Safer sex means caring for your own health and your partner’s health

Safer sex also means doing things that reduce the risk of sexually transmissible infections (STI) or pregnancy. It also includes looking after your emotional health and making sure you feel comfortable with whom you have sex, and never feeling pressure to have sex.

How can you can stay safe?

  • Make sure that you are comfortable with the time, place and person for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about sex.
  • Using condoms is the only method of contraception that protects against both STIs and pregnancy.
  • Before having sex, talk with your partner and come to an agreement about using condoms. Remember, you have the right to say NO if your partner does not agree to use condoms.
  • If you are having unprotected sex, talk to your partner about the risks involved. Some STIs can be cured but some can’t (e.g. herpes), and you may not have any symptoms so won’t know if you have an STI.
  • Never have sex (even with a condom) if your partner has a visible sore, ulcer or lump on their genitals, anal area or mouth. Suggest they see a doctor.
  • STIs can be passed from one person to another by oral sex so you do need to use a condom if your mouth is in contact with your partner's penis. If your mouth is in contact with your partner’s anus or vulva, you need to use a dental dam (a thin latex square held over the vaginal or anal area during oral sex).
  • STIs can also be transmitted if you use sex toys. Use condoms and change the condom for each person using the toys. Wash the toys carefully after use and wash your hands after removing the condom.
  • Never re-use condoms or dental dams and always check the expiry date.