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What Is Safe Sex and Safe Sex Practice?

March 12, 2013

Safe sex practice for teens

Safe sex practice means sexual activity that guards against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Safe sex is also known as ‘safer sex’ or ‘protected sex’. Safe sex or protected sex can also mean taking precautions against pregnancy.

Types of safe sex practice

  • Masturbation being the self-stimulation of genitals to achieve sexual arousal and sexual satisfaction. Masturbation is common behavior and is a normal part of exploration by a child or teenager of his or her own body.
  • Non-penetrative sex where there is no genital contact. It may include kissing, petting, touching, stroking or oral sex. Risks of STDs and pregnancy are merely reduced not eliminated. Non-penetrative sex will not reduce the risk of skin infections such as herpes or genital warts.
  • Barrier protection including using:
    • male condoms;
    • female condoms;
    • dental dams (for oral sex); and
    • gloves.
  • Disinfected sex toys where sex toys used have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
  • HPV immunization.
  • Regular STD testing.
  • Sexual abstinence, meaning that a person refrains from any sexual activity. This is only effective if both partners pledge sexual abstinence and both have abstained before sexual activity with each other.
  • Having as few sexual partners as possible.
  • Contraceptives e.g. birth control pills, which are effective only against pregnancy but not STDs.

How effective is safe sex practice in preventing STDs and pregnancy?

Foolproof if only one person is involved i.e. masturbation.

Very effective if both partners agree to practice safe sex, have been practicing safe sex from their first sexual activity and have had a prior history of practicing safe sex.

Effective if both partners agree to practice safe sex. However, depending on the method used, transmission of STD may still occur if one partner carries an STD without known symptoms or without having been tested for STDs or with positive STD results.

Not effective if both partners agree to practice safe sex but fail to do so in the heat of the moment e.g. the boy pulling off condom during sexual intercourse.