safe sex

Safe sex: do’s and don’ts

By Steph Haase Friday, August 16, 2013 - 10:53
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…
Do
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.

Don't
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 Don't use condoms that are out of date (check the date on the pack) or broken.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.

Comments

Hello Mike, from a medical stand point, it is okay to have sex during periods. However, having unprotected sex during periods can expose one to the risk of getting infected with a Sexually Transmitted Infections or getting an unplanned pregnancies. Using condoms each one one has sex can help reduce this risk and keep one safe. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/sex-during-your-period-top-five-facts

Hi Jean, yes you can get an STD including Syphilis from having oral sex. Using a dental dum can however help protect one from the exposure STIs. A dental dam is a square sheet of latex put on the vagina to act as a barrier when one is giving oral sex. Check out the following articles for more information;-  

https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/syphilis

https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/oral-sex-dos-and-donts 

My husband takes very long to ejaculate when we use condoms. He doesn't like them at all I want to start using another method for FP please advice me bcz I don't want to use a method that will make me add alot of weight. Thank you.

Hi Gloria, condoms are reduce the sensitivity on the penis and this is the possible reason why it takes you husband longer to ejaculate. Most hormonal methods can have this side effect. Unfortunately you cannot  tell if this will happen until you start to use a method. Have a look at the following articles with information on the different methods and how to choose a birth control method ideal for you;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/choosing-the-right-birth-control/how-to-choose

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control

Hi Ken, the condom it self may not. However, painful sex can be caused by a number of reasons including having dry sex where intercourse happens before the vagina is sufficient lubricated, an infection in the vagina, size of the penis or the position during sex. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/painful-sex-time-to-listen-up

Hey Atieno, vaginal odor is normal including after sex odor. Some women will notice a strong fishy odor immediately after sex and this may be a sign of bacterial infection. Others the smell will not be as strong. Interactions between semen and vaginal fluids can cause an unusual vaginal odor and for this reason one should try rinse the vagina and vulva with plain water immediately after sex to address this. Have a look at the following article for additional information;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/vaginal-discharge-and-odour-top-facts

https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/8-tips-to-keep-your-vagina-happy-and-healthy

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