(and a bit more you might be curious about)

Engaging in Safer Sex

If you decide that engaging in sexual activities is the right choice for you, it is important to practice safer sex because all forms of sexual activity contain some level of risk. Safe sex is defined as sexual activities that do not involve the exchange of semen, vaginal fluid, or blood between partners. A common way to prevent the exchange of bodily fluids during sexual activities is using barrier methods such as male (external) or female (internal) condoms. Remember, abstaining from sexual activities (oral, anal and vaginal sex) is the only way to guarantee that you will not get pregnant or contract an STD.

When used properly every time, barrier methods significantly reduce the risk of getting pregnant of contracting an STD. But it is highly recommended that you pair condom use with another form of birth control (the pill, implant, IUD, etc.) to have highly effective pregnancy prevention. You can explore birth control options here ( but you’ll also want to talk to your doctor about which method is the best choice for you.

Only engaging in sexual activities with one partner who has tested negative for STDs also reduces your risk.

Before engaging in any type of sexual activity with a partner it is important to talk to them about their sexual history and whether or not they have been tested for STDs. For tips on how to talk to your partner about condoms visit:

chelsea’s story

My boyfriend and I had used a condom. We had been careful. I hadn’t seen anything that looked like a sore or a rash. But when I couldn’t urinate without tears coming to my eyes from the intense pain, I knew something was very wrong.

I went to my mother in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep from the severe burning pain between my legs. The next morning, we rushed to the first available doctor’s appointment. Teary-eyed and embarrassed, I explained to the doctor that there was no way I could have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you use a condom, and you know your partner’s history, you can’t get an STD. Right?


When I spoke with my doctor about the results, she said I was tested for two strains of herpes—oral and genital. The kind I was infected with was the oral strain, so it was transmitted during oral sex. And even if my partner had no signs of a cold sore on his mouth, it was still possible for him to transmit oral herpes to my mouth or genitals.