STDs are sexually transmitted diseases that are spread during sex through the mouth, anus, and vagina. The most common symptoms are no symptoms at all, so for those who are sexually active, regular testing is very important. Many STDs are curable, but some are not. By practicing safe sex, there are many ways to prevent STDs if you are sexually active.

Condoms

For those participating in penetrative sex (either including a penis or even a dildo sex toy), condoms are a great way to prevent desires. Condoms can be placed over a penis or penis-shaped sex toy, to be used for anal, oral, and vaginal sex. When used correctly, condoms are 95% effective. Unfortunately, everyone does not use condoms properly, so it is estimated that they are truly 85% effective in preventing STDs. This is still a very high success rate. There are also internal condoms that are most often used inside of a vagina. It is also important to know that condoms made from lambskin or any other type of animal membrane do not prevent STDs. Synthetic condoms made from either latex or plastic material do prevent STDs.

Dental Dams

For oral sex regarding a vulva or anus, dental dams are very helpful at preventing the spread of STDs. Dental dams are a thin piece of either latex or some form of plastic that is placed over either the anus or vulva before the act of oral sex. Dental dams block the skin that may be affected, as well as block fluids from transmitting STDs. These are a great option if you decide to have oral sex, or even with hand to anus or vulva contact. It is always better to be as safe as possible to prevent STDs. 

Avoiding dirty needles

According to Planned Parenthood, STDs can be spread by “semen, vaginal fluids, blood, or skin-to-skin genital touching.” That means that if you share needles through drug use, tattoos, or even piercing, you have the risk of contracting an STD. To be safe, make sure all needles that penetrate your body are brand new, and you see them being taken out of the original packaging. 

 

Get tested

There are many symptoms that can denote an STD, but the most common symptom is actually no symptoms. Getting tested regularly can allow you to either catch an STD before it progresses or at least has peace of mind that you are clean. Some possible signs of an STD to look out for would be pain, swelling, rashes or bumps around the genitals. Itching, burning, or pain either generally or while peeing, discharge from the penis, or different smelling discharge from the vagina can also be signs of STDs. These symptoms do not always mean you have contracted an STD, but if you are already having regular testing done, then you won’t have to worry about it. 

Communication

With any partner whom you choose to be sexually active with, it is important to be able to speak regarding safe sex. Having good and open communication regarding recent testing, types of protection used, and test results, in general, are very healthy. If at any point, you do not feel safe or respected regarding the prevention of STDs, it is important to stand your ground and refuse to continue if safe sex is important to you. Only you can prevent STDs, so educate yourself and make the right decision for your health.