Safe Sex

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The term safe sex gets thrown around a lot and is used loosely and misunderstood in today’s society. Most people hear safe sex and think only about pregnancy prevention. Full disclosure, that was me in my twenties. Since I was in a committed long-term relationship, my biggest concern was pregnancy. But safe sex is more than just preventing a mini-me.

Teen pregnancies are decreasing over the last several years, but STD rates are increasing. So good job on preventing those babies, but now you have to deal with that syphilis. Here are some options to prevent both babies and those dreaded diseases:

The book "<a href="http://boyopress.com/protect-yourself/" target="_blank">Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II</a>" by Ryan Mungia looks back at the posters designed to discourage military members from putting themselves at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases during World War II.

  1. Abstinence. Not only for the ultra-conservative, religious type. Avoiding sex will also avoid all the possible effects of it. Treat your body like a temple, and keep the gate closed until you’re ready. But you may get lonely/bored of masturbation. I made it 23 years living the life of abstinence, and turned out okay (sorta).
  2. Physical Protection. I.e. condoms or diaphragms. Condoms are one-time use and are about 98% effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs when used correctly and ALL THE TIME. While they aren’t 100%, 98% is better than zero. Diaphragms are a little different. They are reusable for up to 2 years but shouldn’t be worn for more than 24 hours at a time. The nice part about them is that you can insert them prior to sex and not worry about it until later on. The only thing is they don’t protect against STIs, only pregnancy. So if you use a diaphragm, you have to use another form of protection to protect against STIs. They are 88% effective against pregnancy with typical use, which means that extra protection wouldn’t be a bad idea to get that percentage higher.
  3. Hormonal Protection. I.e. birth control pill. Birth control is just that: it protects you against pregnancy but does nothing against those diseases. They are about 91% effective with typical use, as long as you take them every day around the same time. Miss a dose? You better have a backup plan! I was on birth control for about ten years through my twenties, at first to control my cycle, then mainly to prevent pregnancy. For me, it was 100% effective. #kidfree
  4. Family planning. So, normally people will track their ovulations when planning to have a baby. But I have taken this to the next level and actually track my ovulations to plan to not become pregnant. I now generally know when I will ovulate and I’m sure to avoid sex for the days surrounding my ovulation (5 days before and a day after). This adds to the other forms of protection I’m using, and together it is basically 100% protection against pregnancy.

As you can see, the best way to prevent disease is abstinence. But for those of us who aren’t nuns, using a condom correctly is the next best option. Another option is to just to stick to foreplay and oral sex. No matter what, be sure to not sleep with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, discharge, or other symptoms. Hygiene is important: wash up before and after sex! Also, get a Hepatits B vaccine.

How do you prevent pregnancy? And STDs? Do you feel awkward yet? Do you hate condoms as much as I do? Share your thoughts below.

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