Whether it is your first time, or your 100th time having sex, it should be consensual and something you enjoy and can do safely. Sex can often be a scary topic and something you do not want to talk about. Your overall health and wellbeing can affect your sexual health, so it is important to know how to have sex safely while looking after your health.
Having safe sex includes many different factors. Protecting yourself against STIs and pregnancy are part of that. Another part of practicing safe sex is about consenting and feeling comfortable. If you feel you are having sex under pressure, or because you have to, this means you are not sexually ready. You should only have sex when you and your sexual partner both agree.
An important part of having safe sex is using contraception. Contraception can prevent you from any unwanted pregnancies and catching an STI.
There are 15 types of contraception available. To decide on the best one for you talk to your GP, local sexual health clinic or discuss it with your partner. Contraception can be for males and females, but some of the more popular ones are:
- Combined pill
- Contraceptive implant
- Contraceptive Injection
Using a condom is the safest way of having sex as it can prevent to passing of an STI from one partner to another.
A Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) is a bacterial or viral infection that can be passed through unprotected sex. It does not matter how many times you have had sex or how many partners you have had; anyone can get a STI. Most people do not notice any signs or symptoms when they have an STI, left un-treated, it can seriously affect your health and your ability to get pregnant.
Common STI’s are:
- Genital Warts
- Genital Herpes
To prevent getting a STI you need to use a condom or female condom every time you have sex. Even if you are using other methods of contraception, like the pill, to protect against pregnancy, you should use a condom as well. It is important to get yourself tested for STIs even if you think you do not have one. Getting tested is very simple, just visit your local sexual health clinic or GP and they can test you for everything.