How to make sex safer
Safer sex means:
- Not having unprotected sex (i.e. penetrative sex without a condom) if you or your partner are unsure of one another's sexual health status.
- Wearing a condom right through sex, not just at the point of ejaculation.
- Buying condoms that have been rigorously tested for quality – look for the British Standard Kitemark or the European CEN mark.
- Using thicker condoms if you're having anal sex.
- Storing your condoms in a cool, dry place and not using ones that have exceeded their expiry date.
- Using extra water-based lubricants to help prevent condom breakages – oil-based lubricants rot latex – and damage to skin and tissues that can make it easier for infections to be transmitted.
- Always being prepared and not relying on someone else to provide condoms.
- Having sex that doesn't involve penetration, e.g. mutual masturbation or "frotting" (body rubbing).
Negotiating safer sex
- Starting out on a new relationship and negotiating safer sex can seem daunting, but it's the only way you can protect each other. Some people won't know if they have an STI, or would prefer not to say, so asking them about their sexual health status doesn't always help … and you might not know about your status either.
- Be clear with your partner from the start that you want to have safer sex, even if you haven't reached the point where sex could happen – talking about it at too late a stage could mean that safer sex doesn't happen.
- Talking about sex before you have it can often improve the sex you end up getting, and it can help you stick to the kinds of sex with which you are comfortable.
- Safer sex not only protects against HIV but a whole range of sexually transmitted infections, some of which can do lasting damage.
Page created on February 28th, 2010
Page updated on March 10th, 2010