Safer sex means sexual contact that does not involve any exchange of blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.
Technically, and in absolute terms, sex cannot be guaranteed as 100 percent safe. That’s why the term “safer sex” is considered to be more appropriate by many sexual health advocacy groups.
However, encouraging safer sex is harder said than done, not the least because of people’s insufficient or incorrect knowledge about how to practice it—and many people are ignorant of their ignorance. Check out these statements concerning safer sex that many people believe in, but which may not actually be true. Find out what’s right and what’s not by reading on.
Fact or fiction? It’s okay to go bareback (no condom) as long as my guy puts on a condom right before ejaculation.
FICTION. Don’t be tempted to go for a skin-to-skin feel. Even pre-ejaculate, the clear, colorless fluid that comes out of a mans’ penis when he is aroused, can cause infection. Plus studies show that there is also a small chance that you can become pregnant with pre-ejaculate, so why take the risk?
Fact or fiction? After hitting the home run, I shouldn’t let my guy linger inside me for a while, even if he’s wearing a condom.
FACT. After ejaculation, while holding the rim of the condom to prevent any leakage, the penis should be pulled out while still hard. Letting him grow “soft” inside means he won’t fit snugly into the condom anymore and semen may seep out.
Fact or fiction? Kissing, cuddling, masturbation, phone sex, and watching erotic films together are all forms of safer sex.
FACT. Yes; as all of the above activities do not involve an exchange of bodily fluids, these are to be considered safer sex options.
Fact or fiction? Condoms should also be used for oral sex.
FACT. As a general rule of thumb, a condom should be used for any kind of sex—vaginal, anal, and yes, even for oral sex—as a cut or a rash in your mouth can expose you to certain infections. Before switching from oral sex to vaginal sex, you should also use a new condom.
If you find the thought of having to “taste” a condom yucky, try flavored condoms like LICK wild tutti frutti and juicy strawberry made with real fruit flavors. Flavored condoms (note that flavored is different from scented) make oral sex pleasurable, safe, and, well, tasty.
Fact or fiction? It’s only normal that penetration is sometimes painful and uncomfortable and has no impact on safe sex.
FICTION. While you can experiment with different positions that make penetration more pleasurable, you should also check for vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness is a common condition that may be brought about by the fluctuating hormones of menopause, smoking, childbirth (post partum), or breastfeeding, as well as certain medications. These bring down your estrogen levels, making your vagina extra-dry and irritated.
Penetration when you’re not lubricated adds friction which may cause tears in the condom. Lubricants can make sex both more pleasurable and safe by reducing the risk of condom breakage. Just be sure you are using the right kind of lubricant.
Fact or fiction? Vaseline Petroleum Jelly or lotion can be also be used as a lubricant.
FICTION. Oil-based or petroleum-based products like Vaseline will compromise the integrity of the condom. Make sure to only use water-based lubricants like KY Jelly or silicone-based lubricants specifically intended for male condom use.
Remember: when used properly, lubricants can greatly help reduce the risk of condom breakage.
Fact or fiction? Condoms just decrease pleasure, so I should go on the pill, which will also protect me against STIs/HIV.
FICTION. The pill is effective in preventing untimely or unplanned pregnancy, but it cannot protect you from a sexually transmitted infection. The condom, as certified by the World Health Organization, is the only device that can act as an effective barrier against both sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy.
Fact or fiction? Condoms are known to break; therefore, they’re not at all reliable.
FICTION. The World Health Organization (WHO) certifies that condoms are effective barriers against herpes simplex, hepatitis B, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea, and can reduce the risk of HIV infection to nearly zero. While some condoms have been known to break, it is more often out of human error rather than manufacturer defect. Don’t use sharp objects like scissors, teeth, or long nails to open a condom wrapper, and always check the expiration date on the pack before using it.
Fact or fiction? I should keep a pack of condoms in my glove compartment just in case.
FICTION. A true girl scout knows that condoms need to be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from humidity, heat, air, and sunlight. The best place to store condoms is your medicine cabinet or your bedside table. Cool, quirky condom storage boxes and compacts are also available online at www.condomania.com
Fact or fiction? Using sex toys poses zero STI/HIV risk infection.
FICTION. The risk may be considered to be low, but the fact is that anything that comes in contact with bodily fluids and goes into a person's rectum and/or vagina could transmit HIV or other STDs, and this includes sex toys. Never share sex toys, and if you do share a sex toy with your partner, use a new condom on it. Clean sex toys properly after each use—make sure you pay attention to indicated cleaning and care instructions.
(Photo source: sxc.hu)
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