STI prevention for sexual health
January 18, 2021
How can you protect yourself from STIs before it’s too late? Learn about STI prevention for better sexual health!
Safe sex is one of the most important aspects of healthy living. What are STIs, and what are the easiest ways to protect yourself from them before it’s too late? Check out our tips to learn all about STI prevention for improved sexual health!
Preventing sexually transmitted infections
STIs or sexually transmitted infections are commonly caused and spread by sexual activities. That includes penetrative sex (vaginal and anal) along with oral sex. It’s also possible to contract STIs through other means of sexual contact. That includes skin-to-skin contact or the shared use of sex toys.
Furthermore, a big risk associated with STIs and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) is the fact that they do not produce symptoms right away. People can unknowingly spread them. Some of the most common STIs are pelvic inflammatory disease, genital herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. In the United States, there are over 20 million cases of infections per year.
Fortunately, you can avoid STDs and STIs easily, and the methods to protect yourself effectively are fairly straightforward. For one, you will need to be mindful of protection during sex and be aware of sexual health. However, you should bear in mind that no approach can guarantee 100% efficiency. The only way to do that is to stop all sexual contact, but that is not an option for most people. Still, the majority of prevention techniques will greatly limit the risks. They will make you feel safer and ultimately improve sex.
Protection before sex
As mentioned, you should be aware of the most common prevention methods before any sexual encounter or activity. That way, you’ll be able to avoid health problems and protect yourself before it’s too late. You can take the following steps to minimize the risk of contracting an STI:
- Be aware of STI prevention methods before sex.
- Have an open and honest discussion with a potential partner about STIs.
- Ask your partner about their sexual history. Tell them if you have had any problems with STIs in the past.
- Get tested before having sex with a new partner.
- Ask your partner to get tested.
- Do not have sex while intoxicated.
- Get a vaccine. This is an effective method to protect yourself and your partner against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV (human papillomavirus).
- Consider taking prophylaxis (PrEP) before sex. This is an effective medication that can decrease HIV risks for HIV-negative individuals.
- Use barrier birth control methods during every sex session.
While young adults are at a higher risk of contracting STIs, it’s worth mentioning that no one is safe from them. Anyone can get infected, regardless of their age or sexual orientation.
Sexual health practices
Additionally, what you do in bed can greatly lower the risks. Barrier methods are recommended by most experts since they prevent skin-to-skin contact. Plus, they are simple, and most people already practice them. Here’s what you should do:
- Use external or internal condoms every time during penetrative sex.
- Use condoms with adult toys like vibrators.
- Condoms can also lower the risk during oral sex, and the same applies to dental dams.
- During manual stimulation with hands, use gloves.
Additionally, you can prevent STIs if you and your partner maintain proper hygiene. You should follow these hygiene practices before and after sex:
- Wash your hands before skin-to-skin contact. You should also wash your genitals or take a shower.
- Rinse off after sex.
- Urinate after an orgasm to minimize the risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections).
Using condoms correctly
Barrier methods are incredibly effective when it comes to preventing unwanted pregnancies. Yet, they also keep you and your partner safe from STIs. Namely, they reduce skin-to-skin contact and prevent the flow of fluids that contain bacteria or viruses. However, you can put yourself or your partner at risk through improper use. To boost the effectiveness of external and internal condoms, follow these tips:
- Do not use condoms that have passed their expiration date.
- Inspect the packaging for tears. You’ll know that the package is safe and that it has no holes or rips if you can feel an air bubble when you touch it.
- Learn about the correct ways to put a condom on.
- If you use lubricant, make sure that it’s condom-safe.
- Always leave space at the tip of external condoms for penises or toys.
- To make sure that the condom doesn’t slip after sex, simply hold onto it when you remove the penis or sex toy.
- Do not reuse condoms.
As you’ve seen, you can prevent STDs and STIs easily if you’re aware of the best practices. Simply follow our recommended methods, and you’ll be able to enjoy sex to the fullest!