Safer sex 181
Ways to have safer sex
Having safer sex means using barriers (like condoms) to keep germs from being
passed between you and your partner during sex, or having sex in ways that make
infection less likely.
Sex with the penis in the vagina (sexual intercourse) is the most common way that
men and women have sex. But couples can give and receive sexual pleasure by
using many different kinds of talk and touch. If your partner does not want to use
condoms, you can try to have other, safer kinds of sex. These practices may feel just
as good for him—and be safer for you.
• Avoid having sex at all. If you do not have sex, you will
not be exposed to STIs. Some women may find this the
best option, especially when they are young. However,
for most women, this choice is not possible or desirable.
• Have sex with only one partner, who you know for
sure has sex with only you, and when you know for sure (through testing) that
neither of you was infected by a previous partner.
• Have sex by touching each other’s and your own genitals with your hands
• Use condoms during oral sex. A barrier of latex or plastic helps prevent infection
with herpes and gonorrhea in the throat. It also protects against the very small
risk of infection with HIV through tiny cuts in the mouth.
• Always use latex male condoms or plastic female condoms when having vaginal
or anal sex.
• Have sex in ways that avoid getting your partner’s body fluids in your vagina or anus.
• Sex using your mouth is much less likely to spread HIV. If you get semen in your
mouth, spit it out.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007