Contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy. Using condoms can prevent pregnancy and can also protect you against getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Whether you are in a straight relationship (girl and guy), or a same sex relationship (guy and guy or girl and girl) it’s important to protect you and your partner from STIs.
How do I protect myself?
- Have non-penetrative sex like kissing, stroking and rubbing.
- Use condoms with water-based lubricant for vaginal or anal sex. (Lubricant is important because it helps make sure the condom doesn’t break during sex.)
- Use condoms or dams for oral sex.
- Use a new condom every time you switch between oral, anal or vaginal sex.
Remember; never stop using condoms unless you know for sure you and your partner don't have an STI. You can check by having an STI test. You will still need to protect yourselves from unplanned pregnancy using another form of contraception.
Are there sexual things I can do that are safe?
There are heaps of sexual activities that carry less risk of STIs. They include stroking, rubbing and mutual masturbation. Just because you're going out with someone, it doesn't mean you have to have penetrative (or insertive) sex.
But remember, some STIs like genital herpes and genital warts can be passed on through skin-to-skin contact (such as kissing and mutual masturbation).
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 3 days (72 hours) after sex 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, gonorrhoea 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 stop the condom from breaking.
It's essential to talk to your partner about using condoms – you are both responsible for staying safe. It can sometimes feel awkward to talk about using condoms, even if you know the other person well, but it's much better than the risk of not using one.
Condoms can be fun. They come in loads of shapes, sizes, types, flavours – like banana, apple, strawberry, chocolate and liquorice – and styles – like plain, dotted or ribbed. They don't cost much and are easy to carry around.