Cue the giggles and the lame jokes that are accompanied with the inevitable eye rolls. Yes, we are going to talk about sex. Safe sex means many different things. This article will provide you with five safe sex practices to ensure you and your partner(s) are being as safe as possible. Whether that means avoiding pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or lack of communication, the following five practices are never a bad idea and should be at least considered before partaking in sexual relations.
It is a conversation that we all do not want to have but we all know we should. By the time that two consenting adults have gone through the rigors of their childhood and teenage years, they should have the basic capacity and maturity level to engage in a clear and direct discussion about sex. The healthiest relationships are those in which both partners are on the exact same page, whether that means a disclosure of any STIs that one might have, or various sexual acts that a partner does not want to do. Sex should be fun, so ensure both parties are thinking like that.
There’s more to this safe sex practice that meets the eye. First of all, traditional male condoms are the easiest, most convenient, and available method of protection for anyone. They can be found practically anywhere on and off campus…for free! They are also fairly inexpensive and can be purchased at most pharmacies and convenience stores. However, make sure to properly follow instructions as condoms are only most effective when used how they were designed, so avoid succumbing to those urban myths like doubling up for extra protection. That actually increases your risk of the condoms breaking. Don’t forget that there are also dental dams and female condoms available for women.
- Regular STI Testing
It can be inconvenient and seem like such a hassle to make that appointment and go speak with your healthcare professional, but deep down, you know it is the right thing to do. Student Health Services at Harrison Hall or the Campus Pharmacy will offer STI testing by appointment, so you can have the leisure of going in-between your classes. There are also take-home kits that you can purchase online or from most pharmacies, but those can sometimes be inaccurate and not fully comprehensive. As well, be on the lookout for free STI testing events that come to campus in partnership with Niagara Region Public Health.
- Medical Protection
When people refer to “the pill”, they are referring to birth control. While that pill is a reliable oral contraception option to protect against pregnancy (if taken properly), it does absolutely nothing in guarding against the transmission of STIs. However, there are some medications out there that are specific to a very prevalent STI in HIV. There is a pre, post, and during pill for HIV. For those who are HIV-negative, you can take this pill to build up your body’s resistance to the infection. If you have had unprotected sexual relations with someone who is HIV-positive, the post-pill can work as a “morning after” method of stopping the infection from spreading. Lastly, the during pill is for those who are HIV-positive and works to inhibit the infection’s ability to spread during sexual relations with someone else.