Safe Sex or Protected Sex is a set of practices that became prominent in the late 1980’s as a result of the AIDS epidemic (Wikipedia). Safe sex practices are designed to reduce the risk of contracting an infection during sexual intercourse (Wikipedia). Nowadays, due to an increase in risk taking behavior where sexual intercourse is concerned, safe sex practices are used to prevent a number of infections commonly known as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) or Diseases (STD’s), which come in the form of HIV (which would later on result in AIDS), herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and genital warts to name a few. STI’s are contracted via an exchange of bodily fluid through sexual contact with an infected individual (STD Public Information Source).This essay will take the reader through the various methods of safe sex, as well as the benefits and risks that come with each.AbstinenceCommon sense would tell us that prevention is the best cure, thus abstinence would be the most foolproof of all safe sex methods.
Abstinence essentially would mean refraining from engaging in sexual activity entirely (Wikipedia), though from a health standpoint it would mean avoiding both anal and vaginal intercourse (Sexual Health Information).Abstinence would seem to be the most effective preventive measure against STI’s given that if followed correctly, it should not permit any exchange of bodily fluids between two parties. Members of religious organizations that do not believe in intercourse before marriage, as well as by concerned parents and members of society usually advocate this method.Though contrary to popular belief, abstinence does not guarantee 100% protection against STI’s (Sexual Health Information).
Infections can still be passed from one partner to another if in the case of “outercourse”, or non penetrative sex, there is genital to genital contact or if ejaculation occurs on the outside of the vagina (Sexual Health Information). Moreover, some infections such as crabs or herpes can also be passed merely through skin-to-skin contact, without an exchange of bodily fluids (Sexual Health Information).MonogamyAnother effective way to prevent STI’s would be to enter into a monogamous relationship or to engage in intercourse with only a single partner, who in turn will not engage in sexual intercourse with any other partner (Royal Adelaide Hospital).
This method is self-explanatory. As mentioned above, STI’s are passed on through exchange of bodily fluids with an infected partner, thus there would be little to no risk of infection should one be careful in selecting one’s partner and if both parties practice monogamy faithfully (Royal Adelaide Hospital).Though before entering into a serious relationship wherein one or both parties have engaged in sexual relations with other partners prior to entering the relationship, it would also be advisable to get tested prior to engaging in sexual intercourse for the first time.Contraceptive MeasuresFor those who cannot deny themselves the thrill of engaging in sexual relations with casual and multiple partners, there are also a number of ways to prevent contracting an STI.Prior to engaging in any form of intercourse with a new partner or acquaintance or with someone known to have had many partners, it would be advisable to talk to one’s partner about STI’s and ask whether he or she has been tested (STD Public Health Information). One may also examine said partner for signs of infection first (Royal Adelaide Hospital). STI’s usually manifest as sores, redness, bumps or unusual discharge in the genital area (STD Public Health Information). Should one notice any of these signs on his or her partner, it is encouraged that any form of fluid exchange be avoided until the other party has been tested.
In addition, after unprotected intercourse with a casual partner, seeking medical examination before any further sexual activity would be a wise decision (Royal Adelaide Hospital). Reducing the number of one’s sexual partners would also help reduce the risk of STI’s (Wikipedia).Other contraceptive devices can also be used as preventive measures against STI’s. The use of a latex condom during any form of sexual intercourse is highly recommended (Wikipedia). Should one engage in intercourse with multiple partners, the use of condoms during every sexual encounter would greatly reduce the risk of infection (Royal Adelaide Hospital). Partners may also use a female condom.
A dental dam, or a sheet of latex, is also effective in preventing STI’s from getting passed on during oral sex (Wikipedia). The latex sheet (or one may even use plastic wrap) will prevent virus-sized particles from being passed from partner to partner (Wikipedia). The use of gloves made of latex, vinyl or polyurethane during mutual masturbation will also prevent infections from being transferred through tiny cuts on the hand (Wikipedia).Living ResponsiblyOver and above all the safe sex measures, being responsible when it comes to engaging in sexual relations would be the best way to go. Living a healthy sexual lifestyle by getting tested for infections or getting check-ups every so often would not be a bad idea.
Sexually active women who visit their gynecologists regularly can also get tested not just for STI’s but also for other complications such as cervical or ovarian cancer. The same advice would apply to men where prostate cancer is involved. Getting to know one’s partner emotionally first, rather than physically would also reduce the risk of contracting an STI, and could also in turn be the key to a more meaningful relationship. Avoiding involvement with precarious behavior such as casual sex, engaging in one-night stands, orgies, swinging, polygamy, or drug intake would decrease health hazards and greatly aid in preventing the spread of HIV and other dangerous infections.References:”Safe sex.
” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 29 Nov 2006. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 30 Nov 2006. <
ca/wellness/info/sexual/abstinence/”>http://students.usask.ca/wellness/info/sexual/abstinence/>“Prevention of STD’s.” Royal Adelaide Hospital Sexually Transmitted Diseases Services. 21 Aug 2006.
STD Services. 30 Nov 2006. <http://www.stdservices.on.net/std/prevention/prevention.htm>