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Safer Sex

How hot is sex when you are worried about getting pregnant orcatching a disease? For most people such anxiety is a turn-off, and plenty of others dissociatefrom their bodies and "don't think about it." You really can get thesex you want and stay safe too, so why not make informed choices aboutthe risks you take? Taking care of your sexual health adds to overallself-esteem and helps you become a better sexual communicator too. And the glow of sexual self-confidence is really sexy.

Safer sex practices let you take care of yourself and have hot hotsex. We don't want to be preachy, we just want to give you the facts tohelp you make an informed decision that's right for you. Here is a runthrough of the kinds of risk posed by different kinds of sex, ways toprotect yourself and ways to keep it all smooth and sexy whenintroducing latex into sex. For more detail on the supplies themselves,click here for Safer Sex Supplies in our Shopping Advice.

How are STDs transmitted?

HIV: Although HIV is present in all the cells of anHIV-postive person's body, it is only in four body fluids at a highenough concentration to pass to another person: blood, semen, vaginalfluids and breast milk. It infects another person by entering theirblood stream, either directly by sharing needles (which is the easiestway to transmit HIV) or through cuts or abrasions in the skin or mucousmembranes. The reason why sex can pose a hazard is that the mucousmembranes of the mouth, throat, vagina, penis and anus can have smallabrasions or can tear during sexual activity, thus enablingtransmission. There are risks of infection with anal and vaginalpenetration, oral sex and hand jobs.

Other STDs: Generally people are most worried about HIV, butHepatitis, chlamydia, Herpes (HSV I and II), genital warts, gonorrhea,syphilis, and yeast infections are the most common of the sexualtransmitted diseases. All the barrier methods that protect us from HIValso protect us from most STDs. Genital warts in women can bepre-cancerous and new research shows the chlamydia can also result incervical cancer. So don't neglect your annual pap smears girls, earlydetection is life saving!

How risky are different sexual activites?

Oral Sex: The mucous membranes of the mouth and throat canhave small cuts or sores (like canker sores or raw gums from flossingor gum disease) that can create a pathway to the blood stream. Becausethere is a higher concentration of HIV in semen than in vaginal fluids,sucking cock poses a greater risk than going down on a woman. ExecutiveDirector at the Stop AIDS Project in San Francisco, Darlene Weide, saysthis about the HIV risk of fellatio: "Swallow or Spit, just don't letit Sit. That's the latest harm reduction technique you can use toprevent contracting HIV through oral sex. There have been at leasteight recorded cases of men who have become infected with HIV throughoral sex with other men. This isn't very many, considering how many menhave oral sex, but it can happen. New data suggests that as many as ten percentof all HIV cases can be attributed to oral sex."

So what should the orally fixated do to stay safe? Weide continues: "You'remore at risk if you're the one sucking, if you have gum or throatirritation or allergies or other immune problems. If you're the onebeing blown and are HIV+ and have other STDs, you're more likely topass the virus along. A couple of things to do: Avoid deep-throatfucking, floss and brush regularly but not right before you have oralsex. Try using Kimono Microthins--don't knock it until you've triedit. And remember, it is possible to get HIV through pre-come."

Since HIV is at its highest concentration in blood; going down on awoman on her period is a higher risk. It is also possible to transmitherpes, yeast infections and hepatitis B and yeast infections fromoral/genital sex.

Unprotected rimming puts the giver (the mouth partner) at risk ofHepatitis (which is carried in the feces and blood) and of intestinalbacterial infections.

The great news is that condoms, dental dams and a good sized pieceof non-microwavable Saran Wrap make for safe fellatio, cunnilingus andrimming.

Hand Jobs and Fisting: It's easy to get little paper cuts andsores on your hands and not even be aware of them. Getting semen orvaginal fluids on the your hands from a hand-job, digital penetrationof the vagina or vaginal fisting can put you at risk. Anal fisting iseven riskier because the tissue of the anus is easier to tear than themucous membrane of the vagina (which is self-lubricating and sturdier).There is more likely to be some blood during anal play. Try LatexGloves for smoother, slicker and safer hand jobs and fisting. Don'tforget about washing your hands with anti-bacterial soap before alaying on of hands, even for masturbation; microbes on the fingers canbe pushed inside the urethra and cause urinary tract infections. Peeingbefore and after sex and washing your hands with anti-bacterial soap(if you aren't using gloves) is a healthy precaution.

Penile-Vaginal Sex: In terms of HIV transmission,vaginal/penile intercourse is riskier for the woman than for the man.And let's not forget the impact of unintended pregnancy. HPV (genitalwarts) and the herpes virus can be passed not just from penetration,but from genital contact on the outside of the vulva as well. Bothwomen and men are at risk of contracting VD, chlamydia and can passyeast infections to each other. Check out our Trustex Flavored Condoms and RealityCondoms for barriers to keep the fucking fun and safe.

Anal Sex: Anal fucking is the riskiest activity for the asspartner because of the vulnerability of the anal membrane. Not only isthe lining thinner than that of the vagina, it is not self-lubricatingand it is fed by a richer blood flow than the vagina, thus making iteasier for a virus to enter the blood stream. Little micro-tears canhappen fairly easy during penetration, and you probably wouldn't beable to tell. A quick hygiene reminder, putting dicks (the flesh or thesilicone variety) and other toys into the vagina after they've been inthe anus is an invitation for a bacterial infection in the vagina.Another good reason to use condoms on dildos and penises.

Sex Toys: The same thinking applies, using a dildo on oneperson, and then on another without a condom poses the risk of passingviruses and bacteria. Many women who share vibrators with their loversput a glove over the ball of the Hitachi Magic Wand or condoms over phallic shapedbattery vibes for protection.

Hot safer sex tips

  • Think of lube as another sex toy. It not only enhances sensation,it can keep latex from breaking. If you put a good sized dollop in thetip of a condom before unrolling it on your partner's cock, it willhelp increase sensation. If you are trying this lube trick, be sure tokeep a hand on your shaft to prevent slippage. A small dollop shouldn'tcause the condom to slip.
  • Talk sexy! "Stay right there while I remove this prophylacticfrom it's package" is not as sexy as, "Don't move a muscle, you hotnasty slutty little dog you, I'm just going to roll this on, and thenfuck you so good´┐Ż You get the idea.
  • Turn up the heat when you reach for the latex: do a strip-tease,touch, stroke, lick, masturbate for each other, moan, talk dirty - dowhat ever it is that you do to keep the sexual charge cranked up whilethe barriers are being unpacked and readied for take-off.

Have more questions? You can call the National Center For Disease Control AIDS and STD hotline: 800/ 342-2437.