For many people sex is an important and healthy part of their lives. Sex can be fun, exciting, wonderful and loving. Being sexually healthy means making a happy, chosen and healthy decisions about your sex life.
Being sexually healthy also means protecting yourself and your partner from sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). These are infections passed from one person to another. Protect you and your partner from STIs - You can get some of these infections without having had vaginal or anal intercourse however most STIs are aquired (picked up) during penetrative sex.
How to stay sexy and healthy
Penetrative vaginal sex - a condom should be put on before any genital contact, especially if the woman isn't using additional, reliable birth control. There are enough live sperm and germs at the tip of an erect penis to cause pregnancy or infection without penetration or ejaculation.
Penetrative anal sex - use a condom with extra water-based lubricant at all times.
- If you are having penetrative sex, you and your partner will be most protected if you practise safer sex, which involves using a condom or femidom. This means giving and getting pleasure in ways that don’t put you or your partner at risk of STIs.
Oral Sex - oral sex is defined as the act of sexual intimacy from mouth to penis, mouth to vagina or mouth to anus. You can’t get pregnant from oral sex, but you can get an STI. If you choose to have oral sex, using a barrier method (condoms etc) to prevent direct contact between one partner's mouth and other partner's genitals is the best way to reduce your chance of getting or giving an STI.
Masturbation - there's no risk of infection if you're alone and using unshared items, unless a disease from one part of the body infects another through poor hygiene technique. An unwashed finger, for example, can spread genital gonorrhoea or chlamydia to the eye.
Sex toys - are safe as long as you don’t share them. If you do share them, you can reduce the risk of infection by using a condom over the sex toy. But you must change the condom or wash the toy with hot soapy water each time you transfer it from one person to another, each time another person is going to use it.
Enjoy sex without penetration – why not try kissing, hugging, stroking, massaging, masturbating and body rubbing? All of these are safe and fun.