Several things are sure to run through your mind when making the decision to have sex. But which ones are the most important? What do you absolutely need to do before you do anything? It is important to pay close attention to one of the biggest factors: keeping yourself safe by avoiding potential risks for a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
STDs, sometimes referred to as STIs, affect more than 12 million Americans each year. STDs can be transmitted through any type of sexual contact and it is important to understand your risks to keep yourself safe from infection. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when choosing to be sexually active:
-Communicate: It is important to be able to openly discuss potential sexual health risks with your partner. Having an open line of communication builds trust and allows you to learn about your partner’s sexual past, addressing anything that may be an issue when becoming sexually active.
-Get Tested: Several STDs have no noticeable symptoms, so it is easy to assume you are STD-free when you aren’t. The only sure way to find out is to get tested. If you or your partner feel uncomfortable getting tested, go together. This ensures that you are both safe and may give each other some comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
-Practice Safe Sex: Not only is it important to use a condom every time you are sexually active, it is also important to make sure it is used correctly. When used incorrectly, a condom can put you at risk for STDs, so make sure you or your partner are aware of its correct use.
-Avoid Being Sexually Active when Drugs/Alcohol are a Factor: When at a party, you’re bound to have a lot of influence around you. It is hard, if not impossible, to make smart decisions when choosing to be sexually active under the influence. Avoid potential risks to your sexual health by making these decisions with a clear head rather than in the moment.
-Always be Prepared: When heading out, it is always important to prepare yourself for potential sexual activity. Although a female may expect a male to worry about the protection, it’s important for both genders to take caution. Being prepared for any possible situation will help you keep the status of your sexual health in your own hands.
The decision to have sex is an important one, but even more important is the decision to stay safe. Keep these tips in mind to ensure you stay in good sexual health when being sexually active.