Let's Talk About Sex Baby: Practicing Safe Sex
Well if this isn't a taboo subject, but then again I'm a taboo busting babe!
Let's explore the basics and the not so basics so you can be educated, informed and safe.
Many of you don't know this but many moons ago I worked at a local reproductive healthy clinic and one of my jobs to educate women, men and teens on safe sex. i loved being about to talk to people to answer "the embarrassing" questions they had.
Let's start with the basic, shall we?
What is safe sex?
Safe sex is a combination of practices you can do to prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These practices help to decrease or prevent the exchange of body fluids during sexual contact. Body fluids include saliva, urine, blood, vaginal fluids, and semen. All types of sex can cause STIs. This includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
While people believe that "intercourse" in only vaginal it is NOT. Intercourse is anytime any portal on your body is: a) penetrated or b) comes in contact with body fluids. You can catch a STI during oral sex, vaginal sex and anal sex.
What are the different types of STD/STI's?
Some of the most common STDs include HPV, chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. The four STDs that are incurable are HPV, HIV, herpes, and hepatitis.
While some STI's are curable, some are not. Some will be in your body forever, and you will be able to transmit them to anyone you have sex with. It is also important to mention that some STI's lie dormant in your body for YEARS without surfacing and them one day.....BAM!!
See the graphics below to learn more:
I am including a great graphic of symptoms I have found.
How are STI tests performed?
Depending on your sexual history, your doctor may order a variety of tests to check you for STIs, including blood tests, urine tests, swabs, or physical exams .Blood and urine tests
Most STIs can be tested for using urine or blood samples. Your doctor can order urine or blood tests to check for:
In some cases, urine and blood tests aren’t as accurate as other forms of testing. It may also take a month or longer after being exposed to certain STIs for blood tests to be reliable. If HIV is contracted, for example, it can take a couple of weeks to a few months for tests to detect the infection.
Swabs Many doctors use vaginal, cervical, or urethral swabs to check for STIs. If you’re female, they can use a cotton applicator to take vaginal and cervical swabs during a pelvic exam. If you’re male or female, they can take urethral swabs by inserting a cotton applicator into your urethra. If you have anal sex, they may also take a rectal swab to check for infectious organisms in your rectum.
Pap smears and HPV testing Strictly speaking, a Pap smear isn’t an STI test. A Pap smear is a test that looks for early signs of cervical or anal cancer. Women with persistent HPV infections, particularly infections by HPV-16 and HPV-18, are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. Women and men who engage in anal sex can also develop anal cancer from HPV infections.
A normal Pap smear result says nothing about whether or not you have an STI. To check for HPV, your doctor will order a separate HPV test.
An abnormal Pap smear result doesn’t necessarily mean that you have, or will get, cervical or anal cancer. Many abnormal Pap smears resolve without treatment. If you have an abnormal Pap smear, your doctor may recommend HPV testing. If the HPV test is negative, it’s unlikely that you’ll develop cervical or anal cancer in the near future.
HPV tests alone aren’t very useful for predicting cancer. About 14 million AmericansTrusted Source contract HPV each year, and most sexually active people will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Most of those people never develop cervical or anal cancer.
Physical examination Some STIs, such as herpes and genital warts, can be diagnosed through a combination of physical examination and other tests. Your doctor can conduct a physical exam to look for sores, bumps, and other signs of STIs. They can also take samples from any questionable areas to send to a laboratory for testing. It’s important to let your doctor know if you’ve noticed any changes on or around your genitals. If you engage in anal sex, you should also let them know about any changes on or around your anus and rectum.
STIs are common, and testing is widely available. The tests can vary, depending on which STIs your doctor is checking for. Talk to your doctor about your sexual history and ask which tests you should get. They can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of different STI tests. They can also recommend appropriate treatment options if you test positive for any STIs.
It is recommended that you get tested annually or with each new partner (preferable before you have intercourse). You're doctor generally will not just offer these test to you, you will have to ask for them, all of them!
During my time working with young people, I would tell them "you have to treat each new partner as if they have every STI known to man, you have to protect yourself."
They may not even know they have an STD men are more likely to be asymptomatic. Sure it would be a lot simpler if everyone walked around with a big blinking sign above their heads displaying their status but they don't. .
How do I practice safe sex?
*according to Safe Sex - What You Need to Know (drugs.com)
Talk to your partner before you have sex. Ask about his or her sexual history and any current or past STI.
Use condoms and barrier methods for all types of sexual contact. Use a new condom or latex barrier each time you have sex. This includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Make sure that the condom fits and is put on correctly. Rubber latex sheets or dental dams can be used for oral sex. Ask your healthcare provider how to use these items and where to purchase them. If you are allergic to latex, use a nonlatex product such as polyurethane.
Limit your number of sexual partners. More than one sex partner can increase your risk for an STI. Do not have sex with anyone whose sexual history you do not know.
Do not do activities that can pass germs. Do not use saliva as a lubricant or share sex toys.
Tell your sex partner if you have an STI. Your partner may need to be tested and treated. Do not have sex while you are being treated for an STI, or with a partner who is being treated.
Get tested regularly for STIs. Get tested if you have had sexual contact with someone who has an STI. Get tested if you have unprotected sex with any new partner.
Get vaccinated. Vaccines may help to lower your risk for an STI such as HPV, hepatitis A, or hepatitis B. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on vaccines.
How else can I practice safe sex?
Only use water-based lubricants during sex. Water-based lubricants may prevent sores or cuts in the vagina or penis. Prevent sores or cuts to decrease your risk for an STI. Do not use oil-based lubricants, such as baby oil or hand lotion, with latex condoms or barriers. These will weaken the latex and may cause it to break.
Do not use chemical irritants on condoms or genitals. Products that contain chemical irritants, such as spermicides, can irritate the lining of your vagina or rectum. Irritation may cause sores that may increase your risk for an STI.
Be careful when you have sex if you have open sores or cuts. Open sores or cuts may increase your risk for an STI. This includes new piercings and tattoos. Keep all open sores or cuts covered during sex. Do not have oral sex if you have cuts or sores in your mouth. Ask your healthcare provider when it is safe to have sex after you get a tattoo or piercing.
Do not use alcohol or drugs before sex. These substances can prevent you from thinking clearly and increase your risk for unsafe sex.
It is also note worthy to mention you can contract untreatable STD's through shared needles and nasal straws.
WHERE CAN YOU GET TESTED?
There are many places you can be tested. Such as:
Your Doctor's office
Your local public health department
When should I seek immediate care?
A condom breaks, leaks, or slips off while you are having sex.
You notice sores on your penis, vagina, anal area, or the skin around them.
You have had unsafe sex and want to discuss emergency contraception or treatment for STI exposure.
If there is a piece of advice that I can leave you with is this: Protect yourself because in the heat of the moment all logic goes out of the window. Tape a condom to your stomach so you and your partner don't forget to use it. And if they tell you "I can't feel it when I use a condom" you need to remember what you're going to "feel" like when you contract HIV.
If you need someone to talk to that is confidential and informed set up a FREE call with me @ https://GinaLusardiRelationshipStylist.as.me/