Safer Sex Practices

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External Condoms

Protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

Designed to stop contact of semen and sexual fluids.

Made of latex, polyurethane, synthetic rubber, or natural membranes.

Efficacy:

  • 97% effective with perfect use / 86% effective with typical use.

Non-Latex:

  • Polyurethane or synthetic – higher breakage rates.
  • Natural membrane – do not protect against STIs.

Condoms are less effective if:

  • Not used consistently or correctly
  • There are sexual fluids on the outside
  • They break or tear
  • They are doubled up
  • They are stored incorrectly
  • They are expired
  • Used with certain medications

Condoms best practices:

  • Have more condoms than you need
  • Plan ahead
  • Change them out

Internal Condoms

Also referred to Female Condoms

Non-latex, non hormonal sheaths

Efficacy:

  • 95% effective with perfect use / 75% - 82% effective with typical use

Things to know:

  • Expiry date is in the fold of the package
  • Can be inserted in 6-8 hours in advance
  • STI protection = same as an external condom
  • Not to be used with external condom
  • Store in cool dry place

Lube

Water-based lube:

  • Versatile lube
  • Safe for latex and non-latex condoms
  • Safe to use with silicon toys
  • May decrease the risk of condom breaking
  • Easier clean up
  • Won’t stain sheets

Silicone-base lube:

  • Hypoallergenic, good for sensitive skin
  • “Like silk sheets on your sensitive parts”
  • Longer lasting than water-based
  • Can deteriorate silicon sex toys
  • Safe to use with condoms
  • Doesn’t wash easily – good for water play

Oil-base lubes:

  • Not recommended
  • Higher rates of bacterial vaginosis
  • Can cause condoms to break*

Dental Dams

Thin square piece of latex/non-latex used for safer oral sex

Goes between the mouth and genitals

Flavored or unflavored

Best practices:

  • Check expiration date
  • Store in cool, dry area
  • Use a new dental dam for each part of the body

Sex Toys

Silicone or body safe toys

Water based lubrication is recommended for silicone toys

Clean toys as per manufactures guidelines

Clean toys between insertive orifices

Condom use on sex toys can prevent STI transmission if sharing toys