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safe and healthy

take control.
Use protection.
Demand protection.

If you have sex, using dental dams and condoms shows respect and responsibility.

Use a new condom every time. Make sure you know how to use male condoms and female condoms.

safer sex tip 1
Limit Partners
Having a greater number of partners increases the chance that you'll get or give a disease, so it's healthier to limit your number of partners.
safer sex tip 2
Don't DWI in the Bedroom
Doing it while intoxicated - drunk or high - can make you more willing to do things you wouldn't do sober. And when you're sober, you'll have to deal with the consequences. To take control and to stay in control: don't mix sex with drugs or alcohol.
safer sex tip 3
Avoid Sores
Don't have sex or even fool around if you or your partner has a sore on the genitals (scrotum, penis, vulva, vagina, anus).
safer sex tip 4
Know What To Do if Something Goes Wrong
If the condom broke and you needed emergency contraception, if you found out you had an STDs and HIV, or if you became pregnant or got someone pregnant, do you know who to go to for help? Is there an adult you trust who could help you? You might want to think about this ahead of time.

You can also get help from health professionals: See Getting Services in NYS. Teens can find free and confidential sexual health care in New York State, ahead of time and when something goes wrong.

To be prepared, talk to your partner about condoms.

Safer Sex: The Basics

Safer Sex

What is Safer Sex?

Safer sex is a way to protect yourself and your partner from the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV and unplanned pregnancy.

Even though a lot of people say "safe sex" instead of "safer sex," there is no kind of skin-to-skin sex contact with a partner that is totally risk-free. But being "safer" is something all of us can do. The only way to be 100% safe from STDs, HIV and unplanned pregnancy is to not have sex.

If you're having sex, safer sex means anything that helps you both avoid each other's body fluids. Body fluids include semen and fluids from the vagina. These fluids can pass an STD from one person to another. Also, HIV can be passed by blood and breast milk.

The good news is that latex or polyurethane condoms and dental dams are very effective for safer sex when you use them every time and use them correctly.

Safer Sex and STDs/HIV

Safer sex helps to protect you and your partner from STDs and HIV. To understand safer sex, it helps to know how STDs and HIV can get passed from one person to another.
  • Any kind of sex that involves body fluids such as semen or fluids from the vagina can pass an STD from one person to another.
  • Blood is another body fluid to look out for, including menstrual (period) blood and any small or accidental cuts or sores.
If one person has an STD, it can pass to another person through the anus, vagina or mouth, or through cuts and sores on the skin.
Safer Sex

Safer Sex and Condoms

It only takes one time to catch an STD, so use a new condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex. Condoms are a great option for oral sex on the penis too. Be sure you know how to use male condoms.

Safer Sex and Dental Dams

A dental dam is a latex or plastic square or rectangle that is placed over the vulva (the opening of the vagina, the vaginal "lips" and the clitoris, which is the part most sensitive to touch) or anus during oral sex. Using a new dental dam is the key to safer oral sex on the vulva or anus.

Safer Sex and Toys

Using sex toys? Keep them clean by washing in warm soapy water after each use. We know you've been told differently, but in this case, don't share your toys! They can pass infected body fluids.

Show Your Love

There are many ways to show you care that don't involve sex at all: walks, talks, dancing, catching a movie together, etc. Be creative. Enjoy each other's company. Safer Sex

Know Your Health Status

If you've ever had unprotected sex - sex without a condom, or sex when the condom broke - even once, you could have been exposed to STDs and HIV. STDs and HIV may have no symptoms at first, so you can't tell if you or anyone else has an STD/HIV unless you get tested. You or your partner could be spreading an STD/HIV without knowing it, so Get Tested - Get Treated: check on your STD and HIV status regularly.

Know your partner's status too. TeensHealth can help you plan for Talking to Your Partner About STDs.


Take care of yourself and be responsible to your partners.
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