Sexual intimacy is an important part of many people’s lives and relationships. When done in a safe, comfortable, and respectful manner, sex can be an extremely powerful and romantic bonding experience between people, as well as providing feelings of great pleasure and euphoria.
However, sexual intercourse is inherently a very vulnerable act between people and imposes a great deal of risk on a person’s physical and emotional health. Knowing the risks of sexual intercourse is a very important part of making sure sex is as enjoyable and safe as possible. The following is everything you need to keep in mind to ensure your next sexual experience is a positive one.
The Importance of Contraceptives
Contraceptives refer to all methods of preventing pregnancy, but contraceptives can also prevent the intermixing of sexual fluids in general, which is a vital part of avoiding sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Contraceptives come in many forms for both men and women, including surgery and hormonal treatments that can help prevent insemination.
However, only contraceptives that involve physical barriers to prevent sexual fluids from entering bodily cavities can help prevent STIs. The most common way to prevent the transmission of sexual fluids is the use of a condom. Condoms exist for both men and women, and they involve a physical latex barrier that prevents sexual fluid from entering a bodily cavity.
It’s important to note that STIs can be transmitted by sexual fluid through any bodily cavity, including the mouth, vagina, and anus, as well as through cuts in the skin. It’s important to ensure that appropriate measures are used in any circumstance where sexual fluid can enter the body.
Consent and Comfort
Pregnancy and STIs are not the only risks involved in sexual intercourse. Any form of sexual intercourse involves a degree of vulnerability for all participants and a mutual trust that must be respected. The ability to control what happens to your own body is a fundamental human right owed to every individual.
This means that consent from all participants is paramount at every moment proceeding and during sexual intercourse. You have the right to withdraw consent at any moment during sex. If your partner withdraws consent during sex, you must stop immediately.
It is also essential that you remain attentive to your partner during sex. If it seems as though your partner is uncomfortable or is not enjoying the experience, you should stop immediately, even if they have not explicitly withdrawn consent.
It is important that boundaries are respected at every stage proceeding and during sexual intercourse. You should never pressure someone else to have sex if they don’t want to. Communication and respect are the most important parts of any relationship, including a sexual one.
Please remember that it is never okay when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries or consent. Violation of consent is sexual assault and a crime.
Hygiene and Cleanliness
Sex naturally involves very intimate contact between participants. It is important that you clean yourself thoroughly before and after sexual intercourse. Sweat and other bodily fluids in a warm environment promote the growth of bacteria and increase the chance of infection, which can result in you and other participants becoming ill.
Remaining clean during and after sex also helps to prevent odors and other unpleasant phenomena, which may make a sexual experience less enjoyable. Be sure to clean bodily cavities and other harder-to-reach areas, especially thoroughly before and after sex, as well as parts of your body directly involved during intercourse.
The Morning After
Sometimes, even with the information necessary to have safe sex, it’s easy to get caught in the moment and forget to use appropriate contraceptives to safeguard against pregnancy or STIs before sexual intercourse. If you happen to end up in this situation, there are methods you can use to minimize the risk of unwanted consequences.
Morning-after pills can be taken to prevent or delay ovulation, which reduces the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex. You should also visit a doctor’s office and ask about an STI screening if you suspect that you may have been exposed to an infection. Take special care to wash parts of your body that were exposed to sexual fluids to help minimize the chance of bacterial growth later on.
Long Term Health
Healthy sexual habits long term can also play a big role in ensuring safe sexual intercourse. Restricting sexual activity to one or few partners you trust can drastically reduce the chances of contracting an STI, as well as help to make sure your boundaries are respected during sex. Scheduled visits to a gynecologist and regular STI testing are also very important in promoting safe sex.
Sex is a wonderful and natural part of life. By following these guidelines on safer sex practices, you can help ensure that you and your partners are as safe as possible from the risks of sexual activity. Paying attention to the risks of sexual intercourse not only benefits you, but also your sexual partners as well. In turn, you can enjoy a safer, happier, and more fulfilling intimate life for many years to come.