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This part of the site focuses on the basics of safer sex, and on how to make whatever precautions you choose feel as pleasurable as possible. Safer sex precautions are obviously not necessary when neither you nor your partner(s) have anything you could transmit to each other (and will be completely safe in your interactions with anyone else during the course of your relationship, and when birth control is not an issue, etc.), but in all other cases your peace of mind can be enhanced by making your own choices about safer sex ahead of time and sticking to them.

Remember, safer sex is about dramatic risk reduction against the most serious sexually-transmitted ailments, not complete risk elimination for every possible condition.

The single most effective thing you can do to stay healthy while being sexually active is to use latex condoms for intercourse (whether vaginal or anal). When you put on a condom, pinch its tip as you unroll it to prevent an air bubble from forming in the reservoir tip. For intercourse, you should then put some water-based lube on the outside of the condom for comfort, mutual pleasure, and to keep the condom from tearing during sex. Note that some men find that more sensation is transmitted to them if they put a drop or two of water-based lube INSIDE the tip of their condom before putting it on. Also, it's very important for men to hold onto the base of their condom as they withdraw (i.e. after becoming soft) so it doesn't slip off.

If a condom fails during vaginal or anal intercourse, the receptive partner shouldn't douche; if any Nonoxynol-9 contraceptive foam is handy it MIGHT help for him or her to insert it and leave it in for about 15 minutes, and it would certainly help to immediately remove the condom from inside the vagina or anus if it was left there.

It should be obvious that a new condom needs to be used for each new partner, and that condoms should not be reused. Also, if you're going to switch from anal intercourse to vaginal intercourse, you should put on a new condom to avoid causing vaginal infections.

Opinions differ on the use of safer-sex barriers for oral sex. It's clear that herpes can be transmitted from genitals to mouth or mouth to genitals during unprotected oral sex, but some people feel the risk is acceptably low outside of the most infectious period (which starts with the tingling "prodrome" sensations that precede an outbreak, and continues until several weeks after the sores go away). It is possible to pick up a bacterial infection of the mouth or throat by going down on someone who currently has a bacterial STD (typically Gonorrhea, more rarely Syphillis or Chlamydia), but these can usually be cured with antibiotics once they're identified.

It is clear that the risk of transmitting HIV is much, MUCH lower for unprotected oral sex than for unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, and that the risk is MUCH lower for the person being sucked or licked than for the person doing the sucking or licking. For the person doing the sucking or licking, the risk of transmission is lower if your gums (and lips/mouth/throat) are healthy, if you don't let men come in your mouth, and if you don't perform cunnilingus on a woman while she is menstruating.

Some sex educators recommend NOT flossing or brushing your teeth for an hour before giving unprotected oral sex (use Cool Mint Listerine or some other anti-bacterial mouthwash if you're concerned about bad breath or just want to freshen up), and others recommend quickly looking over the genitals you're about to go down on for obvious signs of contagious STDs (including genital warts, which can on rare occasion be transmitted from genitals to mouth). If your policy for performing unprotected fellatio is to not let your partner come in your mouth and he does so anyway, it's better to immediately spit than to either wait or swallow, and it may help (especially for bacterial STDs) to then go use an anti-bacterial or peroxide mouthwash. Pre-cum can contain HIV, and although not letting men come in your mouth SIGNIFICANTLY reduces your already low risk to even lower levels, if you are concerned about becoming infected via pre-cum while performing fellatio you have two risk-reduction options: not taking the head of his penis in your mouth or using barriers for oral sex.

We hope you enjoyed our 'Safe Sex and Swinging' page and that it met up to your expectation.