11 Ways To Prevent STDs
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Health and Wellness

11 STD Precautions You Can Start Taking TODAY, For Safe Sex 100 Percent Of The Time

Sex can be safe and fun, not one or the other.

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11 STD Precautions You Can Start Taking TODAY, For Safe Sex 100 Percent Of The Time

It's 2020 and we're all trying to put our health first, mental and physical. Well, what about our sexual health? Since many people's sex education may have been insufficient, here are 11 precautions to take to prevent STDs.

1. Don't share towels or underclothing

As cute as it may seem at the time, sharing towels or underclothing (panties, boxers, etc.) can actually increase the likelihood of contracting an STD. While most STDs cannot survive outside the body for very long, there are a few exceptions. According to Planned Parenthood these include pubic lice, molluscum contagiosum, and scabies. It goes without saying that a similar risk is present when trying on swimsuits so make sure to wear underwear before trying one on and wash new swimsuits before wearing them for the first time!

2. Know your partner's status

It can be daunting and awkward to ask a partner what their status is, but once you've done it you'll be glad you did! You can always offer to get tested together if they're intimidated; this can bring you closer together as well as give you both the opportunity to make informed decisions about your health.

3. Use silicone or water-based lube

KY Jelly is truly a great invention since using it or other lubricants makes sex much more enjoyable for all parties involved. However, if you're using latex condoms you cannot use oil-based lube. According to Cornell University, only water or silicone-based lubricants are safe to use with both latex and non-latex condoms, whereas oil-based lubricants can degrade latex condoms and lead to the condom breaking, increasing your risk of falling pregnant or contracting an STD. Trust me on this one, nothing ruins the mood quite like finding a broken condom.

4. Get the Hepatitis B and HPV Vaccine

The CDC defines Hepatitis B as a viral liver infection that can spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, which includes sex. Hep B can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer so it should be taken seriously. HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most common STI in the United States, and the vaccine for it can help prevent the serious effects associated with the virus such as certain cancers and genital warts.

5. Use condoms every time

I'd like to think that this one goes without saying, but some people (my younger self included) still need reminding. Condoms are the only thing that will protect you from both pregnancy and STDs. Don't let anyone pressure you into having sex without a condom if you're uncomfortable with the idea. If they're really into you, the fact that they have to wear a condom will be inconsequential.

6. Only have sex when you're sober

This one makes so much sense — if you've had one too many then you'll be more likely to forget a condom, or you may have more high-risk sex than you would if you were sober. Deciding whether or not to have sex is an important decision, and it's one you should be clear-headed when making.

7. Take PrEP

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. This is a medication for people who do not have HIV, but at are high risk of contracting it. It's important to note that it must be taken consistently (every day) to be effective.

8. Wash before and after sex

While good hygiene is always a must, when it comes to having safer sex, washing your genitals before and after sex (as well as urinating) can prevent bacteria from entering the body. As an added bonus you'll smell extra fresh for your partner!

9. Know your status

If you don't, get tested! It can be scary to get tested — the possibility of finding out something you didn't intend for is always there. On the other hand, it is irresponsible to have sex with people without letting them know the risk you're putting them at. Better the devil you know than the one you don't.

10. Introduce toys to your playtime 

And use condoms on these too! For STDs like herpes that require skin-to-skin contact rather than a fluid exchange, this greatly reduces the risk of transmission between you and your partner while keeping things spicy!

11. Talk to your partners

The only way to be safe is to stop beating around the bush. We all need to be able to have open conversations about safer sex with our partners. And if your partner dismisses your concerns, they're probably not worth keeping around!

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