You, Me and STDs: How to Prevent Transmission

As a sexually active individual, it’s important for you to make safe choices in the bedroom with your partner. Sex can be a whole lot of fun, but it also comes with some very adult considerations. The reality is there are quite a few STDs making their ways through the lives and bodies of people all over the world. The good news is there are some really simple steps to prevent STD transmission and still have plenty of fun in the sack.

Step 1: Wrap it up.

Yep, this is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re not game to stay celibate, condoms are your best line of defense against STDs. If you use a condom (or dental dam) every single time you have sex of ANY kind (be it oral, anal or vaginal), you will be 99% protected from the bacteria and viruses that can be transferred via body fluids. Just keep in mind, condoms aren’t as effective in preventing the transmission of STDs such as herpes and HPV that can be spread through skin-to-skin contact.

Step 2: Get tested.

STD testing is another great tool for steering clear of infection. Especially if you are with a new partner, it’s important to be open and honest in having the STD conversation. Speak up if you would feel more comfortable both getting tested before getting busy, and if you can’t wait, make sure to stick to Step 1 and keep the condoms close. If you get tested regularly to ensure you have a clean bill of health, talk about why that’s so important to you and encourage your partner to do the same. Lastly, if you think you may have been exposed to an STD, discuss a game plan and head to your health care provider to get checked out.

Step 3: Master monogamy.

Limiting your sexual partners to one at a time is another way to protect yourself from STDs, especially if you’ve both been tested and are STD-free. More sexual partners equals a higher risk of STD transmission, so if you choose to have multiple partners, stay safer by following to Steps 1 and 2.

Step 4 (if you can’t commit to Steps 1 through 3): Skip sex.

Nobody says you HAVE to have sex. If you feel like you’re just not into it, or you are really worried about STD transmission, the best solution is to put the funny business on hold. At beforeplay.org, we love to “just talk about it,” so if you feel like you’re more in the mood for conversation than getting busy, we say do your thing. Talking to your partner and health care provider are great places to start. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a solution that makes you feel more comfortable with sex. And if not, that’s okay too. After all, abstinence all the time is the only 100%, bulletproof way to prevent STD transmission.