Sex is a perfectly normal, healthy part of life. It should be fun and pleasurable for both you and your partner.
However, it can also be risky and leave you and your partner exposed to sexually transmitted infections and diseases. These are infections and diseases can greatly impact your health and lifestyle. These are commonly spread through unprotected sex.
In this Chemist Direct article, we look at the health risks associated with sex and how you can limit the risks with unprotected sex.
What is Unprotected Sex?
Unprotected sex is having vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom, and involves the passing of bodily fluids such as blood and semen. Without using a condom, you increase the risk of catching HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.
What are the risks of unsafe sex?
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Venereal diseases such as gonorrhoea
- Other sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, pubic lice and viral warts
- HIV - the virus that can cause AIDS
- Cancer of the cervix
- Female infertility due to pelvic infection cause by sex with an infected man
What is safe sex?
Safe sex means using a barrier method of contraception unless you and your partner are in a monogamous relationship. Condoms should be used for all casual sex and every time you have sex with a new partner. Other barrier methods such as the diaphragm or cap do offer some but not much protection against the transmission of infections.
Tips to stay safe
Public Health England advises the following with safe sex:
- Always use a condom when having sex with casual and new partners. Carry a condom with you ‘just in case’.
- If you are under 25 get screened for chlamydia every year and each time you change sexual partner.
- For men having unprotected casual sex with men (or with a new partner) get screened for HIV annually, and every three months if changing partners regularly.
- Reduce your risk of infection by reducing the number of sexual partners you have and by avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.
- Alcohol and drugs can pose a risk to your sexual health. Many people who would normally practise safe sex become pregnant or catch a venereal disease through having unprotected sex while drunk or under the influence of drugs. Being drunk can also make you more vulnerable to sexual assault. Remember you have the right to say ‘no’ even if you have drunk too much.