The Adam and Eve Guide to Safer Sex

Dr. Kat

About the Author: Dr. Kat Van Kirk is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.


Let's face it; intimacy can be exciting, thrilling, gratifying and a fundamental part of everyday life. After all, sex serves a component in both your personal and mental well-being, and it is totally healthy to think about. Yet, lovemaking can also be complicated or challenging, and does possess realistic ramifications, including becoming pregnant and acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

If you're considering making love with someone new, sleeping around or even abstaining from sex, Adam & Eve and its non-profit, family-planning, and HIV-prevention subsidiary, DKT International, are here to offer you some information that can help you discover safer sex, stay healthy and care for your body.

Our quick guide to safe-well, allow us to suggest the term "safer sex" (since, by no means, is all lovemaking totally safe)-safer sex can address a number of difficult questions regarding sexual intimacy:

  • Safer Sex Definitionand History
  • Safe Lovemaking Practices and Their Identifiable Risks
  • Contemplating the Dangers
  • Figuring out Your Danger Boundaries

Inside the Adam and Eve Safer Sex Guide, you uncover ways to take care of yourself in intimate situations; discover just what to say the moment you need to have The Talk; understand the truths about STDs; recognize safer lovemaking methods and their dangers; and even receive insight from a professional sexologist - that's me. I'm Dr. Kat Van Kirk, resident sexologist at Adam and Eve and relationship therapist.

Safer Sex Definition and History

Safer sex is a series of techniques that are fashioned to lower the threat of illness during sexual relations and prevent folks from acquiring STDs. Alternatively, unsafe sex concerns participating in sexual practices without employing any type of protective measures.

The AIDS outbreak in the 1980s popularized safer sex techniques. People realized that they needed to practice safer sex in order to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS. Marketing safer sex is currently a primary objective of sex education and learning in high schools and colleges across the country. From a cultural perspective, safer sex may be considered a risk-prevention solution. Safer sex concerns risk minimization, not total risk removal.

Although safer sex methods may be employed as a sort of birth control, the phrase describes initiatives crafted to avoid obtaining and spreading illnesses instead of blocking conception. Many successful birth control methods do not provide defense against acquiring an STD.

Did you know that lots of people currently practice safer sex?

This could include YOU, considering that millions of folks already defend themselves and their companions from unexpected pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. If you currently engage in safer sex, you can adopt this quick guide to educate colleagues, or in the event that you now have an STD, the information here can assist you in preventing passing on your disease to significant others.

Safe Lovemaking Practices and Their Identifiable Risks

Certainly, there are plenty of ways folks can become intimate with somebody. Regardless if it's simply embracing or having complete intercourse, it is vital for you to recognize which sex-related adventures are the most safe and which practices hold the highest possible chance of acquiring an STD.

Most-Safe Lovemaking Techniques

  • No penetration (Abstinence).
  • Rubbing, stroking, fondling.
  • Embracing, body-to-body massaging.
  • Any form of kissing.
  • Maintaining relationships where each companion is monogamous, without an STD and never shoots narcotics with shared needles.
  • Joint, genital masturbation provided that none of the two individuals possess exposed cuts or ulcerations that can come in contact with body fluids.

Low-Risk Practices

  • Vaginal or anal sex using latex condoms.
  • Oral sex.

High-Risk Practices

  • Anal sex with no a prophylactic protection.
  • Vaginal sex without condoms.
  • Choosing to pull the penis out prior to climaxing.
  • The sharing of sex toys.
  • Anal sex using uncovered fingers or fists.
“It not about who you are, safer sex has to do with exactly what you do!”

Where you reside or who you fraternize with are mute points, since illnesses circulate in human blood, seminal fluids, vaginal secretions and mammary gland discharges of everyone. There are no class or race lines when it comes to STDs. Safer sex has to do with taking care of you and your partner's well-being by staying clear of diseases thorough safer sex practices.

