Safer sex means protecting the health of both you and of your sexual partner. This means preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.
You can decrease your chance of catching an STI by:
- choosing to have non-penetrative sex. Things like kissing, stroking and rubbing are safer options. BUT some STIs, like genital warts and genital herpes, can be passed on through skin-to-skin contact even without having sex
- for vaginal or anal sex, use condoms with water-based lubricant every time you have sex. (Lubricant is important because it helps make sure the condom doesn't break during sex.) For oral sex, use condoms or dams.
It’s a good idea to talk about using condoms, water-based lubricant and dams BEFORE you have sex, rather than waiting until you are caught up in the moment.
Remember, safer sex really starts right at the beginning – talking to your partner and being sure that you both want to have sex and are ready.
You don’t have to have sex if you don’t want to – you always have the right to say NO, at any time.