Let’s start with the obvious basics. Protect yourself. Use condoms, keep up on your birth control, get an IUD, use Plan B if you have to, etc. Make sure you know what birth control methods work for you and your life style. Talk to a doctor if you have to. But remember, condoms are the only thing that have a shot at protecting against STIs.
Please make sure you are using your condoms right. Take two seconds to check the expiration date. Figure out which way it unrolls, so you aren’t flipping it over – you’re supposed to throw it out and grab a new one if you try to put it on backwards. Don’t use oil based lube, this will chew through your condom.
Get checkups as needed. Talk to your doctor about how often you should be getting tested. And don’t be afraid to talk to a medical professional if you think something might be wrong. Also familiarize yourself with all the available resources. Look for your local sexual health centres.
Now, safe sex is more than just preventing pregnancies and STIs. There are other ways you need to take care of yourself.
Healthy communication is necessary for a good sexual experience. Whether you are with a long term partner, or it’s a one-time deal. Make sure you communicate your needs, wants, likes, what you are and are not comfortable with, and what is off limits. Come up with a safe word if necessary. This not only ensures safety, but it also means you will have a better time over all knowing just what each other needs to have a good time. Why spend the time having sex if it isn’t going to be as good as it can be?
Party responsibly. It’s an unfortunate reality that bad things can happen when we are intoxicated. Buddy system. Try not to go to parties or out to the club by yourself. And if you do go alone, make sure that you tell someone where you are going. Unwanted situations are less likely to occur when you are prepared. And obviously, never drink and drive, you can’t have sex if you die in a car crash.
Your mental health is important too, and just as much a part of sex as your physical health. If your head isn’t in the game, it’s not going to be a good time.
Sex is only a stress reliever if it is not stressful. Do not do anything you do not want to do. Do not let anyone, friends or potential partners, tell you what to do. Do not let anyone make you feel bad about your choices. Whether you sleep with a new partner every night, or you are saving yourself for someone special, there is no right or wrong way to have sex. It sounds like common sense, but we tend to forget this.
The best sex happens when you are relaxed. If you are stressed out, you might not be able to get off, sex might be painful, and you might not perform as well as you want to.
Take the time to educate yourself. If you have questions about anything, for example “I have a really hard time getting aroused” or “I can’t orgasm without getting my hair pulled, is that normal?” don’t be afraid to seek answers. You’ll probably be surprised at how many people are the exact same way. Knowing you have no reason to worry will help you have a better time during sex.