Two bananas, one peeled near a pack of condom

6 safe sex practices you should consider

Safe sex can be defined as any sexual act that involves the use of methods that can help reduce the transmission of STIs, including HIV.

Different people define sex in different ways. To some it could be the act of penetration while to others it could be other sexual activities.

First, let’s explore acts that count as sex

  • Masturbation (alone or with a partner)
  • Oral sex
  • Vaginal
  • Anal penetration
  • Use of sex toys
  • Fingering or hand jobs
  • Genital rubbing
  • Erotic massages
  • Kissing
  • Cuddling
  • BDSM activities

This list is not exhaustive! What other sexual acts do you know of?

Most sexual activities carry the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV as well as an unplanned pregnancy. Others like cuddling are totally safe. 

Some safe sex methods can involve the exchange of semen, vaginal fluids, or blood between partners while others do not. 

Keeping those risks in mind, there are some things you can do to reduce risk:

  1. Use of a condom

    ​​​​​I bet a condom is the first thing that pops in mind when you think about safe sex. They are super easy to get and quite affordable sometimes free. In addition to being a form of birth control, they are also very effective for protection against STIs when having anal or vaginal sex as well as oral sex.

  2. Use of dental dams/ plastic wraps

    ​​​​​​It is very possible to contract an STI through the bodily fluid exchange during oral sex therefore it is important to practice safe oral sex. Dental dams or plastic wraps are ideal for this.  Though not common or sometimes misunderstood they are a big part of safe sex practice.

  3. Cleaning sex toys

    ​​​​Whether you have a sexual partner or not, the use of sex toys is a common trend and if not properly cleaned or if shared they can cause STIs.  To clean sex toys, one first needs to establish what the sex is made of to determine the best way to clean them.  A bonus safe sex practice… do not share sex toys.

  4. Having one sexual partner or abstinence

    Abstinence is considered to be one of the most effective safe sex practices. In most cases, this may not be practical but maybe one can narrow it down to having one sexual partner. This along with regular check-ups and communication with the said sexual partner minimizes the risk of STIs.

  5. Regular screening

    ​​​​Regular testing ensures that you are aware of your partner(s) status. Ensure that you are free of STIs and get treated if one of you is found to have an STI. Avoid any sexual activity that may put you at risk of catching an STI until the infected partner is no longer infectious.

  6. Don’t engage in sex while intoxicated

    ​​​​Drugs and alcohol have been known to influence bad decision-making. Avoid having sex while under the influence of any substance that may affect your ability to think properly.


Consent! Sex has to be consensual. Both or all parties involved should consent to participate in all sexual activities proposed.

What is your definition of safe sex and do you practice it? Talk to us in the comments section.

did you find this useful?

Tell us what you think

Recent Comments (1)

LoveMatters Africa

Blush-free facts and stories about love, sex, and relationships