We are getting more and more questions in our “Ask Anything” question box to the right! –> Stay tuned for more questions & answers coming up next week! Julia, a very special Sense volunteer, answered today’s question…
Q: how can I have safe sex without getting pregnant?
There are several ways you can negotiate safer sex without getting pregnant.
Condoms are the only form of contraception that also prevent the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections [STIs]. They are easy to use, easy to find and cheap, and you may even be able to get them for free at many locations, such as clinics and youth community centres like Head & Hands! They are mostly made of latex, but may also be made out of polyurethane and other hypo-allergenic products. They are available in many varieties, including lubricated and non-lubricated, ribbed, coloured, flavoured, etc. Water-based lubricants can also be used with condoms to make penetration way smoother and reduce the risk of condom breakage.
There are many other forms of contraception available that prevent unwanted pregnancies. For example, the Pill, the patch, the ring, and the Depo Provera injection are all forms of contraception that use hormones to prevent pregnancy. IUDs (Intra-Uterine Devices) are inserted into the uterus, and you have the option of having an IUD that also releases hormones. You need a prescription for all of these, which means a visit to your local clinic, sexual health clinic, or family doctor. The diaphragm and cervical cap are barrier methods that prevent sperm from entering the uterus, and you can call different clinics to see if they offer fittings. Check out this handy chart from Planned Parenthood for more information about these different birth control methods! It’s important to remember that none of these options protect against the transmission of STIs, so you can pair them with condoms to make sex safer.
If you don’t want to use condoms and would like to use one of these other contraceptives to prevent pregnancies, there are still many ways to have safer sex. Using lube will reduce vaginal (or anal) tearing during penetrative sex, and this may reduce the chance of transmitting STIs. Communicating with your sexual partner(s) about sexual history and getting tested regularly are great ways to have safer sex. Finally, choosing to do only certain sexual acts that are both low risk for STI transmission and no risk for pregnancy is a great option – for example, hand jobs, grinding, making out and kissing!