Practicing safe sex greatly reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. While no methods of safe sex, with the exception of abstinence, are 100% effective if you do engage it sexual activity, it is better to use protection because doing so is definitely much safer than not using any form of protection. While various forms of protection are not foolproof, using them will greatly reduce your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or an unwanted pregnancy. While there are a multitude of safe sex methods available this article will outline only a fraction of these methods including, abstinence and monogamy, both male and female condoms, and oral contraception.Waste of time! Female hands rips Safe Sex Tips sign royalty-free stock photo

The only truly safe method of preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is abstinence. This is the only safe sex method that is 100% effective against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. While abstinence may be a completely foolproof safe sex method, it is also not the chosen safe sex method for very many people. If you are unwilling to engage in abstinence as a safe sex method, it is highly recommended that you at least only engage in sexual activities with a monogamous partner. Monogamy means that neither you nor your partner are engaging in sexual activity with anyone else besides each other. Monogamy is not an effective method of birth control but it is effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases. As long as you and your partner are free of diseases, you will remain that way for at least as long as you remain monogamous. Abstinence and monogamy are both highly effective safe sex methods. Abstinence is effective at preventing both pregnancy and diseases while monogamy helps to prevent diseases only.

In terms of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, the condom is one the only truly effective methods available. If used properly condoms can be very effective in preventing not only sexually transmitted diseases but also unwanted pregnancies. Male condoms are relatively inexpensive and are readily available in drug stores, grocery stores and even vending machines. Condoms are also available in both male and female versions. The male condom is the one most often used. The male condom is a thin sheath, usually made of latex that fits over the penis and acts as a barrier to the exchange of bodily fluids during intercourse. If used correctly every time the male condom is 97%-98% effective against preventing pregnancy and is also highly effective in terms of preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Even if they are not used correctly condemns are still 88%-90% effective in terms of preventing pregnancy. While condoms, if used correctly, are highly effective birth control methods as well as sexually transmitted disease deterrents, they are still not 100% reliable and you should understand that you still run the risk of pregnancy or disease even if you are using a condom. The female condom is a polyurethane sheath that lines the entire vagina. The closed end is inserted into the vagina and the open end remains outside the body. The female condom has only been available since the 1990s and its high cost and scarce availability contribute to it not being used widely as a safe sex method. Both male and female condoms are effective methods for both avoiding pregnancy and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

Use of oral contraception such as birth control pills is highly effective for preventing pregnancy but is not useful in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Oral contraception is a pill that is taken daily and utilizes hormonal supplements to prevent pregnancy by creating an environment that is not conducive to fertilization. When used correctly the pill is 97%-99 effective in preventing pregnancy but does absolutely nothing to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. There are many side effects to using the pill but most of these side effects are relatively mild. Some side effects include weight changes, nausea, irritability and breast tenderness. Although none of these side effects are severe, fortunately, many of them can also be avoided all together. There are a variety of pills available on the market today and these pills vary in the amount of hormones that they contain. If you are experiencing unwanted side effects with one version of the pill, speak to your doctor about your discomfort and they will probably be able to recommend another brand that will eliminate or diminish these side effects. While oral contraception is easy to use, free of severe side effects and highly effective against preventing pregnancy, it is not at all effective against preventing sexually transmitted diseases and if you are not positive that your partner is free of disease, you should always use another safe sex method to prevent these diseases.

Practicing safe sex can involve taking measures to avoid pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases or both. While abstinence is the only safe sex method that is 100% effective against pregnancy and sexually transmitted there are other highly effective options for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Monogamy with a disease free partner and condoms can help to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms along with birth control pills are also effective in terms of preventing pregnancy.

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