How To Protect Yourself From Sexually Transmitted Diseases
By Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D., About.com Guide
- Assess Your Risk
- Protect Yourself
- Choosing a Condom
- Talk the Talk
- Safer Sex Tips and Techniques
- Anal Sex 101
- Everyone Is At Risk
- Safer Sex and Teenagers
- Understanding the HPV Vaccine
- Myths and Misconceptions About Sex
- Issues in Prevention
Assess Your Risk
Why does it seem like some people are more at risk than others for acquiring an STD? Most of the time, it's because of behavior, but biology can also play a role. Understanding your risk factors can help you make your sex life safer.
- What is Sex? (And Why It Matters)
- Major Risk Factors For Acquiring a Sexually Transmitted Disease
- Calculating Your STD Risk Profile
- Does Circumcision Reduce The Risk of HIV?
- How Douching Increases Your Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Why Young Women are at Increased Risk of Cervical Infection
- How Infection With Other STDs Puts You At Increased Risk of Getting HIV
- Are You More Likely to Have Safe Sex When a Relationship Isn't Exclusive?
- What Is My HIV Risk From Anal Sex?
It's your responsibility to protect your own sexual health. That means not only practicing safer sex, but making smart decisions. What do you need to know to make good choices? Start with the basics below.
- Top 10 Ways To Avoid Getting an STD
- Do You Practice What You Preach When It Comes To Negotiating Safer Sex?
- Do You Have a Condom?
- Self Efficacy & Negotiating Condom Use
- Where to Find Free Condoms
- When Your Girlfriend Says She Hates Condoms
- Why Some Men Prefer the Female Condom
Choosing a Condom
Finding the right condom is not always easy. Most people are pretty happy using most products, but some individuals have trouble finding a condom that works for them. Whether it's because of latex allergies, penis size, or sensitivity to nonoxynol 9, some people have to do a bit of searching before they find the safer sex option that works best for them. Others just like experimenting with the range of options that are out there in order to add some variety to their safe sex life. Strawberry flavored lube, anyone?
- Before you Buy a Condom
- Condom Size Chart
- Review Your Favorite Condoms
- Latex Condoms
- Polyisoprene Condoms
- Polyisoprene & Latex Allergy
- Polyurethane Condoms
- Female Condoms
- Lubricated Condoms
- Unlubricated Condoms
- Spermicidal Condoms
- Colored Condoms
- Flavored Condoms
- Textured Condoms
- Vegan Condoms
- Skin Condoms (For Pregnancy Only)
- Fit Kit Condoms
- Novelty Condoms - Not For Use During Sex
Talk the Talk
Talking to your partner about sex can be really hard. Many people aren't sure of the best way to start conversations about safe sex, STD testing, and other issues around sex and sexuality. Here are some tools to help you get started.
- Things To Talk About Before Having Sex
- Reframe the Conversation: Safe Sex or No Sex
- Pre-Sex Checklist
- How to Talk About STD Testing
- Making Smarter Choices About Casual Sex
- How to Talk About Sex For The First Time With a New Partner
- How to Negotiate Using a Condom for Oral Sex (on a man)
- How to Negotiate Using a Dental Dam for Oral Sex (on a woman)
- User Stories : Talking About Sex
Safer Sex Tips and Techniques
It's all well and good to suggest that people practice safer sex, but how do you do that? Safer sex is a continuum of choices and actions. The first step is making intelligent decisions about your partners. After that, it all depends on what you want to do.
- The Mechanics of Safer Sex
- Condoms 101
- Reframing the Negotiation: Safe Sex or No Sex
- How to Use a Male Condom
- Image Gallery: How to Use a Male Condom
- How To Use a Female Condom
- Make Your Own Dental Dams
- Image Gallery: Making a Dental Dam from a Condom
- Oral Sex Isn't Safer Sex
- How To Choose a Condom for Oral Sex
- How To Put a Condom On With Your Mouth
- What To Do When a Woman Says She Hates Condoms
- Mutual Masturbation - A Safe Sex Option?
