Types of sex and ways to make sex safer
We frequently hear about the importance of paying attention to our physical and mental health. For many people, it’s important to add sexual health to that list. Sexual health is an important part of your overall health. Sexual health includes:
- discovering sexual identity and attractions
- finding ways to communicate them to others
- preventing the transmission of STIs
Having access to information about how to stay safe during sex gives people the comfort and confidence to explore and fulfill their sexual desires with less anxiety and worry. Understanding different types of sex and ways to make it safer is the first step in taking charge of your sexual health.
Tips for safe oral and penetrative sex
- Talk with your partner about the last time they were tested for STIs.
- Don’t participate in this type of sex if you notice cuts, sores, bumps, or high-risk bodily fluids — such as blood — on their genitals or in their mouth, as this can be signs of an infection and
- can increase the chances of transmitting an STI.
- Safe penetrative sex in a front hole, vagina, or anus
- Penetrative sex, also known as intercourse, is the act of inserting a body part or toy inside someone’s front hole, vagina, or anus. It’s important to be aware that the person being penetrated, also known as the receptive partner, or “bottom,” is typically at a higher risk for contracting STIs than the partner who’s penetrating, also known as the inserting partner or “top.”
The risk for transmitting HIV to a bottom during unprotected anal sex is 15 in 1,000 compared with 3 in 10,000 for transmitting HIV from a bottom to a top.
Ways to make penetrative sex safer
- Use a barrier such as a condom. Most condoms are made out of latex, but there are others made out of polyisoprene or polyurethane for those with a latex allergy.
- Use a new barrier or condom with each new sexual partner and sexual activity.
Be sure to put the condom on correctly. Pinching the reservoir tip of a condom before rolling it over the penis will leave space to collect semen and reduce the chances the condom will break when the semen is released. The condom should be rolled down to the base of the penis so the barrier is covering the entire body part.
- Secure the base ring of the condom when removing the condom-covered penis from the other person’s body. This helps prevent bodily fluids from sliding out of the condom and having contact with your partner.
- Never put more than one condom on a penis at one time. Using two condoms on the same penis at this same time increases friction and the likelihood that one or both condoms will break.
- Apply lube. Lube cuts down on the amount of friction on a condom, which helps prevent the chance that the condom will break.
- When using a condom for penetrative sex, it can be helpful to place lube on the front hole, vagina, or anus before inserting. This will decrease pain and friction while increasing pleasure.
- Safe oral sex on a clitoris, front hole, vagina, penis, scrotum, or anus
- Oral sex is when someone uses their mouth to stimulate a partner’s genitals or anus.
Ways to make oral sex safer
- Place a latex barrier between the mouth and body part oral sex is being performed on.
- Apply lube to both sides of the barrier to enhance pleasure and decrease the chances of transmitting an infection.
- Safe sex with hands
- Fingers and hands can be used during sex to stimulate parts of the body such as the penis, front hole, vagina, mouth, nipples, or anus.
Ways to make sex with hands safer
- Apply a generous amount of lube to help prevent cuts and pain.
- Wash your hands and trim your fingernails before using them during sex.
important to note that sex with hands and fingers isn’t a common way of transmitting STIs, but we always want to be as safe as possible.
- Use a hand or glove that’s different from the one you used to touch yourself, when touching your partner(s).
- Safe sex with toys
- One way to have sex with yourself and with partners is by using toys such as vibrators (can be used on the front hole and vagina), dildos (can be used on the front hole, vagina, and anus), plugs (can be used anally), and beads (can be used anally). These toys can help stimulate body parts both internally and externally.
Ways to make sex with toys safer
- Use a barrier such as a latex condom on toys being used for penetration in the front hole, vagina, anus, or mouth.
- If a toy’s been exposed to bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids, saliva, or blood, try not to share it. This can reduce the risk of transmitting an STI.
- If you do decide to share a sex toy that’s been used by or with a previous partner, be sure to clean and sanitize it thoroughly, following manufacturer’s instructions. Toys are made out of many different materials and therefore require different methods for sanitization. Some should be cleaned using soap and water while others should be boiled in hot water for a period of time.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to sanitize each toy in the safest, most effective way.