Contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy
When you protect yourself and your partner during sex in a straight relationship (girl and guy), it is from two things - sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy. In same-sex relationships (guy and guy, girl and girl), safer sex means protecting you and your partner from STIs.
How do I protect myself?
- Have non-penetrative sex like kissing, stroking and rubbing.
- For vaginal sex - use condoms with water-based lubricant.
- For oral sex - use condoms or dental dams.
- For anal sex - use condoms with water-based lubricant.
Remember, only stop using condoms with someone you trust and who you know doesn't have an STI. They can check by having an STI test. You will still need to protect yourself, or your partner, from unplanned pregnancy.
You need to use a new condom every time you switch between oral, anal or vaginal sex.
Are there sexual things I can do that are safe?
There are heaps of sexual activities that carry less risk from STIs. They include stroking, rubbing and mutual masturbation. But remember, some STIs can be passed on through skin-to-skin contact (such as kissing and mutual masturbation), like genital herpes and genital warts. Just because you're going out with someone, it doesn't mean you have to have penetrative (or insertive) sex.
What happens if my contraceptive fails?
Did you have unprotected sex, that is, sex without a condom? Did the condom break or fall off during sex? More than 24 hours late in taking the pill? The emergency contraceptive pill (or the 'morning after' pill) is a hormone pill that can be taken up to three days (up to 72 hours) to prevent pregnancy. The sooner it is taken the more effective it is. Emergency contraceptive pills can be purchased from a chemist, doctor or sexual health clinic.
Condoms and lube go together
Condoms are the only form of protection that can both help to stop most STIs - like chlamydia and HIV - and prevent unplanned pregnancy. If you don't use a condom you're taking a big risk. It's also really important to use a water-based lubricant, like KY Jelly or Wet Stuff, as this can help prevent the condom from breaking.
It's essential to have a discussion with your partner about using condoms - the responsibility for keeping safe is with both of you. It can be awkward, especially if you don't know someone well, to bring up the subject of using condoms, but it's preferable to taking the risk of not using one.
Condoms come in loads of shapes, sizes, types, flavours - like banana, apple, strawberry, chocolate and liquorice - and styles - like plain, dotted or ribbed. Condoms don't cost much and are easy to carry around.
Types of contraception