Sex is a universal truth, everyone engages in it and enjoys it! Yet this very pleasurable experience may turn out to be a nightmare, if not done right! The UNAIDS has recorded that there were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2015. Moreover despite all the awareness propaganda, an additional 2.1 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2015! Life-destructing to say the least, that to when it’s completely avoidable!
What is safe sex?
Sex must be a pleasurable experience, in mind, body and soul. It must make you feel wanted and desired, at the same time evoke love and respect. It should lead to healthy and happy life, not be a disaster in the making. Sometimes, all the jazz that is portrayed around sex kind of blows the concept of sex out of proportion, attaching dangerous notions to it. This is especially confusing for those who are new to it. It is your birth right and responsibility to always stay safe, the same applies to sex. That’s why it is important to know what Safe Sex is all about.
Technically, Safe sex is when one engages in sexual activity after taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections (STI) and/or to prevent pregnancy. We can sum it up as SSSH as follows:
- Self-will: You must feel safe and secure while indulging in any sexual activity. Exercise your own free will, do not come under pressure, for you may later feel sorry for yourself.
- Secure: Sex is not just the physical act, great sex is also a result of bonding between partners. One must feel secure and loved, throughout.
- Self-esteem: Sex must make you feel good about yourself and not give rise to self-doubt of guilt. It should build a positive self-esteem in you- about your body and mind. Insulting behaviours like body shaming, forcefully engaging in sex can destroy self-esteem.
- Health and hygiene: Be sure to stay healthy and hygienic, know your limits and stick to them during sex.
Why it is important to be protected?
Once sexually active, a woman undergoes changes in body and mind. A direct outcome of unprotected sex is pregnancy. So hey, if you are not looking at having a baby soon, better to be safe and stick to protection or contraception. Safe and protected sex is the best preventive measure rather than opting for an abortions later on.
Sexual intercourse may lead to body fluids being transferred from one person to another, along with it carrying disease. Sexually transmitted infections and diseases such as HIV, AIDS, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Genital herpes, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are some of the conditions that can be transmitted sexually. The risk level increase in the case of multiple partners.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. So why not use the best of preventive methods and enjoy safe sex!
How can you make sex safer for yourself?
Every woman has the right to demand Safe Sex, so go on and take your pick and get ready to SSSH!
✓ Your barrier to STIs, literally: A male or female condom acts as a latex barrier, offering dual protection in terms of prevention of STIs as well as providing contraception. When used properly, it is the most effective means of ensuring safe sex. This is your safest bet to safe sex, so find out more about the barrier-based contraceptives for both males and females. Today the market is flooded with kinky stuff like chocolate flavoured condoms and extra-dotted ones for the O-Some Orgasm! Get all exploratory and enjoy the ride to safe sex! Deep dive into the world of contraceptives since any type of contact may lead to an STI. Use dental dams for oral sex! Read more on contraception in our Sex Ed section.
✓ Talk safe, be safe: Talk the S word with your partner. Together, discuss the pros and cons of various contraceptives, what you like and do not like, and decide what suits your sex life the best! A loving relationship must share respect and concern for well-being, and that includes safe sex! So speak up the theme “Safe”!
✓ Sex during Safe period: In a typical 28 days cycle, days 8-18 are considered optimal for conception. Alternatively, sex outside this fertile window has very low possibility of resulting in pregnancy. This can be considered safe sex in the limited context of birth control (RHYTHM METHOD). However, it is not a fool proof method and does not offer any protection against STIs. It is, therefore, recommended only for committed, loyal, preferably married couples.
✓ Stay faithful, stay safe: Loyalty towards one partner can go a long way in staying safe. Multiple partners (even not overlapping) may lead to complications. For example, the HIV virus can remain dormant in our system for years (without one knowing) and be passed on through sexual intercourse. It’s a good idea to get yourself tested for HIV, if this is the case.
✓ Get in control, choose the best birth control: Having babies or not, the decision is entirely yours. But you can exercise a control in your life by choosing the best form of birth control method that suits you. While oral contraceptives will not protect against STIs, barrier-contraceptives will. Try out alternatives, consult a doctor and be worry free.
More important than ever, Be Aware! Be Informed! Get yourself and your partner tested for STIs and together pledge to start off on the path to a Sexual wellbeing! Take charge of your sexual health today and carve your path to beautiful SEXperiences!
“Dr. Vivek Arora is an advisory doctor for SheAndYou, providing invaluable practical insights on matters of female wellness for our column. He is a keen propagator of health awareness and volunteers to create and validate content that benefits our readers.”
Dr. Vivek Arora completed MBBS (1999) and MS (2003) from the renowned Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi and enjoys contributing content to medical journals towards educating people on health and wellbeing. No wonder he is known as the “doctor who writes”!