Sex is pretty fun, right? It’s exciting, it feels good, and it can help us grow closer.
Of course, when it comes to sex we’re all aware there’s something important we need to factor in: protection. Staying safe is a must, regardless of how caught up in the moment you and your partner are, but how well do you know the ins-and-outs of a fun, safe sexual experience?
To help you figure things out for yourself, here’s our guide to safe sex…
When you think of condoms, it’s probably male condoms that first come to mind - these protect against STIs and pregnancy and are the most commonly used. But did you know about female condoms? Women put these inside their vagina before sex (or their partners put it in for them) and just like the male equivalent they can also create a barrier to prevent STIs and pregnancy.
Tell me more…
Both male and female condoms help you stay safe from STIs, especially if you’re enjoying an encounter but aren’t aware of your partner's sexual health. Men’s condoms come in a bunch of shapes, sizes and thicknesses, so you can explore and find one that works for you.
The pill is a daily tablet taken by women and girls all over the world. It contains hormones that prevent pregnancy in a variety of ways, depending on the type of pill (there are loads of different ones). Other forms of contraception for women are growing in popularity and availability, like the IUD (or coil) and the implant. But the pill is the most common.
Don’t forget though…
The pill doesn’t protect against STIs like condoms do, and sometimes it can cause side effects(1) that aren’t so great, including nausea, tenderness, bleeding between periods and mood changes - if you have any uncomfortable symptoms or worries, talk it over with your GP or local sexual health clinic. The pill is currently only available for females, though a male version is being tested. (Want to learn more? Check out: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/male-pill/).
Whilst not a form of contraception, consent should be at the centre of any sexual experience. Making sure you and your partner are on the same page, are both explicitly excited about doing it and feel comfortable… hot!
Bear in mind…
Drinking and drugs can affect consent – if you or your partner(s) are drunk or high then you might not have the capacity to consent. It’s always better to wait until everyone’s in the right state of mind. Always make sure you have consent from the person you’re with before sex, and likewise never do anything you don’t feel comfortable with. There’s nothing more attractive than a resounding ‘yes!’ from the person you’re with.
If you want to learn more about your contraception options, talk it over with your GP or local sexual health clinic to determine what would be the best fit for your body and your life.
(1) NHS – Side effects of female contraception pill https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/combined-contraceptive-pill/