Practicing Safer Sex

Many pleasurable activities have risk factors, such as driving a car, eating red meat, and drinking a celebratory glass of wine. Sex, as with any activity, can bring you both pleasure and pain. Careless behaviors can easily tip the scales, causing more pain than pleasure. The smart driver wears a seat belt and drives within the speed limit; the wise meat eater balances his or her diet; the healthy drinker drinks only moderately and not before driving a car.

While learning to practice safer sex may seem more complicated than these other activities, safer behaviors can become a habit. Simple steps can be taken to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and STI's. While abstinence is the only way to assure 100% protection, this list can help you decide what steps you can take to live a healthier and safer life.

"Safer sex" practices suggested for reducing the risk of STI's:


  • Massages
  • Hugging
  • Kissing
  • Masturbation
  • Hand to gentital touching (hand job)
  • Mutual masturbation


  • Kissing (wet)
  • Vaginal/anal sex using latex condom (use spermicide for extra safety)
  • Oral sex on a man using a latex condom
  • Oral sex on a woman who does not have her period or a vaginal infection with discharge (use latex barrier for extra safety)


  • Any sex without a latex condom
  • Oral sex on a man without a latex condom
  • Oral sex on a woman during her period or a vaginal infection without a latex barrier
  • Oral-anal contact
  • Sharing sex toys or douching equipment
  • Blood contact of ANY kind, including menstrual blood, sharing needles, and any sex that causes tissue damage or bleeding.