What Does Safe Sex Mean?

Safe sex is sexual intercourse done along with some preventive measures in order to reduce the risk of transmitting or from getting infected by sexually transmitted diseases(STD), such as HIV&AIDS, HPV, Herpes, etc.

Safe sex is sometimes also referred to as protected sex or safer sex, indicating that sexual activity or sex practices do not eliminate STD risks. Instead, it only reduces the risk of getting infected. 

Some Statistical Facts

According to the World Health Organization(WHO), more than one million people get affected by sexually transmitted diseases(STDs) everyday world wide. Almost more than 500 million people have genital infection with herpes simplex virus(HSV). 

Not only this, more than 290 million women are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The worst part about such infections is that the majority of them do not get recognized in their early stage because of their mild or no symptoms.

The WHO also reports, in the year 2016, 988,000 expecting women were suffering from syphilis that further lead to 350000 adverse birth outcomes, including 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths.

Sexually transmitted diseases are so severe that more than 30 different bacterias, viruses, and parasites can get transmitted through sexual contact. 

Unplanned pregnancy is considered the major issue for women’s health. In 2011, 45% of the United States women went through this problem, which is the decreased percentage. As in 2008, 51% of women had experienced unplanned pregnancy due to ineffectiveness in the methods of contraception.

Condoms and combined oral contraceptive pills (COCs) were the most commonly used female contraceptives.

What Causes Unsafe Sex?

Here is a list of things that increases the risk of unsafe sexual activity, such as:-

  • Having sexual activity without a condom
  • Instead of using a condom, withdrawing the penis before ejaculating
  • Trying to use a condom that is past its use-by date
  • Wrong-way of using a condom or continuing sex even after the condom is broken
  • In case of an exchange of any bodily fluid, such as menstrual blood, semen, or vaginal fluids inside another person’s body.
  • Having sexual activity with multiple partners can also increase the risk of developing unsafe sex
  • Having sexual activity with a person infected with sexually transmitted diseases

Some of the factors work as a catalyst and increase the risk of unsafe sex, which includes:-

  • Having sex after being drunk
  • Using recreational drugs at the time of sexual activity
  • Feeling pressurized while having sexual activity
  • Thinking in a way like ‘just this once.’

Tips For Practising Safe Sex

This article is all about those preventive measures that can help you to reduce the risk of getting infected by any sexually transmitted diseases while doing sexual activity.

1. Safe Sex With Condoms: Condoms are the best and efficient way of protecting or reducing the risk of sexually transmitted disease as it prepares a physical barrier to prevent the exchange of semen, vaginal fluids or blood between the two partners.

Safer sex only reduces the risk of developing any sexually transmitted but is not 100% efficient in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Although using a condom correctly can protect you best from STDs.

Male condoms are usually made of the durable latex-rubber sheath and are available in various sizes and styles. Some males might be allergic to latex. Therefore condoms are also prepared with polyurethane.

But this is not the same in the case of female condoms, unlike men condoms, female condoms are available in single size(ideal) size that fits all. Female condoms are also made of polyurethane designed in such a way that it fits ideally inside the vagina.

It is also recommended that in case if you use vibrators or other penetrative sex toys, do not forget to use condoms on these toys before using it. The diaphragm offers protection against pregnancy but is not that efficient in protecting against sexually transmitted diseases.

It is essential to use the condom from the beginning to the end of sexual activity to be effective. Do not forget to use a new lubricated condom every time you have sex. In case you want more lubrication, use only water-based lubricants as other lubricants can damage the condom.

Sometimes even the correct use of condoms may not give you 100% assurance to protect against sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancy as infections, such as pubic lice, scabies, genital warts, and herpes can spread through close skin to skin contact.

Condoms can only cover some of the genital skin areas, so it is not 100% surety about protecting you from SIDs. Do keep in mind about the lubrication of the condom and do not lubricate it with other substances, such as oil-based lubrication.

2. Be concerned about yourself: Being a woman, you should know about your sexual health and safety. The best way to have safe sex is to be prepared, safe, and healthy during sexual activity. It is important for you and your partner as well to take preventive measures to avoid SITs. Along with this, smart use of birth control can help you in preventing unplanned pregnancy.

3. Birth control options: In some cases, people had unsafe sex and became pregnant. Nowadays, there are various options for preventing pregnancy if the person is not sexually active. 

You can also consult your health care specialist if you get trapped in such situations. Discuss your lifestyle and plan accordingly for your birth control options and unwanted side effects, such as dizziness or decreased sex drive.

4. Honesty is important: To practice safe sex, it is essential for both the partners to be honest about their sex life and do consult the doctor as well. It gives both the partners about their preferences, ideas, and potential STDs or disease. 

Some of the STDs are not curable, and your partner needs to know about it so that you can take preventive measures against infection.

5. Abstain from sex: Sexually transmitted diseases spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Therefore, the only way to prevent unsafe sex with 100% surety is not to have sex or to abstain from sex. 

It is okay if you are not ready for sex emotionally or physically. Talk to your partner about it as a way to keep yourself accountable. 

7. Limit your partners: The more you get involved with different partners, the chance of getting infected with the sexually transmitted disease increases. Therefore you need to limit your number of partners in order to avoid unsafe sex.

Every new partner has a new sexual record, such as sexual encounters and potential infections that may or may not be beneficial for you.

8. Protect yourself from all types of sexual encounters: You can get pregnant from vaginal sex. Still, when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, you can contract it from vaginal, anal, or oral sex. 

Because of this reason, you need to get protected with all types of sexual encounters. For example, a condom can help you protect from contracting an STDs during oral sex. Both male and female condoms can protect you from vaginal sex but never use both the condoms together.

9. Clean sex toys: Some people use sex toys as a way to add interest in their relationships. These devices are safe from unplanned pregnancy, but they can contribute to developing sexually transmitted diseases(STDs).

Therefore, it is important to keep your sex toys clean in for more details you can refer the manual provided with the toy as different sex toys need different ways of cleaning.

For more safety, you can use latex condoms on sex toys while using it.

10. Use products carefully: Frequently cleaning or douching of the vagina can remove the normal, healthy bacteria that could help in preventing STDs if you keep frequently cleaning, the risk of getting infected increases.

Always use a lubricant while having sex because a lack of this can damage the condom and sometimes may cause unplanned pregnancy or may contribute to getting infected by STDs. Lubricants also prevent the skin from tearing while having sex.

Oil-based lubricants can increase the risk of the condom tearing, so do not use such lubricants. Do go through the instructions provided in the manual to use it efficiently.

What Are Female Contraceptives?

Unsafe sex also includes unplanned pregnancy that can be avoided with the help of some female contraceptives. It is a method of preventing ovaries/sperm from getting to the egg in order to prevent pregnancy.

Female contraceptives are classified into two categories, such as:-

  • Hormonal contraceptives: Pills(oral contraceptives), injections, implants, intrauterine device, vaginal rings, and patches come under these categories.
  • Non Hormonal contraceptives: This category includes diaphragms, condoms, sponges, spermicides, and cervical caps.

It can also be referred to as birth control and is mostly used to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but is also have certain other benefits, such as:-

  • Acne control
  • Regulate periods
  • Prevent ovulation with primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Reduces pain in menstruation
  • Decreases the symptoms of endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual syndrome, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Here is a list of certain female contraceptives that can help you to know in a much better way:-

  • Oral contraceptives
  • Combined hormonal contraceptives
  • Only Progestin containing pills
  • Transdermal contraceptives/ Vaginal ring
  • Combined hormonal contraceptives
  • Injectable contraceptives
  • Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate
  • Progestin-only subdermal implant
  • Intrauterine devices
  • Levonorgestrel IUD
  • Copper IUD
  • Barrier contraceptives
  • Cervical cap
  • Female condoms
  • Spermicides
  • Female Sterilization

Myths Related To Safe Sex

Few people believe or may persuade various myths associated with safe sex, that are as follows:-

  • People say planning for sexual activity ruins the mood
  • It is easy to identify a person by his appearance if he is suffering from sexually transmitted diseases
  • Practicing safe sex indicates that either of the partners has sexually transmitted diseases
  • Lesbians don’t get affected with SIT
  • Consuming pill does mean that the person is practicing safe sex
  • Some people think that purchasing condoms is embarrassing
  • Use of condom will ruin the feeling of having sex

What Should I Do If I Had Unsafe Sex?

In case you had unsafe sex, do not forget to take some measures, such as:-

  • Prevent douching(showering with water or other fluids) of the vagina or rectum to avoid irritation to delicate tissues because irritation can increase the risk of infection.
  • Secondly, avoid becoming pregnant, but in case you do take an emergency contraceptive pill within the ideal time, that is 72 hours is considered best. It can be extended up to 120 hours.
  • Consult your doctor and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Go for post-exposure prophylaxis(PEP) within 72 hours from having unsafe sex to prevent HIV.

References:-

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