Ladies, this one's for you!
Unless you're in a committed relationship, your gynaecologist likely urges you to have “safe sex”. But what exactly is meant by this general term, and how do you actually practise safe sex?
In short, safe sex means to reduce your risk of catching - or spreading, for that matter - any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Here are four simple yet effective strategies for practising safer sex without sacrificing your sex life.
Four tools for practising safe sex
#1: Get tested for HIV and STDs regularly
The single most important step to take is to go for regular HIV and STD screenings. Knowing your own status is the only way you can approach the next step in an open, honest manner...
#2: Communicate with your partner
In any relationship – that includes a sexual one – communication is key. And, yes, safe sex involves lots of talking – think discussing risks and activities and making informed choices together.
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It goes without saying that sex raises numerous other questions. For example: Just how much do you trust your partner, should you consider going on the birth control pill or how do you get your partner to wear a condom if he refuses to do so? Or, even more important – what should you do if you suspect that your man isn’t being monogamous?
The best thing to do is to find ways to reduce complications associated with risky sexual activities or to avoid them completely. Either way, you’ll still need to go for regular HIV and STD tests and communicate with your partner about your sexual health
and sex life.
#3: Make your partner use condoms
Asking your partner to wear a condom every time you have sex is the first and best line of defense. It will create a barrier to help prevent any infections or diseases. If you have a latex allergy, make sure you opt for polyurethane condoms instead.
#4: Be abstinent or monogamous
Total abstinence is the only way to be completely safe. But, of course, it’s downright unrealistic for most people. Thankfully, there’s another solution, and that’s to be monogamous. A long-term monogamous relationship in which both partners know their health status to be negative for HIV and STDs and both stay loyal to the monogamous ideal.
And keep in mind: Prevention is better than cure.
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