We all want pleasurable, satisfying and healthy sex. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that along with pleasure, we also need to be aware of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS and ways to prevent pregnancy.Why? Because there is a strong connection between your pleasure from sex and the feeling you get from knowing that you are protecting yourself and your health. In order to enjoy sex, you need to feel comfortable,and in order to feel comfortable, you need to not have to worry during sex about things like sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy – it is therefore worthwhile to decide which contraceptives work for you before things get started. So, here are 5 bits of advice that will help you select the most appropriate contraceptives for you.
1. Learn about it
So, how much do you really know about contraceptives? Read about the subject on your own and decide which contraceptives will provide you with the best protection. Remember, there are several types of birth control methods: the pill, a diaphragm, a sponge, a patch, spermicides, vaginal rings, hormonal injections, and a Mirena IUD. However, only condoms and female condoms can be used as contraceptives against both sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and pregnancy.
Most contraceptives invented to date are compatible for use by women only, only condoms and spermicides are created for use by men. However, this fact does not remove the responsibility of doing the right thing, which is protecting your health and your partner’s health.
2. Talk about it
If you have a steady partner, talk to her about the fact that an important part of enjoying sex is knowing that you are both looking after one another’s health. Invite her to be a partner in the decision of which contraceptives you will use, and share with her what you read and learned about contraceptives. Sex is something that is done together, and therefore the decision about the type of contraceptives you use should also be made together.
Being open and honest in your relationship will only strengthen it. An open conversation between both of you about sex should be very different from the conversations you have about other topics that interest you, such as: spending time together, school, work, etc. The more you open up with one another about sexuality, the better your sex life will be.
3. You have a new partner and it is still too early to talk about it?
If you have a new sexual partner and an honest conversation about sex does not seem realistic at this point, then when you start having sex you should use a condom. Using a condom will prevent transmitting sexually transmitted diseases to one another. It is important to remember that even if neither of you has any symptoms of any disease, it is still possible to infect or become infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Sexually transmitted diseases are very common in society (very much like the common cold or the flu), and as a result, even if someone seems to be “clean”(and we are pretty certain that she showers every day) or nice (and we have no doubt that she is a great girl), that does not mean that she does not have any sexually transmitted diseases.
4. Do you have one-night-stands or casual flings?
If you tend to frequently change sexual partners, then the condom should become your best friend so that it can protect you from sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. For you to also be your own friend, don’t count on you partner to have a condom on hand – make sure that you have at least one condom in your pocket/wallet and that it is not expired!
5. Are you in a serious relationship?
Have been in a serious relationship for some time and you no longer want to use a condom? Great! But before you do that, you should pause and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. This way you will be safe and sure that you will not infect your partner, nor become infected yourself. Remember that during the time that you are waiting for the results of your test, you should continue practicing safe sex. You can stop using a condom only after you receive a negative result (meaning you have no sexually transmitted diseases or HIV).
Where can you get tested for sexually transmitted diseases?
You can get tested at any HMO clinic or at the testing centers. At the sex centers of the Department of Health you can receive personal answers to any question on matters concerning sex, sexuality, having sex, sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives, and treating and curing sexually transmitted diseases. The social workers at the Levinsky Center in Tel Aviv are available personally for you, or for you as a couple, as well as on an ongoing basis in cases of distress about sexual orientation or sexual identity, sexual assault, prostitution and the continuous risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
Do you have a steady partner? Do you change your partners? The answer is not important, what is important is that you enjoy the sex and remember that your partner is a full partner on the journey. Now that you have all the information that you need, it will be easier for you to select the contraceptives that work best for you so that you can be at ease and have fun. Enjoy!