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You Should Prob Be Using Dental Dams, and Other Safer Sex Advice You Need

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Framingham chapter.

I know, I know – we’re all tired of hearing about it, but it needs to be talked about… so listen up!

We’re going to talk about sex – and not just any sex, mind you. We’re going to talk about SAFE sex. Human beings have sex, and it’s a fact of life. Sexually transmitted infections (or STIs) are a very real possibility when safe sex practices are not adhered to. When you practice safe sex, it makes life (and health) so much less worrisome.  

Sex is sex, regardless of sexual orientation or romantic preference. So I’m going to break down this shindig into what I consider to be the five main “bases” of safe sex.

1. Condoms & Dental Dams

If there’s a penis involved, there should be a condom. If there’s a vagina involved in oral sex, there should be a dental dam. Some people say they’re uncomfortable and others say that they reduce sensitivity, but there’s simply no excuse for risking one’s health. If a potential partner is flat-out unwilling to use a condom or dental dam, ask yourself if you’re really willing to take that risk.

Condoms and dental dams should be used during both oral and penetrative sex. Contrary to popular belief, oral sex does carry a risk of STI transmission. The chances are less than those of penetrative sex, but the chances are still there nonetheless.

2. Lubricant

Lube, lube, lube! You may not really think of lube as being part of safe sex, but it definitely is. You can think your partner is the wettest person you’ve ever encountered, but as soon as they dry up, friction comes into play. Too much friction can cause discomfort for both partners, and it even increases the chances of ending up with a broken condom! So basically, always have lube on hand just in case the need arises.

Be sure to choose a lube that works for both you and your partner. Also, make sure you’re choosing the right lube for the type of condom or dental dam you’re using (for example, you should NEVER use an oil-based lube on a latex condom!). When picking out a lube, check to see if it’s “condom-compatible” or if it warns against use with a specific type of condom. Ultimately, find one that’ll suit you best.

3. Sex Toy Cleaner

If you’re using sex toys, even while flying solo, you should get into the habit of cleaning them thoroughly after each use. When sharing toys between partners, this is especially important because STIs can easily be transmitted on sex toys.

You don’t even have to buy a specific “sex toy cleaner” per se. A little bit of mild antibacterial soap and water is really all you need. But be careful not to get the water on any charging ports or battery hubs!

4. Birth Control

If there are functional sperm and functional eggs in close sexual contact, a functional fetus can be produced. Therefore, if birth control is an option, use it. Whether it’s pills, the patch, an IUD, what have you – find a method that works for you. If anything, it’ll give you some extra peace of mind the next time you indulge your desires.

Not every birth control method works for everyone, so it may take a little while to really settle into one. In the meantime, it’s always a good idea to have a backup birth control method (such as spermicidal foam, which you can find at just about any pharmacy).

5. Have fun!

Last, but certainly not least, part of safe sex is having a good time with it! Let loose, enjoy yourself, and have fun with your partner!