Sex Safety

sex-safety1-e1315533056800-450x600

Practising sex safety means protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STI/STDs) and unplanned pregnancy.

Part of sex safety is keeping up to date about safety practices. There are many tools and skills you can use to make sex safer, and these safety recommendations are frequently updated with new developments.

Sex safety

Practising sex safety means protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STI/STDs) and unintended pregnancy.

Part of sex safety is keeping up to date about safety practices. There are many tools and skills you can use to make sex safer, and these safety recommendations are frequently updated with new developments.

Sex safety techniques

Know the risks

Anyone who has sexual contact is at risk for catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI/STD).

Different kinds of STIs can be spread by:

  • skin to skin contact or sharing sex toys—no intercourse required! (herpes, hpv)
  • oral sex or deep kissing
  • unprotected vaginal or anal sex (all)
  • non-sexual activities like sharing equipment for drugs (straws, needles, etc), or using unsterilized needles for tattoos, piercings, or accupuncture

These infections can be passed from woman to man, man to woman, woman to woman, or man to man. Some can even be passed from an infected mother to her newborn baby.

It is not usually possible to tell if someone has an STI because many of them are “silent” infections; many people who have an STI don’t even know themselves that they have it! Your risk of STIs is based not only on your present or past partners, but also on all of the present and past partners of those partners. It’s no wonder they get passed around so much!

Some STIs can be cured with medication (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis), but others cannot be. Some are caused by viruses that can stay in your body for a long time (going away, then coming back again) and some even stay in your body forever. With these viral types, you can only treat the symptoms when they arise, but you can never totally “cure” the virus.

Find out more about:

Use barriers and prevent sharing bodily fluids

Latex and polyurethane barriers can block sperm as well as the bacteria and viruses that cause sexually transmitted infections (STI/STDs).

Condoms are cheap, easy to get, easy to use and they are your best defense against STIs. Everyone should carry their own supply.

Other ways to reduce your risks of sharing bodily fluids and catching an infection include:

  • limiting your number of sexual partners
  • not sharing sex toys (use a new condom for each person)
  • not having sex with someone who has had a lot of sexual partners
  • avoiding sex if you are intoxicated or unreliable

Some STIs can also be spread through non-sexual activities like sharing equipment for drugs (straws, needles, etc), or using unsterilized needles for tattoos, piercings, or accupuncture.

Regular infection screening

We offer complete, confidential infection testing. Make an appointment to get tested or find out more.

Birth control

Our detailed birth control section explains different methods of contraception and how to get them. We offer most types of birth control at our clinics.

Most methods of birth control do not protect against infections; you need to use condoms and barriers as well.

Healthy relationships

It’s important for both partners to support sex safety. Our good relationship tips and warning signs can help you protect yourself.

Abstinence

The only way to be completely protected from STIs and unplanned pregnancy is to abstain from any kind of sexual contact.

Our detailed abstinence page explains which activities you need to avoid in order to prevent infections and in order to prevent pregnancy.