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What is safer sex anyway?

If you’re going to have sex, the only way to reduce your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is to practise safer sex. And it can’t just be safer sex some of the time, or even most of the time…it really has to be every time.
The basic rule for safer sex is to make sure that the blood, semen or vaginal fluids of your sexual partner(s) do not enter your body – unless you know for sure that your partner is not carrying an STI.

Examples of safer sex include kissing, mutual masturbation, sensuous touching and anal or vaginal sex with a condom.

Ways to protect yourself and others:

  • Use condoms and/or oral dams when you have oral, anal and/or vaginal sex with all partners.
  • When sharing sex toys, cover the toy with a new condom for each partner.
  • Be monogamous – that is, only have sex with your regular partner.
  • Practise dual protection, which means consistent and proper use of contraception (birth control pill), along with latex or polyurethane barriers (gloves, dams or condoms).
  • Get regular STI testing (you and your partner(s)).
  • Use only water-based lubricants (lube) with latex barriers. Never use oil-based lubricants such as baby oil and petroleum jelly with latex barriers, because it can break down and/or cause tiny holes in the condom.
Use a condom
Talk to your partner
Get Tested
Know your risks!



Where can I find help?
Top 10 questions

Updated Aug 27, 2013

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