Safe sex

safer sexunprotected sexunsafe sexsafe-sexbarrier methodscondom useunprotectedsafe-sex educationBarrier contraceptivesafe
Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices (such as condoms) to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially HIV.wikipedia
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Sex education

sexual educationsex educatorsexuality education
Promoting safe sex is now one of the main aims of sex education and STI prevention, especially reducing new HIV infections.
Sex education is the instruction of issues relating to human sexuality, including emotional relations and responsibilities, human sexual anatomy, sexual activity, sexual reproduction, age of consent, reproductive health, reproductive rights, safe sex, birth control and sexual abstinence.

Birth control

It is also sometimes used colloquially to describe methods aimed at preventing pregnancy that may or may not also lower STI risks.
Safe sex practices, such as with the use of male or female condoms, can also help prevent sexually transmitted infections.


AIDSHIVacquired immune deficiency syndrome
Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices (such as condoms) to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially HIV.
HIV is spread primarily by unprotected sex (including anal and oral sex), contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
A year before the HIV virus was isolated and named, the San Francisco chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence published a small pamphlet titled Play Fair! out of concern over widespread STIs among the city's gay male population.
The Sisters have grown throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe, and South America, and are currently organized as an international network of orders, which are mostly non-profit charity organizations that raise money for AIDS, LGBT-related causes, and mainstream community service organizations, while promoting safer sex and educating others about the harmful effects of drug use and other risky behaviors.

How to Have Sex in an Epidemic

How to Have Sex in an Epidemic: One Approach
In May 1983—the same month HIV was isolated and named in France—the New York City-based HIV/AIDS activists Richard Berkowitz and Michael Callen published similar advice in their booklet, How to Have Sex in an Epidemic: One Approach.
It was among the first publications to recommend the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of STDs in men having sex with men, and has even been named, along with Play Fair!, as one of the foundational publications in the advent of modern safe sex.

Harm reduction

harm minimisationharm-reductionharm minimization
Safe sex is regarded as a harm reduction strategy aimed at reducing the risk of STI transmission.
Many schools now provide safer sex education to teen and pre-teen students, who may engage in sexual activity.

Anal sex

analanal intercourseanal penetration
According to these guidelines, safe sex was practiced by using condoms also when engaging in anal or oral sex.
Anal sex without protection of a condom is considered the riskiest form of sexual activity, and therefore health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend safe sex practices for anal sex.

Human sexual activity

sexual activitysexual behaviorsex
Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices (such as condoms) to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially HIV.
The risk of STIs can be reduced by safe sex practices, such as using condoms.

Non-penetrative sex

mutual masturbationdry humpingdry hump
Sexual behavior could be either safe (kissing, hugging, massage, body-to-body rubbing, mutual masturbation, exhibitionism, phone sex, and use of separate sex toys); possibly safe (use of condoms); and unsafe.
Although sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs) such as herpes, HPV, and pubic lice can be transmitted through non-penetrative genital-genital or genital-body sexual activity, non-penetrative sex may be used as a form of safer sex because it is less likely that body fluids (the main source of STI/STD transmission) will be exchanged during the activities, especially with regard to aspects that are exclusively non-penetrative.

Female condom

femalefemale condomsFemidom
The "female condom" may also be used effectively by the anal receiving partner.
A female condom (also known as a femidom or internal condom) is a device that is used during sexual intercourse as a barrier contraceptive to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs – such as gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV, though its protection against them is inferior to that by male condoms) and unintended pregnancy.


birth canalvaginalvaginal opening
Along with pleasure and bonding, women's sexual behavior with others (which can include heterosexual or lesbian sexual activity) can result in sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the risk of which can be reduced by recommended safe sex practices.

Oral sex

oraloral copulationfellatio
According to these guidelines, safe sex was practiced by using condoms also when engaging in anal or oral sex.
Oral sex is not necessarily an effective method of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), although some forms of STIs are believed to be less commonly spread in this way, and oral sex has been recommended as a form of safe sex.


It is believed that the term safe sex was used in the professional literature in 1984, in the content of a paper on the psychological effect that HIV/AIDS may have on homosexual men.
Safe sex is a relevant harm reduction philosophy.

Sexually transmitted infection

venereal diseasesexually transmitted diseasesexually transmitted diseases
Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices (such as condoms) to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially HIV.
Safer sex practices such as use of condoms, having a smaller number of sexual partners, and being in a relationship where each person only has sex with the other also decreases the risk.


spermicidalspermicidesspermicidal jelly
The spermicide Nonoxynol-9 has been claimed to reduce the likelihood of STI transmission.
Usually, spermicides are combined with contraceptive barrier methods such as diaphragms, condoms, cervical caps, and sponges.


pudendal cleftexternal female genitaliacunnus
The practice of safe sex can greatly reduce the risk of infection from many sexually transmitted pathogens.


oral sexgoes downCunnilinctus
Because of the aforementioned factors, medical sources advise the use of effective barrier methods when performing or receiving cunnilingus with a partner whose STI status is unknown.

World Health Organization

WHOWorld Health OrganisationWorld Health Organization (WHO)
However, a technical report by the World Health Organization has shown that Nonoxynol-9 is an irritant and can produce tiny tears in mucous membranes, which may increase the risk of transmission by offering pathogens more easy points of entry into the system.
It also tries to prevent or reduce risk factors for "health conditions associated with use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other psychoactive substances, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity and unsafe sex".


dick picsextssexted
Sexual activities, such as phone sex, cybersex, and sexting, that do not include direct contact with the skin or bodily fluids of sexual partners, carry no STI risks and, thus, are forms of safe sex.

Dental dam

rubber damdental damsrubber dams
For safer sex and to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), dental dams are sometimes suggested for use as a physical barrier against the exchange of body fluids during cunnilingus and anilingus, especially for women who have sex with women.


analingusrimminganal–oral sex
Safe sex practices may include thorough washing of the anal region before anilingus to wash away most external fecal particles and reduce the risk of contraction of fecal-sourced infection.

Cervical cancer

cervicalcervical carcinomacervix
Yet, women are recommended to practice vigilant prevention and follow-up care including Pap screenings/colposcopy, with biopsies of the remaining lower uterine segment as needed (every 3–4 months for at least 5 years) to monitor for any recurrence in addition to minimizing any new exposures to HPV through safe sex practices until one is actively trying to conceive.

Abstinence-only sex education

abstinence-onlyabstinence educationabstinence
Evidence does not support the use of abstinence-only sex education.
It often excludes other types of sexual and reproductive health education, such as birth control and safe sex.

Bareback (sex)

barebackingbarebackbareback sex
The topic primarily concerns anal sex between men who have sex with men without the use of a condom, and may be distinguished from unprotected sex because bareback sex denotes the deliberate act of forgoing condom use.

Terrence Higgins Trust

Terence Higgins TrustThe Terrence Higgins TrustTerrance Higgins Trust
In particular, the charity aims to end the transmission of HIV in the UK; to support and empower people living with HIV; to eradicate stigma and discrimination around HIV; and to promote good sexual health (including safe sex).