You might have come a long way since your first awkward fumbles behind the bike sheds or between the sheets, but no matter your age and experience, there may still be things you can learn about practising safe sex. If you want to enjoy fulfilling, fun and guilt-free physical relationships, check out the following guide to taking control of your sexual health.
If in doubt, always use a condom
There are a dizzying array of birth control options on offer now, ranging from the pill to the patch, injection and implant. However, while these methods can be effective ways to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy, they can’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like genital herpes, gonorrhoea, genital warts, chlamydia and HIV. The only form of contraception that can protect you and your partner from STIs is condoms. So, unless you are absolutely certain that neither you nor your partner has an STI, you should always use a condom. When you’re choosing these products, make sure they are in date and their packages display the CE mark. Also, bear in mind that oil-based moisturisers and lubricants can make latex condoms less effective. People often complain that putting condoms on can ruin the moment, but in fact with a little imagination, it’s easy to make this a fun part of sex.
If you ever notice any symptoms of STIs, make sure you get tested as soon as possible. Also, bear in mind that some infections, like chlamydia, can go undetected. Because of this, it’s a good idea to get yourself checked if you have had unprotected sex even if you don’t have any signs of infection. You can visit a sexual health clinic regardless of whether you’re experiencing any symptoms. It’s also possible to get tests for certain STIs, including gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV, over the web from health specialists such as Online Doctor Lloyds Pharmacy. Receiving a positive result can be frightening, but many infections can be cleared relatively easily. For example, it is possible to access a course of antiviral tablets as a herpes treatment. The important thing is that you seek suitable treatment as quickly as possible.
If you do find out you have an STI, you’ll need to tell anyone who you have had unprotected sex with who may be at risk. OK, so this may make for an awkward topic of conversation, but you have a responsibility to warn them.
Be open and honest with your partner
Another tip is to try to be as open and honest as possible with your partner about sexual health. Talking about these issues will help to ensure you both feel comfortable and confident between the sheets. It might be a little embarrassing to begin with, but you’ll both benefit in the long term. It’s best to broach the subject before you find yourself in the heat of the moment too, as it’s easy to forget the sexual health basics when your passions take over.
As long as you follow advice like this, you should be able to enjoy carefree sex without putting your health at risk.