- Can Fingering Give You An STD?
- Can HPV Be Transmitted by Fingering or Fisting?
- How to Give a Safe Blow Job
- How to Go Down on a Woman Safely
- STDs that Spread By Skin-To-Skin Conact
Anal Sex 101
People aren't always willing to talk about it, but a reasonably large percentage of the population is quite fond of anal sex. There's nothing wrong with that, but anal sex brings up some unique biological concerns. In particular, since anal sex can carry a high level of STD risk, it is quite important to practice it safely.
- Why It's Important to Have Safe Anal Sex
- Anal STD Testing - Why It's Important
- The Anal Pap Smear
- What Is My HIV Risk From Anal Sex?
Everyone Is At Risk
Although there are factors that put some people at increased risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, the only people who are 100% safe from STDs are those who abstain from all forms of sexual contact. Young or old, white or black, straight or gay -- everyone is at risk of acquiring an STD.
- Safer Sex For Lesbians
- Users Discuss Coming Out To Their Doctors
- STDs & the Elderly
- The Low Down on the Down Low
- Is MRSA an STD?
- Rectal Chlamydia - An Unforseen Consequence of Anal Sex
- Teens and STDs
- The Risks of Receiving Oral Sex From a Sex Worker
Safer Sex and Teenagers
As much as many people would like to disbelieve it, many teenagers are choosing to have sex. Few, however, would disagree that if teens are going to choose to have sex, it's important for them to do so safely. For that, they need information.
- Top 10 Reasons To Support Comprehensive Sex Education
- Federal Guidelines for Abstinence Education
- Top 10 Reasons to Talk to Your Daughter About Sex While She's Still Young
- The Problem With Virginity Pledges
- Talking With Your Teens about Sex
- Why Young Women Are More Susceptible to Cervical Infection
- What Everyone Should Know About The Hymen
- Is Sex with a Virgin Automatically Safe?
- Is Dry Humping Safe?
- How Common is Oral Sex Amoung Teens?
- "If I'm a Virgin, How Can I Have an STD?"
Understanding the HPV Vaccine
The HPV Vaccine is probably the biggest piece of STD news since scientists figured out that AIDS was caused by a virus. Everywhere you look there are advertisements, news articles, and propaganda. How does it work? Is it safe? You can find the answers to all of your questions right here.
- Comparing Gardasil and Cervarix
- How does Gardasil work? Can the HPV vaccine give me cancer?
- Is Gardasil Safe?
- What is Cervarix?
- Should the HPV Vaccine Be Mandated in Schools?
- Pap Smear vs. HPV Test
- Men & the HPV Vaccine
- Does Gardasil Hurt?
- How Can You Get the HPV Vaccine if You're "Too Old"?
- User Stories: Experiences with the HPV Vaccine
Myths and Misconceptions About Sex
Because people aren't encouraged to have honest, sincere conversations about sex with doctors, teachers, and other people who are well-informed about the subject, it's easy to develop misconceptions about sex. Unfortunately, some of these sex myths can lead to people putting themselves at risk of an STD.
- Common Misconceptions About STD Risk
- Sex Myth: Oral Sex Isn't Sex
- Sex Myth: STDs are Transmitted Every Time an Infected Person Has Sex
- Sex Myth: I'd Know if I Had an STD
- Sex Myth: I Can Only Transmit Herpes When I Have Symptoms
- Sex Myth: It's The Man's Responsibility To Buy The Condoms
Issues in Prevention
Sexually transmitted disease prevention is a constantly evolving field. Every time science improves, sex advice changes to reflect it. Whether it is the introduction of new contraceptives, new treatments, or new vaccines, keeping up to date on the science of prevention is important for protecting your health.
- 10 Bad Habits People Learn By Watching Porn
- Suppressive Therapy To Prevent The Spread of Genital Herpes
- Are Some People More Genetically Resistant to HIV?
- Microbicides: The Next Great Hope For Prevention?
- Why N-9 Doesn't Make Sex Safer