Do You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Analigus?

Image from LTASEX.com

Image from LTASEX.com

A lot of you would say, “Yes, you should!” However, the answer to this question may surprise you.

Most people’s concerns about giving and receiving oral sex, especially the kind performed on the butthole (called analingus), have a lot to do with cleanliness. And that’s no surprise. The bum has many functions we would rather not imagine our sex partners doing. Also, there are important health risks concerning oral sex. When it comes to HIV transmission, oral sex is less risky. But this is not saying that there is no chance of becoming infected with HIV or another STI.

It’s sexy (and polite) to be fresh and clean for anal play. We are not talking just about a clean bum. But as sex-positive advocate, Jerome Stuart Nichols discusses below, oral hygiene is also a concern.

Do you brush your teeth before and after eating ass? Should you pause after “eating” and clean your mouth before kissing your partner on the mouth?

His answer will both surprise and inform you.

This article was republished with permission from LTASEX.com. To support content like this visit Patreon.com/KeepItSexy.

BY JEROME STUART NICHOLS | LTASEX.com

While enjoying my hot shower last night, I also was thinking about all the ways I would molest my boyfriend’s body when I left my steamy cocoon. I was feeling friskier than normal and decided to start my journey to wear him out with a surprise ass eating. After a bit more thinking about that, I found myself in a conundrum: Do I brush my teeth before I eat his ass or after?

Since I’m still able to count on one hand the number of times I’ve performed analingus, this hasn’t been a question I’ve ever really thought about. Even still, it’s important to know.

I thought about the question more and let the shower do its thing. Eventually, I came up with an answer: neither.

In HIV prevention classes, they’ll sometimes suggest that you don’t brush your teeth a couple hours before you plan on giving oral sex. Brushing can cause little cuts in your gums, which makes it easier to get an infection of some sort. Since eating ass is oral sex and the ass has a ton of bacteria that shouldn’t go in your mouth, it’s just smarter to avoid doing it before.

In those same HIV prevention classes, I’ve also heard it suggested that you should avoid brushing your teeth right after, too, for the same reason. So that’s probably not the best idea, either.

If you shouldn’t really brush your teeth for about 2 hours before or after oral sex, then how does one make sure his or her mouth is clean enough to eat ass and their breath fresh enough to still kiss? My solution: mouthwash, peroxide or some other mouth rinse.

Mouthwash isn’t going to cut up your gums but you’ll still get the benefit of a minty exhale. Also, an alcohol-based rinse will even stop the bleeding if you do have cuts in your mouth from food, gingivitis or something else. If you’re planning to go straight to ass eating, this probably is your best bet.

If you don’t have mouthwash, try peroxide or a shot of liquor. Both will kill the bad breath germs in your mouth and help seal any potential cuts. Rinse with clean water or add a little baking soda for extra odor control. Don’t skip the rinsing because peroxide and alcohol shouldn’t go anywhere near the anus — it’s sensitive and will burn like a sumbitch. Also, alcohol breath isn’t much better than bad breath to some people.

Unfortunately, you won’t have the minty freshness with these options, but there shouldn’t be any bad breath problems, either. Since your mouth and most of your face will probably smell like fresh ass afterward, I don’t know that you’ll really notice or care too much.

If that fresh ass smell is undesirable after eating ass, simply wash your face and rinse with one of the options above.

If you absolutely must brush your teeth before, then you definitely should be using a dental damn (plastic wrap works too) as a barrier between your mouth and the ass on your plate. If your mouth is bleeding, it won’t have a chance to even reach the mucus membranes and cause havoc.

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jerome stuart nicholsJEROME STUART NICHOLS is the creator of LTASEX.com and a generally awesome dude. With LTASEX and his musings around the web, he seeks to help people get the most out of their sex, love and life. Through blogs, podcasts and videos he offers unique perspective, advice on living and loving in the real world. When he’s not saving the world from a life more ordinary, he enjoys cuddles, video games, narcissism, fried chicken, managing his anxiety, crochet, and gardening. Follow him @NotJeromeStuart

What Sexual Activities Put You at Risk of STIs?

Photographer: Alex Louis Engival

Photographer: Alex Louis Engival

Most sex educators and medical professionals use the term “safer” instead of “safe” sex because certain risks do not completely go away when engaging in sexual activities. No matter our age, race, economic status, sexuality, gender, relationship type, married or single, all of us are at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The most effective way to guarantee zero exposure of STIs to yourself and others is to never have sex with anyone! Now, if abstinence is not an ideal choice for you, other things to consider are the different intimate contacts that reduce the risks of exposure.

Here is a list, provided on Scarleteen, of sexual activities in which there are zero or very low risks.

  • Kissing or making out (does pose an oral herpes risk)
  • General body stroking (“feeling up”) or massage without genital contact
  • Dry sex (with both partners clothed)/clothed tribbing or frottage
  • Mutual masturbation or solo masturbation
  • Receptive anal intercourse where the insertive partner is using a sanitized sex toy/dildo, not a penis
  • Sex toy play where toys are not being shared and are cleaned properly before use
  • Phone sex or cybersex
  • Sharing fantasies and/or role playing (within the context of the activities above)

Safer sex practices, such as using protective barriers like condoms, dams and gloves, as well as being tested regularly, all reduce risks.

It’s important to know which sexual activities put you at risk of transmitting or contracting different infections. Here is a list provided by The STD Project of all the STIs you could be exposed to.

