7 Must-do steps protecting yourself STDs
Anytime you are having sex, there is always the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Of course, the very best way to avoid this scenario is to remain abstinent. However, this is a choice very few people opt for and are willing to make.
Once you’ve made the decision to engage in a sexual relationship, you need to protect yourself and your partner from STDs. Contracting an STD can have devastating consequences from persistent infections, infertility, cancer and even death.
The best thing to do is to do the steps necessary to never contract an STD to begin with. Here are 7 best ways you can avoid an STD while still enjoying a satisfying love life:
1. Each and every time you have sex, practice safe sex
Safe sex can mean a number of different things to different people. It can mean not only being physically safe but also being emotionally safe. In regards to avoiding an STD, it means using a barrier method to prevent an unwanted pregnancy but also an STD. Men should be using a condom whenever having sex that involves intercourse, anal or vaginal. If you or your partner is already infected with an STD, be very consistent about barrier use. This includes oral sex which also should include barrier methods of condoms or dental dams. Barriers are not 100% STD proof but they are certainly better than nothing and can greatly reduce your risk.
2. Both you and your partner should be tested regularly
Whether or not you are at high risk for an STD, you and your partner should strongly consider being tested before entering a new sexual relationship. If you or your partner is at a high risk, you should be tested more frequently. If you or your partner is currently being treated for an STD, wait until done with treatment before resuming sexual activity. Otherwise, you would only be passing the infection back and forth to one another.
3. Have sex only in a mutually monogamous relationship
Think about it – if you and your partner are faithful to one another sexually, and neither of you have an STD, there is no opportunity to contract an STD. Better yet, if you always are consistent about practicing safe sex with your long-term partner, then you can feel more secure in avoiding an STD.
4. Do not drink or use drugs before sex
The ability to make responsible choices about your sex life requires you to have clear thinking. Making the choice to use drugs or alcohol will only impair your good judgement. When under the influence you are more likely to make a very bad decision to have sex with someone you barely know that could result in an STD. Have a plan beforehand to avoid sex and stick to that.
5. Limit Your Sexual Partners
Each sexual partner increases your risk of being exposed to an STD. Reduce your risk by limiting the number of people with whom you have sex. Be selective in choosing sexual partners. You might want to create a list of "needs" before engaging in sex. This list can include monogamy, dating for six months (or a period of time you see as reasonable), willingness to get tested, and willingness to use condoms. Limit your sexual partners to those who share your sexual values.
6. Don’t Rely on the Other Person for Protection
You are responsible for your health; therefore, you are responsible for your protection. Whether you are male or female, if there is a possibility of sex, you should have a condom with you. Don’t rely on the male to carry condoms. If neither of you have a condom, sex should wait until a time when you do have one.
7. Know the signs and symptoms of STDs
Be familiar with the various signs and symptoms of all STDs. Look for them in yourself and in your partner. Often if you ‘catch’ the STD at an early stage, you can be cured and avoid many of the health ramifications of them. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself.