method that suits you in our birth control section.
Hi Bett, have you talked to her about this? We can't tell you why she doesn't want to have sex, but if you ask her, she might tell you her reasons. Relationships should be about trust and communication, and you need to reach out to her if you want to figure out what's going on. Good luck!
Hi Ibrahim, I doubt that your penis is too big. Check out what our sex expert Valentine has to say about painful sex here:
Hi Denis, first things first. Demanding sex isn't the way to go. If your partner isn't up for it, it's no wonder you get bored- she might have not wanted sex in the first place. So always make sure that your partner is ready to go and in the mood. Second, after you ejaculate, it's normal to have a 'low' period, where you feel tired and need to recharge. If the sex generally is boring, again, make sure your partner is up for it, and then try new things: change positions,have some oral, do it somewhere other than the bed... Plenty of opportunities!
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