What is Safer Sex?
Safer sex means caring for your own health and anyone you may be having sex with's health.
These are the condoms you are probably most familiar with, they come in many shapes, sizes and even flavours. (Flavoured condoms should only be used for oral sex as they can cause a yeast infection of the genital area).
They are single use only and work by providing a barrier to prevent HIV & STI transmission. These condoms are good for penetrative sex of all kinds, oral sex and can also be used on sex toys. Condoms should always be used with a water-based lubricant
These may also be referred to as female condoms. They are similar to
external condoms however they are placed inside the vagina or anus prior to sex. These condoms also act as a barrier to prevent HIV & STI transmission. Internal condoms are good for penetrative sex of all kinds.
These condoms work by placing the inner ring inside either the vagina or anus with the outer ring being left on the outside of the genitals.
A dental dam is a flat piece of latex that can be used as a barrier when placed over the vagina or anus for oral sex. These are primarily used for oral sex and rimming.
Just like condoms please remember to change dams between partners and when switching between anal or vaginal contact. Like condoms these are single use only, so don’t flip it around and use the other side.
Latex gloves can be used when putting fingers or fists inside the vagina or anus. Wearing gloves can reduce your chances of contracting or transmitting STI’s through any tiny cuts that may be on your hands or fingers. They can also prevent you from accidently scratching your partner/s.
There are 3 main types of lube:
Water Based Lube
This is the most common type of lube and is recommended to be used with condoms (external and internal) and toys.
Silicone Based Lube
Silicone lube as the name suggests is made from silicone. It is safe to use with condoms (external and internal) however should not be used with any silicone toys as it will degrade them over time. Silicone lube is best used for longer sessions or any play in water eg shower, bath etc
Oil Based Lube
Oil based lubes are used for heavier types of play such as fisting and large insertion. Don't use anything that has oil in it, like lotion, Vaseline, or oil-based lubes with latex condoms. Oil can damage latex condoms and make them break. Oil based lube can also stick around your genitals longer than it’s wanted and can be an infection risk.
In addition to the safer sex options listed above, there are other ways to reduce your chances of HIV & STI transmission. These are called Treatment as Prevention or TasP.
There are a number of ways to have safer sex and we’ll discuss some of them now.