What is Safe Sex? A Quick Guide for New Couples

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Last Updated: May 30, 2020

Safe sex means taking steps before and during sex that can prevent you from getting an infection.
Practicing safe sex is crucial to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. (Photo: Shutterstock - By VGstockstudio)

Sex is a topic that relatively few people are willing to discuss in public. This is unfortunate because sexual wellness is very important. And, sadly, misinformation about sex and sexual health can spread very quickly.

In order to combat a number of common sexual health myths, today we’re going to take a look at “safe sex.”

We’ll explain what safe sex is –– what it isn’t –– and what steps you can take to ensure the well-being of both yourself and your partner(s).

What is Safe Sex?

Safe sex is most commonly classified as sex with a condom (protection). Wearing a condom during sexual intercourse is an effective way to prevent conception and the transmission of most STDs.

Note, not all contraceptives prevent the spread of STDs. Birth-control pills, for instance, do not stop STD transmission.

Even condoms are not 100% capable of guaranteeing safe sex. Certain STDs –– like herpes –– can spread through skin-to-skin contact. So even individuals who properly use a condom could still contract or transmit herpes.

That’s why many professionals say there’s no such thing as truly “safe sex.”

What Isn’t Safe Sex?

For many, safe sex is all about preventing pregnancy. Yet, the reality is that sexual acts that don’t end in pregnancy may still be unsafe –– especially if couples don’t use condoms.

Indeed, all of the following acts can cause the spread of dangerous, infectious diseases when done without protection:

  • Oral sex
  • Vaginal sex
  • Anal sex
  • Sharing sex toys

It’s even possible to contract an STD simply from kissing someone because some STDs can exist in the human mouth or throat.

Conception Myths

It only takes one time for conception to occur. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding reproduction. For example, some myths regarding conception include:

  • You can’t get pregnant during your period.
  • You can’t get pregnant your first time.
  • You can’t get pregnant if your partner pulls out.

In truth, though, all of those statements are false. There are certain times during a month when women are more likely to conceive, but all sex carries the possibility of conception.

Protecting Yourself

So what can you do to protect yourself and your partner from STDs?

First, always use a latex condom during sexual intercourse. This includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex.

Second, visit a dedicated STD testing center on a regular basis. Plain and simple, be safe – get tested.

Lastly, always make it a point to communicate with your partner. No, it may not be easy to discuss sexual wellness with your significant other, but it’s a part of being in a committed relationship.

Following these steps will help you enjoy a healthier and happier relationship. So be sure to keep them handy!

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