In case you’re not yet fully convinced about reaching for the condoms, ponder this: According to NHS England statistics, year 2013 saw over 446,000 new cases of STIs diagnosed. The two most common sexually transmitted infections were chlamydia (208,000) and genital warts (73,000)[i]. A study by University College London also found that 16.2 per cent of UK pregnancies are unplanned[ii]. It’s easy to prevent these problems by having safe sex.
Safe sex means having sexual contact with a consenting partner while taking precautions that will protect yourself and your partner against unwanted pregnancy and STIs, such as genital warts, HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea. For sex to be safe, partners must not exchange semen, vaginal fluids or blood. Thus, there must be a barrier that prevents this exchange.
Condoms help prevent pregnancy, but unlike other contraception methods, they also protect against STIs by acting as a physical barrier on the genitals to prevent the exchange of bodily fluids. There are so many different types of condom that there is always one to suit every user, even if they have a latex allergy. So there is really no excuse to not wear a condom for sex anymore. Get busy and check out the Durex condom range to find the right one for you and your partner.
Putting on a condom can be an enjoyable part of sex that’s incorporated into foreplay, and it doesn't have to feel like an inconvenient interruption in the middle of sex. But you must wear them correctly, so let’s brush up on how to put the condom on:
If you have symptoms of an STI, it’s important to get yourself checked by a doctor. It is a good idea to get tested if you’ve had unprotected sex even if you don’t have symptoms, as not all infections give warning signs at first. Think of a trip to the genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic as giving yourself a sexual MOT, where you can get tested and treated for STIs. It’s easy and confidential, and if anything is picked up, most infections can be cured discreetly and quickly.
In most cases, you need to make an appointment, but some clinics offer a drop-in service, where you just turn up and wait. The tests themselves depend on the symptoms you have, and what tests you decide you want, but they may involve giving a blood or urine sample, or having swabs taken in and around your genitals. Some test results can come on the same day, while others may take up to a week. Most clinics ask how you wish to receive the results.
Protecting yourself and your partner by having safe sex is easy and it means that you have the power to protect your own health and have better sex. People don’t always know if they’re carrying an STI, so play it safe and use a condom.