Contemplating the Dangers

Several folks refuse to be intimate with someone because they are bothered about getting HIV and different social diseases. Other individuals never stress whatsoever, and they take a whole lot of chances. However, several men and women do find excellent symmetry between the two. These people understand that lovemaking can be fantastic and that intimacy is much more exciting when you are not living in fear of contracting an STD. But they also recognize that HIV and other types of STDs are serious illnesses, and they force themselves to take initiatives to safeguard their bodies.

Discovering an effective balance between abstinence and taking high risks implies considering what threats you want to bear with and which ones you prefer not to take chances with. Your personal "danger boundaries" can also easily evolve, gradually, as you discover new activities or as your own necessities and desires shift.

The possibility of acquiring an STD resembles most threats in life, including operating motor vehicles. Several folks may decide never to travel in an automobile, simply because they dread of getting into a wreck; yet the majority of men and women take on this danger and develop techniques on how to minimize it.

Figuring Out Your Danger Boundaries

One method in considering risk is to list on a notepad or rationalize in your noggin exactly what intimate practices pleases you and which ones you regard as reliable. For lots of folks, these sexual activities may involve activities like kissing, cuddling, or masturbating with a significant other. Likewise, several men and women may note performing oral, vaginal or anal sex with prophylactic protection or oral dams.

By jotting down what turns you on, you are actually creating a lineup of activities that you never would do or believe are unsafe.

“Nothing is set in stone.”

Generally, there could be several sexual practices that you may feel comfortable performing in only certain situations, in addition to adventures that you may say "yes" or "no" to.

Writing down what works for you supplies a graphic recommendation of precisely what you deem overly unsafe or never dangerous; the visual enables you to rationalize ahead of time exactly what you would do in intimate scenarios. Once you get a trustworthy notion of just what you are willing to gamble, you can easily manage to stay clear of participating in sexual practices that slip beyond your risk boundaries. Sharing these boundaries with your partner is the next step.

Several folks never wish to place themselves in danger of acquiring HIV and other social diseases. However, remember that slipups do occur; one thing triggers another; and you may end up suffering from a sexual encounter that you eventually stress over.

Rationalizing ahead of time on the practices that you enjoy and activities that bother you can help you stay clear of safer sex slipups. Speaking with a sexologist like Dr. Kat is one approach in figuring things out. Consulting with experts at your local clinic may help you discover some strategies that you can use to steer clear of performing unsafe activities down the road.

“Thinking effectively about risk will help you figure out what to do 'when things get hot'.”

Interesting Safer-Sex Tidbits

  • Females are prone to become turned on more when they are fertile; it's actually our anatomies' push to deceive us into procreating.
  • Sperm spends sixty-minutes to move only six inches.
  • Condom authorities suggest that guys "test-drive" several prophylactic (condom) products to determine which ones are most pleasant and satisfying for their penis.
  • You can fit a female condom in a vagina up until eight hours prior to making love.
  • Four percent of university students claim that they hardly ever perform safer sex.
  • Research proves that secondary-school students who are educated about safer sex do not begin practicing sex earlier than high-school students who are coached to abstain.
  • Folks who discover prophylactics at a young age are more likely to use rubbers when they begin sleeping around.

Discover the Tools That Defend Against Disease

It's time for Adam and Eve to go over the diverse products on the market that are crafted to safeguard yourself and the one you love, now that you have a notion about which sex methods are safer and have contemplated their risk factors.

MALE PROPHYLACTICS: Condoms significantly decrease the threat of acquiring or transmitting many STDs, including HIV. Rubbers are available in different forms and sizes. You may perhaps want to experiment with several varieties to discover which ones work better for you. The exterior of the prophylactic product will claim whether it is lubed or non-lubed. Lubricated rubbers may make anal and vaginal lovemaking more satisfying and enjoyable. Non-lubricated or flavorful prophylactics can be used to gratify penises during oral sex.

