If you start thinking about sex risks and making safer sex decisions, then you’re on the right track! No matter what sexual activity you and your partner are going to do, everything must always be consensual. Decisions about having safer sex include:
- What you will and will not do.
- Decisions about the amount of risk you’re willing to take when it comes to STIs or pregnancy.
Any kind of sexual activity with a partner is not guaranteed to be 100% safe: STIs don’t always have symptoms; some people are not aware that they have them, and; the risk of pregnancy is still there even with contraception (although it is unlikely, depending on which method is used).
Not all kinds of sexual activity have the same risks—STIs are most likely to spread through vaginal and anal sex, although still possible with oral sex, while things such as kissing, mutual masturbation, and outer course (or dry humping) have lower risks. Here are tips on practicing safer sex:
- For vaginal sex, use contraceptives and condoms.
- For anal sex, use condoms and water-based lubricant.
- Get tested for STIs, especially if you do not know the health status of your partner.
Emotional risks are also present in sexual activity. Since emotions are also involved, it is very important to discuss with your partner what is okay and what is not, and to ask yourself what you are ready for, what you want, and what you are looking for in a sexual relationship.