80 percent of all sexually active adults will get an sexually transmitted disease (STI) at some point in their lives. STIs are stigmatised and shamed, which simply contributes to them being spread more. Having an STI is not a death sentence or something to be ashamed of, but they can be quite unpleasant. There are a few things you can do to lower your chances of getting an STI.
Use condoms or dental dams. I know I always bang (heyyy) on about this, but seriously. Unless you are exclusive with the person you’re sleeping with, or have recently both had STI checks, always use some form of barrier protection.
If you shave, wax, pluck, epilate or otherwise remove or alter your pubic hair, don’t do so the day of having sex. I know it’s part of the pre-town shower ritual, but waxing or shaving creates tiny tears in the skin, which gives more chance for an infection to get in. Instead, do your thang to your pubic hair the day or so before.
In this vein, use lube! Lube reduces irritation and chafing and reduces the risk of tears. It’s a common misunderstanding that lube is only useful for anal sex, but it’s great for all types of sex. Except oral. I don’t recommend ingesting lube (though most are perfectly safe). When they say blueberry flavoured, they lie. I’ve never had blueberries that taste quite like plastic, cough medicine and vagina juices before.
About vaginas: if you have one, always pee after sex. I know you’re warm and comfy and just want to go to sleep now, but get up and go to the bathroom. When things are all up in there, whether it’s fingers or objects or penises, bacteria can get pushed into the urethra, causing a urinary tract infection (UTI), which are not fun. All the cranberry juice you’ll be drinking to try get rid of it will make you need to pee all the time anyway.
If you have had sex with someone new and didn’t use a condom (or even if you did), it’s a good idea to make an appointment at Family Planning or Student Health and go get a check-up. They’re all lovely, and if you have contracted something, the majority of STIs these days are treatable. If you wait about two weeks for your appointment, then anything that is going to show up will already be there, so results will be conclusive and give you some peace of mind.