Several condoms are manufactured from latex, a type of elastic rubber (hence, giving the condom its nickname). Many folks are hypersensitive to latex; these individuals can try using polyurethane rubbers. Stay clear of lambskin condoms, since they do not prevent HIV from penetrating the prophylactic. Also, remember to examine the condom's validity date to verify that it has not expired.

FEMALE PROPHYLACTICS: Some condoms may be positioned in the vagina or rectum before sexual activity. Sometimes these are referred to as "female condoms," but males could apply them before anal sex as well. Some folks believe these prophylactics feel superior and are less complicated to work with. Others give preference to regular prophylactics. They actually have a ring that fits inside the opening, which can keep the condom more stable. Female condoms also have an external lip all the way around which forms and additional skin to skin barrier, making it safer to use in regards to herpes, HPV and several forms of hepatitis.

“"Remember to put on a fresh condom during every single intimate act and with every single lover.”

ORAL DAMS OR CELLOPHANE: You may apply oral dams to create a barrier between your mouth and a person's genitals. As a backup, cellophane wrap also works. You can use either when using your tongue to satisfy vaginal areas, vulvas, or rectums sexually. These products hinder the transmission of HIV and other sexual diseases. Oral dams are boxlike items made of elastic cellophane utilized by dental professionals. Multiple businesses currently produce finer and lightweight dams developed only for sexual intimacy. Likewise, you can easily hand make an oral dam by working with a sizable piece of saran wrap.

LUBRICATING SUBSTANCES: Apply tons of water-based, lubrication when inserting a penis, a finger, or an intimacy toy into a vagina or rectum; this will significantly decrease resistance; make lovemaking more enjoyable; and protect prophylactics from damage. Heavy friction can often cause prophylactics to rip or tear.

GLOVES AND FINGER PROTECTION: You can practice safer sex when placing your digits inside rectums or vaginal areas by using latex gloves or finger protection (cots for each finger). They lower the threat of acquiring bacterial infections or illnesses through small wounds on your hand.

“"Regularly Keep Your Tools Close-by and Carry the Products with You.”

IMPORTANT: Similar to how safety belts cannot promise that you will never be hurt in a vehicle crash, working with prophylactics, oral dams and additional safer-sex products do not guarantee one-hundred percent protection. Several STDs, like the crabs, herpes and genital warts, may be transmitted via skin contact. As an example, a male may possess genital warts at the bottom of his erection or on his testicles, a couple of places that might not be covered completely by rubbers.

Managing Relationships and Still Keeping Safe


Now that you understand the dangers and have researched STD prevention, you are ready to go, right?

Well, hang on there buddy! Do you remember that old expression, "It takes two to tango?" Perhaps you opted to protect yourself by using female condoms; yet, your partner may not be too crazy about the idea of setting latex products inside her entire vagina each time you desire to make love. Maybe saran wrap is a turn off for her and prevents her from having orgasms.

Folks in intimate relationships deal with these issues constantly, as everyone analyzes sex-risk in different ways. For this reason, I with the Adam and Eve team have jotted down a few pointers to help you and your partner iron out the safer sex kinks, which appear from time to time in relationships.

COMMUNICATION: Speak, vent and interact! Men and women who communicate with their companion or partners about safer sex discover afterwards that it simplifies future protected intimacy. Several of us were advised when we were teenagers that lovemaking is sinful, unsanitary and must never be discussed. Those initial impressions can easily make it difficult for folks to speak freely about safer sex these when they grow up.

However, security does accompany time and experience. Chatting with a lover is an opportunity to discover exactly what they want in safer sex; to find out the things that arouse them; and to learn precisely what intimate adventures they may take pleasure in performing together with you.

“Communicating about safer sex is hot. Once you and your partner open up to one another about being safe, you’ll find it’s easier to talk about sex in general, thereby improving your over all sex life. Advocating for your self and your health can also lead to better self care and higher self esteem, so get talking.”

