by Ed Yourdon
Safe – Or Safer – Sex In Every Relationship
Safe sex is a term that describes a sexual practice where there isn’t any contact that
involves fluids passing between partners. No exchange of blood, semen, vaginal fluids
or saliva. This is almost impossible, unless all kinds of physical contact is avoided
in sexual activities (for example, in autoerotism or cyber sex), or total abstinence is
Since most of the people will opt for sexual intercourse, safer sex is a better term. It
means one can never be 100% sure of having a safe sex relationship, but she/she is
trying to lower the risk to its minimum by using barrier protections. It can be a condom,
a dental dam for oral sex, or even latex gloves to protect the hands.
The aim of safe sex is not contraception, and sometimes different measures should be
put in practice to have safer sex and avoid pregnancy. For example, one can have safe
sex in a monogamous relationship, but that doesn’t prevent pregnancy
There are no excuses for not having safer sex. This is not a matter of trust, it’s an
attitude towards one’s health. Love for your partner doesn’t mean your partner is
100% free of STIs. One unprotected contact is enough. Perhaps you are using other
contraception methods, but those will not prevent STIs. Condom almost always does,
though. It has an efficacy of above 85%. Some partners will say, hey I am clean! We
can have sex without a condom. Nobody actually knows, unless he/she had been
tested a very short time before.
Without safer sex, one puts one’s health at risk. So, when one of these excuses arise
and communication with your partner doesn’t lead to a safe sex practice, one can
always say NO.
Another approach to safer sex are vaccinations against sexually transmitted infections,
such as Hepatitis B and HPV viruses. These vaccinations are most effective when they
are administered before sexual activity starts. Also, regular medical controls will help
preventing and spreading STIs.
AIDS triggered the awareness about STIs. At the beginning, educational campaigns
aimed at homosexuals and IV drug abusers, and quickly expanded towards
youngsters, since they were thought to have riskier behaviors towards sex.
Typically, safe sex and condom use campaigns haven’t targeted middle-aged adults.
They were supposed to have no risk behaviors. But the truth is, many grown-up adults
have different partners and they don’t always protect themselves from STDs. Many
people get divorced at this time of their lives, and they seem to forget the advice they
give to their own teenagers.
So let’s try, all of us, to have safer sex relationships!