Enjoying Sex Safely

on . Posted in Men's Health

Download a copy of the SHFPACT Info Sheet 'Enjoying Sex Safely" here 

What is sex?
Sex can mean different things to different people. A better way to describe sex would be to say sexual activity, as sex can include a range of things. 

Here at SHFPACT we consider sex to include:

  • Penetration of the vulva/vagina or anus by another person using any part of the body or any object
  • Putting a penis into a mouth 
  • Putting a mouth onto a vulva
  • Any other sexual activity that may involve another person/ people like kissing and mutual masturbation

This info sheet is about how to do all of these sexual activities safely. 

Defining Safe Sex
Safe Sex is not just about taking care of your physical self, but also your emotional self.
At SHFPACT safe sex means –

  • Only have sex with consent
  • Feeling good about your decision
  • Preventing the transmission of sexually transmissible infections (STIs)
  • Preventing unplanned pregnancy 

Only having sex with consent
No matter what you include as sex if it involves another person, or people, everyone involved needs to give consent.

  • Consent is when someone communicates yes to something. This is best achieved by either saying yes or signing yes.
  • Sometimes people may send signals that might mean yes- these are times when we need to stop and check-in. Asking questions like “Are you ok with this?” or “Do you want to stop?” or “Do you want to go further?” can help to clarify consent in a situation.
  • If a person does not respond – they are not giving consent and things need to stop.
  • If a person communicates no – they are not giving consent and things need to stop.
  • If a person is very drunk or under the influence of drugs they are not able to give consent.

Consent

  • needs to be given in every sexual encounter – every time. Even if it has been done before.  
  • in every relationship – no matter how long you have been together or how long you plan to stay together.
  • may be taken back at any time– its ok to change your mind
  • is an important part of respecting the person/ people you are with and their sexual rights (and yours as well)

For more information about consent –

Feeling good about your decision
Sex should be a positive, pleasurable experience.

Sometimes we can feel all sorts of pressures to have sex and while we may say yes and mean it, its also important to feel good about that decision.

Things that help us to make good decisions include:

  • Talking with the person/ people you are about to have sex with – what are they expecting? What are you expecting? What do you like? What do they like? Etc. 
  • Being drunk and/ or under the influence of other drugs can impair our ability to make good decisions. Think about how you could make sure you’re not put in a situation where you will need to make a decision in this state or what you can do to increase your chances of making a better one.
  • Be honest – with yourself and the person/people you are with. Everyone has a line and only you will know how you feel if you cross it.
  • Get the info you need – think about where you can go to get more information on safe sex or who you can talk to about it.

For more information on making good decisions see the following:

Preventing the transmission of Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs)
STIS are transmitted from one person to another through skin to skin contact and through body fluid exchange.
These being:

  • Semen
  • Vaginal fluid
  • Blood
  • Saliva

To prevent transmission a barrier form of contraception needs to be used. These include

  • The male condom
  • The female condom
  • Dams (a very fine latex sheet that can be placed over the vulva or anal area during oral sex)

Many STIs have no symptoms.
Regular STI testing can also help decrease transmission and help maintain your health for the long term. STIs do not go away without treatment and can have serious health consequences including infertility, illness and even death. Testing can be done at sexual health clinics or your GP.

For more information on STI transmission and testing:

Preventing unplanned pregnancy

Pregnancy happens when a sperm and an egg meet and fertilisation occurs. Pregnancy can occur even with one act of sex, even if it’s your first time, during your period and even if the male withdraws his penis from the vagina before he ejaculates (cums)

Contraception is used to prevent pregnancy

The methods of contraception available include:

  • Barrier methods-inlcuding the male or female condom (condoms also protect you from STIS, as discussed above)
  • Hormonal methods such as the pill; the contraceptive injection; and the contraceptive implant (the rod)
  • Intra unterine devices (IUDs) 

For more information about hormonal contraception or IUDs and which method might suit you, you will need to speak with a GP or with a doctor at a family planning clinic.

Emergency contraception 
If a female has had unprotected sex (sex without a condom and with no other contraception), use emergency contraception (EC or the ‘morning after pill’) can be used to reduce the risk of pregnancy. This needs to be taken within 4  days of the sexual activity. The sooner you take it the better because its effectiveness decreases over time. You can get EC over the counter at most pharmacies, , from sexual health clinics, family planning clinics and from the Walk in Centres

For more information on contraception:

Make an appointment or talk to us today!

Call 6247 3077 during business hours Monday to Friday.

For urgent concerns where SHFPACT is unable to respond in the time required please see your GP or the Walk-in Clinic at the Canberra Hospital, or call HealthDirect on 1800 022 222. For assistance in an emergency please call 000 or 112 (digital mobile phone) or 106 (TTY, text based emergency number).

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