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Safe sex and condoms

Safe sex means not allowing your partner’s body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids) into your body and vice versa.

It also means covering or avoiding contact with, parts of the body that might be infectious (for example herpes sores, warts).

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections spread through sexual activity – vaginal, oral or anal.

Safe sex practices

Safe sex means not allowing your partner’s body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids) into your body and vice versa.

It also means covering or avoiding contact with, parts of the body that might be infectious (for example herpes sores or warts).

With some forms of sex, it is possible to avoid the transfer of body fluids for example massage and mutual masturbation (hand jobs).

Oral sex

Oral sex has a lower risk of transmitting most (but not all) STIs. If you have oral sex, you can reduce the risk of infection by following these guidelines:

  • use condoms - flavoured ones are available! 
  • dental dams
  • do not get semen or blood in your mouth
  • avoid oral sex if you have mouth ulcers or bleeding gums, do not brush your teeth immediately before oral sex
  • if you get cold sores, don’t give your partner oral sex when you have an outbreak (cold sores are caused by the herpes virus).

Using condoms

  • Use condoms that meet Australian and International Standards.
  • Check the use by date on the packet
  • Open the packet carefully

Be careful not to snag the condom with rings or fingernails. Check which way the condom unrolls but don’t unroll it before putting it on.

It is important to use the condom for the whole time you are having intercourse.

Where to get condoms from

Condoms are available from:

  • supermarkets and chemists
  • vending machines
  • Family Planning Association
  • Youth Services
  • Aboriginal Medical Service
  • AIDS Council

Tips to using on a condom

Put the condom on when the penis is hard and erect and before the penis comes into contact with the vagina or anus.

Squeeze the teat on the end of the condom between two fingers (this is to expel the air so there is room for the semen). Place the condom against the tip of the penis.

Gently unroll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis. If you don't get it on the first time, throw the condom away and start again.

Use a water soluble lubricant. This is essential for anal intercourse. Rub it on the outside of the condom. Lubricant makes intercourse more comfortable and helps prevent the condom breaking.

Some water based lubricants are – Wet Stuff, KY, Lubafax, Le Gel, Glyde and Muko.

The penis should be withdrawn immediately after ejaculation. Hold the rim of the condom to stop any spillage. Slip the condom off carefully.

You can only use a condom once. If you want to have sex again, put on a new condom. Don’t flush used condoms down the toilet. Wrap them in paper and put them in a bin.

Looking after condoms

Condoms that break put you at risk of catching an STD. They may be damaged by:

  • Heat: Keep condoms in a cool, dry place (not the glove box of a car).
  • Oil: Oil-based lubricants can cause condoms to perish. Never use baby oil, vaseline or petroleum jelly.
  • Teeth: Do not use your teeth to open the condom package. During oral sex, teeth may break the condom.
  • Friction: Always use a water-based lubricant to prevent condoms breaking.
  • Expiry date: Make sure the use by date has not expired.

The ‘other’ barrier for oral sex

Latex barriers or 'dental dams' are squares of ultra-thin latex that can be put over a partner’s vulva or anal area during oral sex. Some are thin and silky, and they come in a variety of flavours. Alternatively you can cut an unrolled condom to the tip and make a latex barrier.

For more information

For more information on how to practice safe sex, contact Clinic 275.

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