SINCERITY AND ASSURANCE: Some men and women intend to enjoy just one companion and be monogamous. Other people desire to have more than only one significant other. Speaking honestly with your lover(s) regarding exactly what you desire establishes sincerity and assurance in your intimate relationships. Some folks in permanent romantic affairs look into the options of making love without prophylactics or other protection. One expression for this is "bargained protection" another is, "fluid bonding". It implies reaching a transparent commitment about intimacy beyond your partnership to ensure that you will not infect one another with an STDs. Discussing your expectations and your concerns creates confidence and protects both you and your lover.

STAY WITH YOUR GAME PLAN: In some cases, it is difficult to practice safer sex, and these types of occasions can vary from individual to individual. As an example, some folks, discover it's challenging to perform safer sex after drinking or taking drugs. Others find that certain venues, celebrations, or even lovers make safer lovemaking challenging. There are still some people that believe their partners may leave them if they demand safer sex.

“Always strive to maintain total control during sex-related encounters. Don't make the mistake of employing bad judgment - especially when your life and the life of your partner depends on it.”

Typical STDs, Prevention and Treatment

Several STDs are treatable and curable as well. Even when it comes to STDs such as genital herpes, infectious hepatitis and genital warts that never actually leave the body, herpes medical treatments can regularly help during outbreaks. Medication can also assist sufferers of HIV live lengthier and productive lifestyles. Curable STDs like syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia are healed with penicillin.

It's important to remember that prescription antibiotics never will undo damage done, so initial diagnosis and therapy or preventative actions are essential; for example, you can protect yourself against illness like Hepatitis A and B by seeking vaccination at an early age.

The lineup listed below reviews the most widespread STDs and their treatment options:

  • HIV and AIDS: HIV can develop into AIDS. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) degrades the body's immune system-our anatomy's defense against illness. HIV patients acquire diseases that people without the disease almost never get.

    AIDS is an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is a highly-developed phase of HIV.

    Prevention: Refrain from sexual relations and from exchanging needles (anabolic steroid, endocrine, drug). Stay away from things that could contain blood (knives, razor blades, used syringes). Apply safer sex practices that avoid swapping blood, semen, or vaginal discharges.

    Treatment: Certainly, there are zero cures for HIV or AIDS, but there are treatment solutions for folks suffering from the disease. Drug combinations known as "cocktails" are produced to reinforce the body's immune system, to prevent HIV from turning into AIDS and to alleviate AIDS complications. These pharmaceuticals are extremely costly; possess uneasy adverse effects; and might only work for just a few months. However, these types of "cocktails" enable men and women dealing with HIV/AIDS stay alive for longer periods.

  • Syphilis: An STD triggered by microorganisms invading the vaginal canal, rectum, urethra, penis, or mouth. Syphilis can easily result in severe health threats, if left neglected.

    Prevention: Abstain from sexual intercourse and oral sex or apply female or male prophylactics, whenever necessary. Additionally, use oral dams during oral copulation.

    Treatment: Penicillin cures syphilis' initial phases. Likewise, partners may be cared for simultaneously. However, damage caused by syphilis in subsequent stages are irreversible; detecting the disease in advance is the secret to killing the microorganisms before they become harmful.

  • Genital Warts: Infestations on the surface of the penile, vaginal regions and neighboring anus. The STD is triggered by a couple of HPV strands. People pass their genital warts to one another through skin contact during sex, usually during foreplay. Annually, between five-hundred-thousand and one-million men and women acquire genital warts.

    Prevention: Receive HPV vaccines early or do without intimacy that incorporates skin-to-skin contact. Likewise, rubbers are helpful, and they prevent folks from attaining other diseases (Chlamydia, HIV). FYI-cigarette smokers might be more prone to acquire genital warts than nonsmokers.

    Treatment: Our human bodies naturally combat this virus. Medicines may be administered directly on genital warts, yet, they are unavailable for pregnant women. Additionally, wart removal approaches include freezing (cryotherapy), burning (electro-cauterization) or removing with lasers.

