Sex is different for everyone – what turns you on might not be someone else’s cup of tea. Likewise, what they’re in to might be a little too full-on for you. Other than consent, there aren’t that many rules when it comes to sex, so you are free to explore as you and your partner(s) fancy. However, ‘safety first’ is always a precaution worth taking.
No, we don’t mean putting on your seatbelt – unless you’re into car sex, then sure, why not?!? We mean making sure you minimize the risk of catching an STI by protecting yourself and your partner(s). And what’s more, when you feel comfortable and safe during sex, chances are you’ll find it easier to relax and enjoy.
Here are our top tips to have safer sex. Read them, follow them and you’ll be in for a no-less-sensual, though lots of safer sex life…
Use a condom
Seems obvious, right? Especially when the number of STIs is on the rise (1). Lots of people blame condoms interrupting the moment, not being big enough, or not feeling right, but the truth is they come in all different assortments: different sizes, different thicknesses’, different flavours, so you can try different types to find one that works for you. So there’s not really any excuse for not using one. They even come in portable, cheaper packs for you to slip in your pocket or purse now too!
Get tested regularly
Whilst it might sound scary, getting yourself tested at a sexual health clinic is a great way to stay on top of your health, and is rarely as big a deal as we think. In fact, in the UK, you can order free STI testing kits directly to your home in discreet packaging so you don’t even need to go anywhere and there’s no risk you will bump into someone you know! The return postage is included for free too, so it’s easy and free to get checked whenever you need to. The great thing is if you’re responsible in other aspects of your sex lives, like using protection, it’s likely getting tested will be a mere precaution. And who doesn’t love passing a test?
Don’t forget to have a conversation with your partner(s) about their sexual health too, so you can all make well-informed decisions.
Don’t forget oral sex
It’s time we were all more vocal about oral because we can contract STIs from giving oral sex too. Giving oral sex when your partner has a condom on ensures all parties stay safe and condoms are available in some nice flavours too (who doesn’t love strawberry?!?), so you get extra enjoyment when using one. Or, some people use dental dams to protect themselves. A dental dam is a thin sheet of latex used during oral sex. It acts as a barrier and can feel pretty sexy if used in the right way. Dental dams come in flavours too!
Did you know that dryness during sex makes you more likely to contract an STI due to the increase in friction? So, use lube for smooth sailing. Make sure you use water-based lubricant though, anything else might damage the condom.
1) World Health Organisation (2019) https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis)