World AID’s Day: How to Have Safer Sex
on 16 Nov 2021
In recognition of World AIDS Day we’re taking a closer look at safer sex.
While we may think we’ve known it all since high school, it never hurts to brush up on your safe sex knowledge. Sexually transmitted infections and diseases are still rampant among sexually active people - sadly, they seem to be here to stay.
Safe sex information is even more essential to those living with sexually transmitted diseases, as even those living with HIV are able to have active sex lives. However, we all have a responsibility to keep each other safe.
In this short blog, we share 5 key ways to practise safer sex.
Use a Condom
Let’s start with the basics. Condoms and dental dams are an essential part of safe sex. They create a physical barrier between your and your lover’s bits, keeping you clear from any undetectable infections.
Condoms are 98% effective against STIs, however this number dramatically goes down if you’re using a condom incorrectly. For instance, wearing the wrong sized condom could mean it could tear, or come off during sex, leaving you unprotected.
Make sure you pick the right size by reading our short condom guide.
If your partner complains about using a condom (common excuses include having a loss of sensitivity, or finding them ‘too tight’) point them in the direction of the many different types of condoms that are on offer. There really are condoms to suit every penis, from extra large, to non-latex for those who suffer from a latex allergy. If they still refuse, then point them in the direction of the door.
Be Transparent With Your Partner
Whether you’re living with an STD or not, you should always be transparent with your partner. Being open about your sexual history allows you and your lover to make an informed decision about sleeping together.
If you are not sure about how to have this conversation, talk to your doctor, or your sexual health nurse, as they can help you find the words to keep you both safe.
Get Regularly Tested For STIs
Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship it's always a good idea to have regular sexual health check ups. While once a year is a good rule of thumb, those who are very sexually active should consider going once every six months.
While in a perfect world it would be great to just trust all of our sexual partners, in reality people lie and willingly put you at risk when they do. This is why it's critical to put your health in your own hands and go get tested often. It also means saying no to anyone who refuses to do so.
Encourage Your Partners to Get Tested
We get it. Asking your lover to go to the clinic can be an uncomfortable conversation. But let’s remember, sleeping with you is a privilege and the very least they can do is make sure they’re not putting you at risk.
Sexual health checks are quick and simple, you’ll both be in and out of there before you can say ‘femidom”. STIs and STDs on the other hand can be incredibly unpleasant and dangerous.
If your chosen partner refuses to get tested before having sex, then that’s all the reason you need to not sleep with them (or ever see them again, for that matter). Sexual health is life saving so anyone who doesn’t respect that knows where the door is.
For those living with an STI, like HIV, having a sexually active relationship is not out of reach - it just takes diligence, transparency and plenty of regular testing. Be upfront with your lover, talk to your doctor and always take your medicine.
Safe Sex is Good Sex
Unfortunately, we are never 100% safe from STIs and STDs. While rates are dropping, you are still at risk of infection when you have sex. This is why it's essential to take your sexual health seriously by; using condoms, being transparent about your sexual history with potential partners and getting regularly tested.
While it may not sound all that sexy, we must remember that safe sex IS good sex - there’s nothing hotter than someone throwing you around the bedroom, while also respecting your sexual health at the same time.
If anyone tries to pressure you or doesn’t respect your boundaries, they do not deserve to have sex with you in the first place.
Keep sex safe with condoms