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Safer Sex

Safer sex reduces our risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

How Can I Lower My Risk Using Safer Sex? We all care about protecting ourselves and the ones we love. For sexually active people that means practicing safer sex. We can use it to reduce our risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. It lets us protect ourselves – and our partners – while we enjoy sex play with them. Safer sex is for responsible people who care about their and their partners’ pleasure and health.

One way to have safer sex is to only have one partner who has no sexually transmitted infections and no other partners than you. But, this isn’t always the safest kind of safer sex. That’s because most people don’t know when they have infections. They are very likely to pass them on without knowing it.

Another reason is that some people aren’t as honest as they should be. In fact, about 1 out of 3 people will say they don’t have an infection when they know they do, just to have sex. So most of us have to find other ways to practice safer sex.

Another way to practice safer sex is to only have sex play that has no risk – or a lower risk – of passing STDs. This means no vaginal or anal intercourse. Many of us find that great sex is about a lot more than a penis going in a vagina or anus. It is about exploring the many other ways you and your partner can turn each other on. Not only is it a way to discover new sexual pleasures, it’s also safer.

No-risk safer sex play includes masturbation, mutual masturbation, phone sex, and sharing fantasies.

Low-risk safer sex play includes kissing, fondling – manual stimulation of one another, body-to-body rubbing – grinding, dry humping, oral sex (even safer with a condom or other barrier), or playing with sex toys – alone or with a partner

The highest risk kinds of sex play are vaginal intercourse and anal intercourse.

Acknowledgements: This fact sheet was adapted from PlannedParenthood.org, a website that provides education about reproductive and sexual health.

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