In the US, STDs are a lot more common than you probably think. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 20 million new STD infections each year. And, about half of these occur in young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
However, no matter how old you are, you need to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from STDs. In other words, you need to practice safe sex.
Check out this guide to learn the top tips for safer sex.
1. Bring Your Own Condom
Transmitting an STD is a lot harder if you’re having sex with a condom. In fact, if a condom is properly used, it’s 98 percent effective at protecting from STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia.
However, it’s important to note that condoms aren’t as effective in protecting against diseases that result from skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes, syphilis, or genital warts.
Either way, it’s very important that you use condoms, especially if you’re engaging in sex with multiple partners. And, don’t rely on your sexual partner to bring condoms. You should always have your own supply, and, don’t forget to check the expiration date before use.
Also, if you or your partner suffer from a latex allergy, polyurethane condoms are an alternative option.
2. Know Your Birth Control Options
If you’re a female, it’s very important that you understand your birth control options. Birth control options are continuously expanding, and today, you can choose from daily pills, vaginal rings, monthly injections, and intravenous devices.
To figure out which birth control method is right for you, it’s very important to consult with your doctor. They can inform you of the types of birth control that will fit your lifestyle, as well as the side effects of each type.
3. Know Your Status
If you’re sexually active or have been in the recent past, it’s very important to regularly get checked for STDs.
Some STDs do not show signs until months or weeks after you’ve contracted them. So, by the time you find out you have one, you may have already unknowingly spread it to another person. Likewise, a partner may have unknowingly spread an STD to you.
This is why it’s so important to get tested often. It’s the only way of knowing for sure whether or not you have an STD.
4. Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Any time you have a new sexual partner, it’s very important that you’re honest with them about your sexual past and the ways in which you choose to practice safe sex.
By sharing your sexual histories, you can find out about any potential STDs or diseases. This may feel awkward, especially if you’re currently suffering from an STD. However, it’s a lot easier to deal with an awkward conversation now than it is to deal with an unexpected STD and a very angry partner.
In some states, like California, you can be persecuted for transmitting an STD to a partner if you already know you have the STD.
5. Avoid Getting Extremely Drunk
For a lot of us, our inhibitions lower when we get extremely drunk. If you get drunk, you may feel more inclined to sleep with someone without a condom or engage in unsafe sex.
The best way to prevent this is to make sure you don’t get drunk enough for this to be a possibility.
6. Pee After Sex
Peeing may not be the first thing you have on your mind after intercourse, but, it should be!
Peeing after sex helps prevent bladder irritation that can result in urinary tract infections (UTIs). By peeing, you get rid of the bacteria accumulating in your urethra.
Now that you have these tips in mind, you’ll be able to practice safer sex!