It is a fact that abstinence is likely the only 100% effective way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections (STDs/STIs). However, with a little bit of planning and care, it is quite possible to minimise those risks to an acceptable level (assuming you don't want to be celibate for the rest of your life)!
The understanding of the meaning of Safe Sex is the responsibility of all parties involved, and that knowledge and practice are the best tools to making sex fun, positive and safe. Use protection, such as a condom, every time and you will be much less likely to have a problem.
SexInfo101.com's Rubber Reminders
Performing safe sex is recommended whenever possible, but we can not stress enough the importance of practicing it when with a new partner.
Use latex condoms for vaginal, anal or oral (fellatio) sex.
Since no birth control method is bullet-proof, a condom is great backup to another primary method (and protects from STDs/STIs).
Condoms are a great way to keep toys clean for multi-hole penetration.
Using a latex glove for finger penetration prevents cuts from fingernails.
Using dental dams for oral (cunnilingus) sex can prevent fluid transfer from a cut lip or gum.
ONLY use water-based lubricants with latex as oil based products destroy it.
In one recent U.S. study* about one-half of the sexually experienced teenagers had failed to use a condom the last time they had intercourse. So for everyone bumping and grinding and forgetting to wrap it up, this next section is a taste of reality that can be easy to forget about until it happens to you!
Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections
The sobering fact is that STDs/STIs affect at least 40 million people around the world every year.
AIDS / HIV
We will begin by looking at the AIDS epidemic. In 1997 2.3 million people were estimated to have died worldwide from the disease. Though that number may be coming down in western countries, the number of people contracting the disease is certainly going up. And over the last twenty or so years over half a million people have died in the USA from AIDS, and it still registers as the primary killer of people ages 25-44. What is the most scary part of this epidemic in North America is the fact that the number of HIV-positive (the virus that causes AIDS) teenagers doubles every 14 months.
Q: What is driving these seemingly out of control numbers?
A: Up to 80% of infected Americans don’t know that they are carrying the virus.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS and is spread when semen, vaginal fluid or blood passes from an HIV positive person into the bloodstream of another person. To enter the bloodstream, the virus must enter through a break in the skin or tissue in the mouth, vagina or rectum ... or enter the tip of the penis. The virus then breaks down our immune systems that fight off infection and other illnesses. These normally fairly harmless bacterial or viral contagions become serious, or even deadly, when the immune system doesn’t work to fight them off.
The World Health Organization says that in the first five years of the new century, half of all new infections world-wide will occur between the ages 15-19, and the fastest growing infection rates are among young women. This means that this issue is most pressing for our young people. We can no longer afford to not talk about it, or not educate our children about sex and their responsibilities.
The fact that AIDS and HIV are so dangerous should not reduce our concern over other types of STDs/STIs. Left untreated, they can cause infertility, cancer, birth defects and miscarriages - even death. That being said, with the amount of treatments available and easily accessible, Americans still suffer 10 to 50 times more often than people in other developed countries. This highlights the alarming lack of knowledge within the general population and the need for greater dissemination of preventative methods and awareness of the risks.
To further examine this problem in the US and Canada, it is astounding that sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed 12 million times a year in the United States - including 3 million cases among teenagers. However, even in light of massive empirical evidence demonstrating that there is a major problem, the U.S. spends just $1 to prevent sexually transmitted illnesses for every $43 spent treating them! Gonorrhea strikes 150 times per 100,000 Americans vs. just 3 times Swedish and 18 times for Canadians.
There is also strong evidence that sexually transmitted diseases greatly increase the risk of sexual transmission of HIV.
Click to learn more about other STDs/STIs.
What about Oral Sex?
Is oral sex safe? Well, yes and no. That is certainly not to say that there are no risks, though unprotected oral sex is generally considered less risky then unprotected vaginal or anal sex. Since the lining of the mouth is less permeable than the lining of the lower orifices, there is a less likely chance of getting a small tear from the activity. That being said, if a cut is already there (e.g. cut during flossing), then it can be equally dangerous.
To minimize your risk while engaging in oral sex follow some suggestions for experimenting with at least new partners:
Use condoms or dental dams whenever possible
If you decide to roll the dice on the first tip, avoid ejaculating in the mouth
If you see symptoms that are suspicious of STDs/STIs, put the fantasy on hold until a doctor clears it
Floss and brush regularly - but not right before oral sex
Above all, get tested and know your status, so that you can help protect others
Remember that behind every unwanted pregnancy or STD/STI infection, is a person thinking it wouldn't happen to them. Don't you be a victim too!