Is safe sex really safe? The truth about risk minimization
Everywhere you look there are posters urging you to have safe sex but what does it mean? Let’s face it: there is no safe sex!
Male condoms are 98% effective against pregnancy and female condoms are 95% but there are several STD’s against which condoms cannot protect you. Two failure situations of female condoms come about if the penis goes into the vagina on the outside of the condom or if the condom gets pushed into the vagina, thereby becoming useless. Some female condoms make distracting crinkling noises during sex.
Male condoms cover only the tip and shaft of the penis while many diseases can be transmitted by other intimate activities that may not even involve the penis. Chlamydia can go undetected for years and a person’s throat can be infected through oral sex. Herpes is transmitted by skin contact from one partner’s crotch to the other’s, so penetration is not even necessary. Hepatitis B can be caught by kissing an infected person. It attacks the liver and scars you for life.
Sex: pleasure or danger?
Common UTI situation occurs if the woman wipes herself from back to front, transferring fecal matter into her vaginal area. The next time she has sex, those bacteria get into her urinary tract. Since this infection shows up soon after having sex, the man usually gets blamed for giving her an infection. The solution is, ladies, for you to always wipe yourselves from front to back. Another simple precaution is to urinate after sex so that the urinary tract is flushed out in a natural way. Please note that there are few things more off-putting than a woman who jumps up immediately after sex to run to the washroom so wait for a few minutes before politely disengaging yourself.
Let’s talk about safer sex
Sex will never be entirely safe but then again, the most dangerous thing the average person can do is to cross the street and hundreds of people die every year from falling out of bed but life must go on and the urge to have sex is stronger than the fear of death so let’s be sensible and try to minimize the risk.
First thing you must do: You and your partner must get yourselves tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Yes, regardless of how faithful you have been for all these years, the fact is that many STDs including syphilis and chlamydia can lie undetected for a very long time so start from ground zero. Both of you should get tested today, then show each other the test results (this is a common courtesy).
Now for the safest sex
It sounds boring but monogamy is the safest way to enjoy sex life. Monogamy certainly does not feel normal for most men and there is no other animal that practices it but that is why humans are at the top of the food chain: We do things that make good sense. After many years (about three or four) monogamy tends to change into monotony but with some imagination, there is much that you can do to spice things up.
Next on the list is serial monogamy. You may have different partners but only one at a time and if you separate from one partner and meet someone new, before you to take your clothes off you should both get STD tests and show each other the results. This is a somewhat formal way of falling in love but it offers you such peace of mind!
For those more adventurous souls, there is Bigamy where you have two steady partners. Then there is polygamy where you have several steady partners.
If you want to have more than one partner it seems only fair that your partner(s) may also want to have other partners so that gets us into Polyamoury. There are many groups of people describing themselves as Polyamorous who swear that it is a very fulfilling way to live but keep in mind that your disease risk increases exponentially with every additional partner that you engage so that by the time you have three partners who each have three partners, the risk would be almost impossible to calculate. Life can become very difficult if some of your partners know about each other and don’t get along but then again, that might add to the adventure.
By far the most risky sex is the one night stand with a stranger or spontaneous sex where you find yourself alone with a stranger in an elevator and the two of you rip off each other’s clothes and get ‘down and dirty’ regardless of your partner waiting for you at home or your vows of celibacy or of those closed-circuit TV security cameras! Since you have no idea who this person is or what they do in their spare time (perhaps they have elevator sex regularly) your risk is astronomical. As soon as you get your clothes back on you should head on over to a clinic and get tested for STDs and you should abstain from sex for the next two weeks (until you get the results of the tests). Abstaining from sex for a fortnight may be awkward if you and your partner have usually sexed every other day, but think of how awkward it would be if you infected your partner with some weird disease!
So there you have it, the plain, naked truth.
If you do wear a male condom, remember that it only works if you put it on and please learn how to put it on properly. Some wise person once said that spontaneity requires a lot of preparation.
This article is written by licensed urologist Dr. Lorie G Fleck who is a highly qualified specialist. If you have any questions you can ask us through the feedback form and Dr. Lorie G Fleck will answer you within a working day. We care about every patient.