Menstuff® has compiled information on the issue of Safer Sex.
Reason to Wear a Condom
Related issues: Talking
With Kids About Tough Issues, Abortion,
Vaginosis, Blue Balls,
Genital Herpes, Genital
Warts, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis
Men & Abortion,
Nongonococcal Urethritis, Pelvic
Inflammatory Disease, Reproduction,
Safer Sex, STDS,
What does "safer sex" mean? It means being smart and staying healthy. It means showing love, concern and respect for your partner and yourself. Safer sex means enjoying sex to the fullest without transmitting, or acquiring, sexually related infections.
There are many sexually transmissible diseases. All of these are caused by microorganisms which travel from one person to another during particular sexual activities. On this web site we deal with the major infections related to sexual activity and suggest effective ways to reduce your risk for those diseases.
Safer sex goes not have to mean eliminating sexual passion and intimacy from your life. Safer sex means reducing the chance of becoming infected. For individuals who decide to engage in sexual intercourse, reducing the risk of infection means using latex barriers every time you have intercourse, anal sex, fellatio or cunnilingus.
If you do not have anal, oral or vaginal intercourse, and if you never share needles, you have almost no risk of infection. You can greatly reduce your chance of acquiring infection through sexual intercourse by knowing and practicing safer sex. Saliva, sweat, tears and urine do not transmit HIV, but semen, blood and vaginal/cervical secretions may. Sexual activities that include no direct contact with your partner's semen, blood, or vaginal/cervical secretions are safe. Activities that do involve direct contact are risky. Precautions that reduce the chance of direct contact with those fluids will make sex safer:
Talking: can make every other sexual activity safer. Talking helps you get to know your partner better, contributes to sexual please, and provides an opportunity to negotiate safer sexual practices. However, talking alone will not protect you from infection.
Fantasy: The brain creates images and finds words to arouse, delight and satisfy. Imagination and creativity add richness to sexual experience.
Lubricants are important because they reduce the chance that condoms will break during vaginal or anal intercourse. Remember: you can never use too much lubricant and always use water-based lubricants, like KY Jelly. Some lubricants (including contraceptive gels and form) contain nonoxynol-9, a spermicidal that provides additional protection against HIV. Oil-based lubricants may cause the latex in condoms to weaker and tear, so avoid any oil- or petroleum-based lubricant, lotion, or cream (such as Vaseline, hand and body moisturizers, booking oils, or shortening).
Alcohol and other recreational drugs do not cause HIV infection or other sexually transmissible diseases. However, alcohol and drugs are often major factors wen people have unsafe sex. Safer sex is smart, health, sober sex. Safer sex takes some planning, thinking, and negotiating. Alcohol and drugs can impair your judgment, short-circuit your thinking, and limit your ability to communicate effectively. Alcohol and drugs may also make you clumsy and careless in using condoms and lubricants.
Alcohol and some other recreational drugs (including cocaine, marijuana, and "designer drugs") may damage the immune system itself - making you more susceptible to infectious diseases in general.
It's important to keep alcohol and drugs out of sexual
experiences. Learning skills to do this is a key part of
preparing for safer sex. If alcohol or drugs frequently seem
to be a part of your sexual life, seek counseling so you can
find ways to change this pattern. And if alcohol or drug
have become problems for you, counseling can direct you to
Below is a list of safer sex factsheets available on this site, provided by the New Mexico AIDS InfoNet. Each factsheet contains valuable information about preventing STDs and HIV. Bookmark this page, as it will be updated regularly with new info and more factsheets about safer sex.
Factsheet 150 : Stopping the spread of HIV. How HIV infection is transmitted and how you can protect yourself and others from HIV infection.
Factsheet 151 : Safer sex guidelines. How to reduce the risk of HIV infection during sexual activity.
Factsheet 152 : How risky is it? A discussion of the risk of transmitting HIV through various types of sexual activity. Factors that increase the risk of transmission.
Factsheet 153 : Condoms. Discussion of the use of condoms for HIV prevention, including the female condom and the spermicide nonoxynol-9. Condom myths and realities.
156 v: Post-exposure prophylaxis. Post-exposure
prophylaxis (PEP) is treatment after exposure to HIV. It is
intended to prevent HIV infection. PEP is available for
workplace exposure to HIV and is being studied for
This is a tricky question. Statistics show that those who sign a pledge actually have a higher STD rate than those who don't. The problem arises in two areas.
1. Too often individuals who sign the pledge have the best intentions so they don't learn any more about safe sex.
2. Many of these people break the pledge in the heat of the moment and are unknowledgable or unprepared to protect themselves and acquire an STD in many of these circumstances.
We support those who choose to sign a pledge of
abstinence. We don't support programs, however, that want to
keep them in the dark about sex, safe sex, and sexually
transmitted diseases. The odds just aren't that good.
Under Texas law, if you sell or own six items that are used to stimulate the human genitalia, you're guilty of breaking a 25-year-old state obscenity law that prohibits selling a device used "primarily for stimulation of the human genital organs." This law includes condoms, so forget about a six-pack. What ever happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? And, the state of Texas is actually using undercover cops to arrest people. If convicted, a person could go to jail for up to a year and be fined up to $4,000.
And, Texas isn't the only state to carry this kind of law on its books. Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana and Georgia also prohibit the sale of devices primarily used to stimulate the genitals. Kansas and Louisiana, like Texas, go so far as to specifically ban the sale of dildos and artificial vaginas. Other states, like Indiana, prohibit the sale of obscene devices. But their laws are vague, not specifying devices used for sexual purposes, which allows each community's standards to define what exactly is considered obscene.
Recent cases that challenged the constitutionality of
these laws in Louisiana and Alabama could offer some hope.
The Louisiana State Supreme Court struck down the law as
unconstitutional in 2000 (citing the statue's lack of
exemptions), but the law remains on the books, relatively
untouched. And, in 2002, a Federal District Court in Alabama
ruled that the state's ban was unconstitutional because it
violated "users' fundamental right to employ sexual devices
within their private, adult, consensual, sexual
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