From using condoms to discussing consent, we all hear about the importance of safe sex. It’s true: whether you’re enjoying missionary or kinkier BDSM play, condoms and contraception are vital. From protection against STIs to avoiding pregnancy scares, there are many reasons to practise safe sex.
1. Avoiding STIs
Horror stories of sexually transmitted infections abound. They’re riddled with misinformation and embarrassment – and can be painful and uncomfortable. Every day, more than 1 million STIs are acquired globally. In the UK, STIs remain highest in those aged 15 to 24 years. Therefore, it’s vital you and your partner know the risks.
But using a condom or other protection can help reduce the chance of STIs. Use a new condom each time and double-check the expiration date. You should also get regular sexual health check-ups even if practising safe sex, especially when moving between partners.
If you think you may have been exposed to an STI, seek medical advice immediately. There are many treatments available to reduce symptoms and clear common STIs. Plus, if you are in the UK, you can find free or low-cost STI testing services through your local doctor or sexual health clinic.
With simple steps to practise safe sex, you can significantly reduce the risk of contracting an STI and enjoy a healthy and fulfilling sex life.
2. Unwanted Pregnancies
Pregnancies are life-changing – and are particularly hard when unplanned. While contraception is readily available, mistakes still happen. So, practising safe sex is incredibly important. It might surprise you to know that 45% of pregnancies – and 33% of births – in the UK are unplanned.
Fortunately, there are many different contraceptives available, from taking the pill to the more long-term coil. One of the best ways to avoid an emergency trip to the pharmacist for the morning-after pill is to practise safe sex. Condoms are easy to use and very effective – but you might also use a dental dam or internal condom.
Remember that no contraception is 100% effective. However, condoms and contraceptives will reduce the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
3. Peace of Mind
STIs and unwanted pregnancies are the last thing anyone wants to think about during sex, at sex parties, or at kink events. Peace of mind means you can enjoy yourself without these turn-offs getting in the way of your fun.
You should also talk openly and honestly with your partners about their sexual health history and both test for STIs before engaging in any sexual activities.
4. Set the standard for open communication
Starting a new sexual relationship off on the right foot is key for a more open, trusting, and healthy relationship. Discussing things like condoms, contraceptive pills, and STIs paves the way for something stronger. When it comes to sexual health, there is no such thing as being too careful.
When you set the standard for good communication, you can more comfortably and confidently steer your sex life toward what turns you on. Discussing consent around kinks, sex toys, and boundaries is easier.
Safe sex is better sex
Safe sex practices might also mean mutual monogamy (sexual contact with only one partner who is not having sex with anyone else) or abstaining from sex altogether. It’s not only important for physical health but can also nurture relationships on an emotional level – leading to better sex. So, grab the condoms, talk to your partner, and enjoy.