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Safe Sex 101
There are a lot of ways to talk about safe sex. Regardless of your preferred method, understanding how to make sex safe and enjoyable is essential. So, we want to talk today about ways to practice safe sex without sacrificing pleasure.
Condoms are a form of barrier to protect you or your partner from unwanted pregnancy, STIs, or other types of infections. Sexual fluids can be passed from one person to another when participating in vaginal, oral, anal, or masturbatory sex. It is a common misconception that condoms can take away some of the pleasure that comes with participating in sexual activity, but that is not always true. Condoms come in a variety of materials, sizes, and textures, so the trick is finding the best one for you and your partner!
Here is a list of the different types of condoms you can try:
- Latex Condoms: Latex is arguably the most common type of condom known. Latex condoms are great because of their flexibility and resilience. Latex is one of the best materials for preventing pregnancy and STIs. Another great perk is that you can often find latex condoms for free at health clinics and doctors' offices, making them one of the most accessible and affordable options.
- Lambskin: Lambskin condoms are a great alternative for people who are allergic to latex or think that latex takes away some of the feelings from sex. A lambskin condom is a great option because they have an all-natural feel, meaning that no pleasure is lost!
- Plastic: Polyurethane condoms are another good alternative to latex. Polyurethane is stronger than latex, but they are usually looser fitting!
- Lubricated: Lubricated condoms are great in all materials! Lube is so important when participating in all types of sexual activities, and a lubricated condom can help maximize friction to increase the pleasure!
- Textured: Textured condoms help increase friction and help increase the sensation for both you and your partner! Textured condoms come in many different materials and brands, so it all boils down to preference.
- Flavored: Flavored condoms work by adding flavoring to lubricant within the condom. They are great for oral sex because they cover up the taste of regular latex/polyurethane. There are over 100 different types of flavors for you to choose from, so you have many options based on your preferences.
- Spermicide: Spermicidal condoms are great because they are coated with body-safe chemicals (typically nonoxynol-9) that kill sperm before it is able to enter the uterus, resulting in extra protection against unwanted pregnancy. Spermicide condoms can be affordable, lightweight, and come in a variety of materials!
Testing for sexually transmitted diseases is often something that is stigmatized and looked down on, but there is no shame in getting tested frequently! Even if you do use barriers like condoms or latex underwear, many people that have STIs do not know they have them. STIs are able to lay dormant for weeks or even months! Testing frequently (with every new partner!) is the only way you can truly make sure that you are completely clear of STIs.
Testing also protects you by letting you know if you do have an STI so that you are able to get the appropriate treatment, it will also protect your current/future partners by being able to pre-plan sexual activities with the appropriate precautions.
Here are some places that offer free or low-cost STI testing:
- Planned Parenthood
- Doctors Office
- Health Clinics
- Some colleges/universities
- County Health Departments