Safer Sex Options

Safer sex refers to practices that reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and/or unintended pregnancy. Couple things:

  • We say “safer” instead of “safe” because there’s never zero risk, but we can manage risk with different strategies.
  • Safer sex is not as easy as “Just do this” or “Don’t do that.” We believe in having a list of options so that people can do what’s most relevant to them.

Ongoing practices:

  • Testing - Some of us get tested regularly, every 3 or 6 months, and some of us get tested before each new partner. See the testing section for more detailed information and how to choose a routine that makes sense for you.
  • Communication - Talking about getting tested, STI status, preferences for barriers, etc.
  • Safer substance use - Some of us drink or use drugs, and might not make the same decisions when we are drunk/high as when we’re sober. If we’re partying and aren’t sure if we’ll be having sex, we might bring barriers and lube just in case. Some people keep track of their drinks by writing a tally on their arm, and don’t try new substances, or mix, unless we’re with friends and feel safe. Or, we stick with a buddy and keep an eye out for one another.
    • Remember: a person who is drunk or high can’t give consent.

In the moment:

  • Condoms - either external (worn on the penis/strapless) or internal (worn inside the vagina/fronthole). They are a barrier between one person’s fluids and another person’s mucous membrane. They prevent against STI transmission and also unintended pregnancy.
  • Lube - makes things wetter so things are smoother! There are 2 reasons to use lube
    1. because it feels good! Lube can increase sensation and help transform friction into pleasure!
    2. it decreases the chance of a condom breaking, and also reduces the risk of irritation to mucous membranes.
  • Dams - these are a thin, stretchy, silky smooth, rectangular sheet of latex used for oral sex on a person who has a vulva and for oral-anal contact. The barrier prevents STI transmission from mouth to genitals, or from genital to mouth/throat.
    • If you have a latex allergy, don’t like the scented dams, or just want to try it out, you can cut a condom into a dam.
      • Remove the condom from the wrapper, leave it rolled.
      • Using scissors, carefully cut the tip off the condom.
      • Cut the rolled up condom.
      • Unroll it - you will have a rectangle barrier for sexy funtimes