How To Practice Safe Sex
If you are sexually active, you need to be aware of the risk of contracting an STI or becoming pregnant. Thankfully, there are ways you can practice safe sex to avoid these two risks, but you need to plan ahead. Here are three ways you can protect yourself while enjoying romantic relationships.
1) Be Honest and Open About STIs
As you consider whether or not you are ready to have sex with your partner, make sure you have a conversation about STIs. If you know you have a condition, disclose it, and make sure they are honest with you, as well. Take necessary precautions if you know that there may be a risk of exposure and spreading an STI. If either of you does not know your status, get tested to know whether or not you could transmit an infection to each other.
2) Consider an HPV Vaccine
As long as you are age 26 or younger, you can get vaccinated against HPV, a common STI that can lead to cervical cancer. Talk to our women’s clinic about HPV vaccination or make an appointment with your regular medical doctor to discuss this option.
3) Consider Abstinence
The only way to entirely prevent pregnancy or STI transmission is to abstain from sex until you know you are ready and are with a trusted partner. If you choose this route, communicate early with your partners so they know what to expect and do not pressure you to do things you aren’t comfortable doing. When you are in a committed relationship, and both of you are ready to be monogamous, you can explore the idea of having sex. Keep in mind that you could become pregnant any time you have sex and do not use protection, so make sure you are ready to take on that responsibility.
If you find yourself with an unexpected pregnancy, Heartbeat of Toledo is here to help. Reach out to our counselors today to learn more about your options.