  • Herpes: An extremely frequent disease triggered by the diverse but interconnected microbes, Herpes Simplex-1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex -2 (HSV-2). These bacteria are simple to acquire, and they stay in the human body forever, provoking manifestations that reoccur. The herpes simplex virus can corrupt the mouth area, the genital region, or both.

    Prevention: Cease genital and rectal contact or foreplay during outbreaks. Condoms never help; however, prophylactics should be used in between episodes to lower the risk of transmission.

    Treatment: Specific prescriptions lend a hand in dealing with the disease. Treatments are extremely successful in curing ulcers and stopping them coming back. Even though herpes virus remedies are beneficial, there is no cure; nevertheless, in many cases, episodes become dormant and weaker after several years or treatment.

  • Gonorrhea: A bacteria complication (a.k.a. "the clap") transferred during the course of intimate contact, contaminating the male organs, vaginal area, cervix, rectum, urethra, or throat. This STD impacts over eight-hundred-thousand folks in the United States every year, and if never cared for, it can result in considerable health risks.

    Prevention: Avoid regular, anal and oral sex. Apply female or male prophylactics whenever necessary.

    Treatment: This particular STD is simple to cure with prescription antibiotics, though pregnant women and teens might need to find other types of solutions.

  • Infectious Hepatitis: A liver organ disease that can trigger major health disorders and could result in fatality. Hepatitis A, B, and C rests in semen, vaginal discharges, blood, and urine.

    Prevention: Avoid sexual relations; use female or male prophylactics; acquire the hepatitis B vaccine; never "inject" drugs; and don't share razor blades or toothbrushes.

    Treatment: There is no medication that can cure hepatitis. But in many cases, hepatitis B disappears on its own within one or two months. There are medications that can help to alleviate symptoms in those with chronic Hep C.

  • Chlamydia: The most-acquired bacterial STD disease in the United States, which is transmitted during intimate contact. Chlamydia is spread by vaginal and anal sex, but seldom during oral sex; this STD can affect male organs, vaginal areas, cervixes, rectums, urethras, eyes and throats.

    Prevention: Abstain from sexual intercourse and oral copulation or apply female or male condoms.

    Treatment: Chlamydia is quick to cure. If you suffer from Chlamydia, you will definitely have to take prescription antibiotics. A one-dose Chlamydia solution is available, but other advanced forms of Chlamydia may require a one-week remedy.

  • Pubic Lice: A.k.a. "crabs" are simply microscopic pests that secure themselves to the body and the hair in the pubic area.

    Prevention: Pubic lice disperse rapidly, and there is no defense in acquiring them. Minimizing the amount of lovers whom you sleep with is the only noted protection.

    Treatment: Over-the-counter pubic lice drugs or more powerful doctor-prescribed medications cure lice. Trimming hair or taking scorching showers will never work. Every person exposed to pubic lice must be treated simultaneously, and all subjected bed linens, towels, and garments should be cleaned.

Adam and Eve Safe-Sex Guide Recap

  • Use prophylactics whenever you make love.
  • Regularly apply lube to protect male and female condoms and to minimize the threat of infection.
  • Use water-based lubes; never apply petroleum jelly, creams or oils (or lube products with oil ingredients) because those products may break down the prophylactics.
  • Stay clear of any sexual practice that might trigger blood loss.
  • By no means contact the vaginal area during a woman's monthly period. Blood can easily possess sizable levels of infectious viruses.
  • Make certain you understand how use a rubber properly.
“And don't forget, you can eroticize safer sex so it seems just as sexy as anything else you are doing between the sheets. For instance, you can learn to roll a condom on his penis with your tongue, masturbate one another to climax or perform oral sex or an anal rim job thanks to a trusty dental dam. There are so many possibilities and no reason for you to ever get bored with being safe.”

Back to Top