Don’t Feel Pressured To Have SexConsent is a fundamental aspect of any physical or sexual interaction. No one is ever obliged to engage in sex or any form of physical intimacy, regardless of the circumstances, the length of the relationship, or the course of the date. Both partners must actively consent, and the word "no" carries absolute weight, necessitating an immediate halt to any sexual activity or advances, all while upholding mutual respect.
Prioritizing personal safety—physically, mentally, and emotionally—is paramount. This extends beyond practicing safe sex if you choose to do so (more on that later) and includes asserting your boundaries by expressing a lack of interest in physical contact, sex, or continuing the date, if that's your sentiment.
While ideally, everyone should treat others with respect and empathy, the unfortunate reality is that we live in a world where self-protection is necessary in case one encounters someone who disregards basic morals and human decency. Hence, practical precautions before meeting a stranger or someone you're not well-acquainted with, even if you've previously met, involve:
- Meeting in a neutral, public location
- Informing a friend about your whereabouts and estimated duration of the meeting
- Arranging for a friend to provide transportation back home
- Contacting a friend once you've safely returned home after the date or encounter
If You Have Sex, Be Safe
Having decided to engage in sexual activity, it's crucial to prioritize safe sex practices.
Safe sex involves using a physical barrier method of protection, like condoms or dental dams, depending on the specific sexual activity. Remember, contraceptive pills only safeguard against pregnancy and not against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
If you encounter pressure to engage without using a condom or another barrier, assert your boundaries firmly and exit the situation. Someone who disregards your safety and well-being does not respect your autonomy or your physical and mental health. Unprotected sex exposes both parties to the risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
How To Protect Yourself During Sex
Vaginal SexSexuality encompasses various activities beyond just penile-vaginal intercourse (PiV), contrary to the portrayal in much of the media related to sex. However, vaginal penetration, with or without a penis, is a form of sexual activity, and for this...
It's important to prioritize the use of a condom during penile-vaginal intercourse. As mentioned earlier, contraceptive pills solely prevent pregnancy and not sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Refrain from engaging in sexual activity with someone who refuses to use a barrier method of protection (and I'd strongly advise leaving the situation promptly).
To ensure safe sexual encounters, it's crucial to consider that certain infections can be transmitted through oral sex instead of or alongside vaginal or anal intercourse. Therefore, when uncertain about someone's sexual health status, it's vital to consistently use proper barrier protection during oral sex, regardless of the type—whether it involves the penis, anus, or vagina.
For oral sex involving the penis, condoms are a suitable barrier, while dental dams are recommended for oral stimulation involving the vagina or anus. Infections can be transmitted through infected bodily fluids like pre-cum, semen, blood, or vaginal secretions, potentially leading to herpes, gonorrhoea, syphilis, among others, if they come into contact with sores, cuts, or membranes in various body areas like the throat, eyes, or genitals.
Anal rimming, which involves oral contact with a partner's anus (externally or internally), may present risks such as Hepatitis A. Even if the area appears clean, Hepatitis A bacteria residing in the gut can be transmitted through contact with infected feces. Using a dental dam to cover the anal area allows both partners to enjoy the experience while minimizing the risk of contracting Hepatitis A or other STIs.
Ensuring safety during anal sex is crucial to prevent sexually transmitted infections, and therefore, it's vital to consistently use a barrier method of protection like a condom.
Using a suitable sex lubricant that is condom-friendly and gentle on sensitive skin is essential to prevent tears and injury to the delicate skin in the anus and rectum. Unlike the vagina, the anus doesn’t naturally lubricate itself, so it's important to have plenty of anal lubricant available for added comfort.
Kissing Is Safe, Right?
French kissing, a commonly intimate act, may appear innocent or harmless, especially in public spaces where people often engage in it. However, even before the era of COVID-19, assuming complete safety in this regard may not be entirely accurate as countries gradually return to a pre-pandemic social normality.
This form of kissing is often a sensual and romantic part of foreplay and sexual encounters. Nevertheless, there are risks associated with it. Cold sores, typically caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), can be transmitted through French kissing, although it's usually a different strain from the genital herpes (HSV-2).
Maintaining good oral hygiene is important in this context. Ensure your teeth and tongue are thoroughly cleaned before a date to ensure a fresh mouth and minimize the transfer of bacteria during passionate kisses.