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More than condoms - thinking and acting safe sex
What is Safer Sex?
It is all forms of sex that protect you against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Doesn't Sound Like Much Fun Really?
All of the following include safe sex.
• Cuddling, stroking and kissing
• Vaginal sex with a condom and a water-based gel such as KY Jelly
• Anal sex with a condom and a water-based gel
• Mutual masturbation
• Oral sex with a dam/Lollye (a thin square of latex which fits over the vagina or anus) or a condom covering the penis
SAFER SEX AND ALCOHOL DON'T MIX
Emily, 17: "I was at a party and there was this guy who kept going on an on about how he wanted to sleep with me. But he didn't have any condoms and neither did I, so I just told him it wasn't going to happen. Then I kept drinking and the next thing I know I wake up with him on top of me having a good time and I thought: You Prick!"
Alcohol and drugs are half the fun of going to a party. But it's important to know when you switch from "having fun" to "being out of it".
If you're too stoned or drunk to know what you are doing, you are putting yourself at risk…of having unsafe sex; of having sex when you didn't really want it or having sex when you definitely didn't want it, which is rape.
You could wake up with more than a hangover. You could wake up pregnant, with a sexually transmitted infection or just feeling rotten about yourself. It's not worth it.
• Decide how much you're going to have BEFORE you go out and stick to it
• Slow down the effects of drinking before you go out by having something to eat and drinking water, not alcohol, when you're thirsty
• Hang out with people you trust
• Agree with a friend beforehand to tell you when you're making a fool of yourself. Agree to do the same for your friend when they get off their face
• Do not stick with anyone if they're making you feel uncomfortable to pressuring you
• Say no at any time if you want to
• If you think you might end up having sex, take a condom
• Plan how you're going to get home. Don't just get into any car when it's time to leave.
*these suggestions come from an education kit called "Rethinking Drinking"
WHAT ABOUT INJECTING DRUG USE?
If you inject drugs you put yourself at risk of getting
• Hepatitis C
• Hepatitis B
If you share needles, syringes, swabs, spoons, filters, tourniquets, water or mix that has a used fit in it.
Injecting drugs is a risk so, if you want to use drugs how about trying:
• Swallowing, smoking or snorting the drug instead
If you are going to inject, make sure you
• Always use a new needles and syringe
• Never share needles even with your boyfriend or girlfriend
• Always use new and sterile equipment including swabs, water, mix, spoons, needles and syringes
• If you can't get a new needle and syringe, only re-use your own as bleach doesn't kill Hepatitis C. Get into the habit of rinsing your equipment with water straight after use as this is the best way to get rid of any blood
• Remember, just because you can't see any blood on a syringe, it doesn't mean that it is free of the virus
• Always wash your hands immediately before and after injecting yourself or anyone else
• Dispose of syringes and needles in a safe, disposable container.
Are tattoos and body piercing safe?
Always get a tattoo or piercing done at a licensed studio that uses disposable needles or sterilises the needles it reuses (in an autoclave, which heats the equipment to such a high temperature that it kills off any viruses).
It may seem odd, but you are at greatest risk of catching an infection from piercings done at home, using borrowed rings and studs.
While licensed tattoo and body piercing studios are expensive they are safe. Remember, you only want the tattoo for life not a disease.
WHAT'S ALL THIS STUFF ABOUT STIs?
Sexually transmitted infections are diseases that can be transmitted between people when they have vaginal, oral or anal sex. Other diseases such as herpes can also be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact.
You can have an STI:
• At any age
• And not know about it for months even years as you may be infected but have no symptoms
• And infect others without knowing it
• And become infertile if it remains untreated
• Even after the symptoms have been treated
• And, with the right treatment, often be completely cured.
If you have had sex and you start to experience the following symptoms see your doctor or Family Planning Victoria.
• Unusual vaginal bleeding
• A discharge (like snot) from the penis or vagina
• Sores, lumps or rashes around or on the penis, anus or vagina
• Burning feeling when you urinate
• Itching around the vagina, penis or anus.
Remember if you have had sex without a condom you may still be infected with an STI even though you have no symptoms. So go and see a doctor if you think you might be at risk.
It's no big deal - many STIs can be treated.
How Can I Protect Myself Against Getting an STI
Safe sex doesn't have to involve penetration either orally, vaginally or anally. There are other ways to have satisfying sex that is safe.
Try the Three Ms
• Mutual masturbation
• Masturbation while talking about sex
But even if you avoid penetration or you use a condom, it is still possible to pass on some infections such as genital warts just through skin-to-skin contact and oral herpes can be transmitted through kissing.
If you think you might be at risk of having a sexually transmitted infection see your doctor.
How Do I Get My Partner to Wear a Condom?
• That it will reduce his chances of infection
• If he won't wear a condom, then it's OK to try other types of sex such as masturbation
• If he wants to have vaginal, anal or even oral sex — then it's got to be with a condom
• Try using a female condom.