Safe Sex 101: Protection, regular check-ups, post-sex hygiene and more
Today, there is a basic understanding of the importance of using condoms for preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) - thanks to safe sex campaigns and somewhat hilarious ads on television. However, making the business of sex clean and safe doesn’t end at using the contraceptives - overall cleanliness, annual screenings, understanding your body and open communication with your partner(s) go a long way in keeping the both of you healthy.
Condoms aren’t just for sex - or men
For starters, remember that the job of the condom isn’t just preventing pregnancy. STDs are spread when bodily fluids are exchanged. What this means though is that even oral sex can give you some STDs and protection should be used for it.
Another thing of note when it comes to condoms is female condoms - ones that can be inserted into the vagina or anus for safe intercourse.
To prevent pregnancy, though, the effectiveness of the female condom with perfect use is slighter lower at 95% than a male condom (98%).
The mystique of dental dams
Most people end up not using appropriate protection when performing cunnilingus. Dental dams are latex sheets that can be placed on the vagina to ensure that no unhealthy transfer of fluids takes place. While dental dams are not easily available in local Indian pharmacies, some online retailers will send them straight to your home. If you are not able to source dental dams, you can be resourceful with regular male condoms. Cut off the teat (tip), base and along the length of the condom - this will make it a rectangular sheet. Place this on the vagina while performing cunnilingus to prevent any unhealthy fluid exchange.
Some words on hygiene
Safe sex should be a focus for everyone, regardless of their age, gender or sexual orientation.
To avoid infections, it is good practice for men to clean their penis after ejaculation by pulling back the foreskin and running some warm water on it. But wait about 15 minutes after ejaculation to pee. Women should clean their genitals with warm water and pee immediately after sex.
Before sex, make sure to wash your hands well and always keep your nails trimmed. Even a small cut can increase the risk of STD transmission. This goes for everyone, regardless of gender.
Lube it up!
Another underappreciated product is a lubricant. Using a lubricant when engaging in intercourse makes the act more pleasurable and prevents micro-cuts from friction. This is especially useful in the case of vaginal dryness (which can occur for many reasons) and anal sex since the area isn’t naturally lubricated. To repeat a dictum of sexual health: always use condoms, even during anal sex.
Getting screened in India isn’t as hard as you think
Screening for STDs is not commonly talked about in our country. Lack of awareness and the stigma around acknowledging a sex life are some of the factors that contribute to this. It is important to remember that you may be carrying an STD even without exhibiting its symptoms. Screenings are offered by pathology labs and hospitals starting at around Rs 2,800. It is a good idea to be tested at least once a year (or even when entering into a new sexual relationship) to make sure you are on top of your sexual health and to get a better understanding from your doctor about the factors influencing your wellbeing. It’s absolutely okay to have an open conversation with a potential sexual partner about the last time you/they were tested. Remember, it’s sexy to be safe.
Whether you’re straight, bi or gay, sex toys could be a part of your sex life. But sex toys come with their own set of safety tips to keep in mind. To start, clean your sex toys between every session, before using it on a second partner or a different orifice during the same session. Even better, if possible, use protection even with sex toys.
Reel v/s real
Please, please don’t get your information about sexual health from a fictional source - this includes movies, novels, social media and porn. Trust only medical professionals with your health. If you notice a symptom, do not try self-diagnosing it. Consult your doctor immediately.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Safe Sex.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Nov 27, 2019 14:36:26 IST
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