Sex can be an awesome experience, but slip up once and the consequences can be far-reaching. Besides contracting STDs, the risk of having an unplanned pregnancy looms large when you have unprotected sex. Be it in a long-term relationship or with multiple partners, always practise safe sex and take precautions to protect yourself. Trust us, it will make the experience a lot more enjoyable when your mind is at ease. Here are seven things for you to know about having safe sex.
Make sure you’re ready to start having sex
There’s quite a bit of responsibility involved once you start having sex with someone new. To begin with, you have to make sure that you’re protected, not just where sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancy are concerned, but also your emotions. If you don’t think you can have sex with someone without becoming emotionally attached to him, and it’s clear that one or neither of you wants a committed relationship, then it’s best not to start anything sexual.
Likewise, if you’ve just come out of a relationship and are still feeling vulnerable, then you may want to hold off on having sex with someone new.
Also read: 6 Ways You Can Get An STD Without Having Sex
Choose your sex partner wisely
You don’t want to (and shouldn’t) just have sex with anyone. It should be someone whom you know is single like you, and someone whom you know relatively well. Sleeping with a stranger is risky in so many ways—you never know if he will harm you or put you in a dangerous situation, plus, you don’t want to find out, after you’ve slept with him, that he’s actually married or in a relationship with someone else. Even if you’re not dating him seriously, you should at least feel that he can be trusted not to hurt or endanger you.
Be safe if you’re having sex with someone you just met
If you’re planning on getting sexually involved with a new guy, it’s a good idea to get to know him first, especially if you’re planning to make it a long-term engagement. Don’t be scared or embarrassed to broach the topic of sex history if you’re planning on having sex with him even on the first date. If he seems unwilling to confirm whether he’s clean or try to force you to do anything you’re not comfortable with, hightail out of there.
Ask your sex partner about his sexual history
Be smart, not ignorant, when it comes to your sexual health. This means talking about your sexual histories before you start having sex. Questions to ask your new partner include: “Have you ever had an STD? How many women have you slept with? When did you last engage in risky sex? Do you always use a condom when you have sex?”
Having this discussion is far from sexy but it’s important if you want to protect yourself. If the guy has a shady sexual past or refuses to answer your questions, then you might want to think twice about getting sexually involved with him.
Also read: How To Tell Your Partner You Have An STD
Speak to your doctor about contraception
There are various types of contraception available that can help prevent an unwanted pregnancy. To find out which contraceptive method is right for you, speak to your doctor. He or she will recommend the best one, taking into account your lifestyle, health and sexual habits. Types of contraception include IUDs (intra-uterine device), which has to be inserted into your uterus by a doctor; hormonal implants or patches; birth control pills (The Pill); and barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms.
Make sure he wears a condom during sex
The Pill, diaphragms and IUDs may help prevent an unwanted pregnancy, but they will not protect you from STDs. Your best bet to prevent an STD is a condom, since this keeps the male ejaculate from coming into contact with your own bodily fluids, and vice versa. So, even if you’re on some other form of birth control, make sure that your partner always puts on a condom before having sex with you.
Draw up a few sex “rules” – and stick to them
Be clear, in your own mind, about what you’re willing to do and how far you will go with your new sex partner. If you’re not comfortable going back to his place for sex then don’t. If you absolutely will not have sex with him unless he wears a condom then be sure to enforce that rule. If you don’t think it’s a good idea to start having sex until you’ve talked about being in a relationship, then stick to your guns. Having a few good rules in place will prevent you from making poor decisions, especially in the heat of the moment or when you’re put on the spot. Having rules also shows that you’re someone with principles and values, and that will make your partner take you more seriously.
Text: Melissa Wong / Her World / July 2018