The highest risk activities are listed first; activities with the lowest risk are last.

Vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse or vaginal intercourse with a condom that has been used for anal sex:

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV/Vaginitis)
Chancroid
Chlamydia
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Gonorrhea (‘The Clap’)
Hepatitis (A, B & C)
Herpes Simplex
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV, Warts)
Intestinal Parasites
Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)
Molluscum Contagiosum
Mononucleosis (‘Mono’)
Mycoplasma Genitalium
Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU)
Pubic Lice
Scabies
Syphilis
Trichomoniasis

Oral sex (going down, eating out, blow job, giving head, rimming):

Chlamydia
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Gonorrhea
Hepatitis
Herpes Simplex
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV, Warts)
Intestinal Parasites
Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)
Molluscum Contagiosum
Mononucleosis (‘Mono’)
Mycoplasma Genitalium
Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU)
Pubic Lice
Syphilis

Manual sex (hand job, fingering):

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV/Vaginitis)
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Herpes Simplex
Human Papillomavirus (HPV, Warts)
Molluscum Contagiosum
Mononucleosis (‘Mono’)
Pubic Lice
Scabies
Syphilis

Kissing- when no open cuts or sores outside/inside the mouth are present:

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Herpes Simplex
Mononucleosis (‘Mono’)

The original list is published at The STD Project

1533882_446848112083407_2051712922_n THE STD PROJECT is a multi-award-winning independent website and progressive movement eradicating STD stigma by facilitating and encouraging awareness, education, and acceptance through story-telling and resource recommendations. Fearlessly led by Founder, Jenelle Marie, The STD Project is committed to modern-day sexual health and prevention by advocating for conscientious and informed decisions. Find them on twitter @theSTDProject

scarleteenSCARLETEEN is an independent, grassroots sexuality education and support organization and website. Founded in 1998, Scarleteen.com is visited by around three-quarters of a million diverse people each month worldwide, most between the ages of 15 and 25. It is the highest-ranked website for sex education and sexuality advice online and has held that rank through the majority of its tenure.
Find Scarleteen on twitter @Scarleteen

How to React when Your Hookup Says They’re on PrEP

hookup prep

Image from LTASex.com

The amount of people using pre-exposure prophylaxis (known as PrEP) in the US is increasing. A growing proportion of users are men.

PrEP is an antiretroviral medication to prevent HIV infection. A single pill taken once daily is highly effective at preventing HIV. PrEP prevents the virus from copying itself in your body after you’ve been exposed.

Since more and more people are choosing PrEP to take care of their sexual health, this means there is a greater chance that you will meet someone or hook up with someone who adheres to the drug. It’s important to know how best to react. Rather then freak out and cast stigma over him/her as a slutty HIV carrier, consider the following.

As Jerome Stuart Nichols, founder of LTASex, points out, a person who is using PrEP regularly is taking action and responsibility for their sexual health. Wouldn’t you rather share the bedroom with someone who is aware and takes charge of their sexual well being? Think about it.

It’s safer to have sex with someone who knows their status and manages it than with someone who doesn’t. It’s also a good sign that they are great in bed!

Here are five ways to react when your hookup tells you they are on PrEP.

This article was reprinted with permission from LTASex.com. View the original article here.

BY JEROME STUART NICHOLS | LTASEX.com

Like many other people in the last couple of years, I started taking PrEP — the daily pill that lowers one’s risk of getting HIV. Since it’s a new drug, I’ve been keeping up with the news and controversy surrounding it, and there’s been a lot. Perhaps most troubling to me, though, is the rise of PrEP haters. So, I thought I’d give everyone a handy guide on how to react when your hookup tells you they’re on PrEP.

Call them a slut:

As in, “You big slut, good for you!” I’m so proud of you. It’s important to let people know you appreciate their expert slutting skills. It takes one intelligent and thoughtful slut to seek out PrEP as a way to prevent both of you from contracting HIV. There are plenty of people who won’t even look into it because of fear or misconceptions about it. So this person probably has a take-charge attitude, which can be very important in the bedroom.

Freak out:

Feel free to freak the hell out, because this is so freaking awesome! You’ve wound up in bed with someone who’s thought about the sexual risks they’re taking, which means they’re probably going to be super thoughtful and great in bed. Or, you know, you could play it cool. You might not want to seem too excited about this fantastic development.

Ask a bunch of invasive questions:

I mean, you’re in the presence of someone who obviously knows a little something about life. If you’re not exactly sure about what PrEP is, how it works or why it’s so freaking cool, this is the perfect time to get some answers. Plus, you’ll get to know them better and get a sense of how smart they really are, which will help you make a better decision about what kind of sex you want to have. If nothing else, you’ll spend some time getting comfortable with one another, which definitely will make for better sex.

Don’t use a condom:

Or do use one, whatever. You don’t have to change your plans because they’ve told you this good news. If you wanted to use condoms before, now you’ve got an extra layer of protection. If you weren’t going to use condoms, then you’ve still got that extra layer of protection. Even if they’re total fakers and not a part of the cool kids PrEP club, you’re still taking the risks you’re comfortable with.

Make sure to save their number (or favorite them on your app):

If the sex was good, you’ll be able to call them back and get more of it. If the sex was wack, you’ll know who’s texting when they hit you up at 2 a.m. six months later.

Also, since there are many STIs other than HIV, and, you know, shit happens, you’ll be able to notify them if something comes up on your end … or penis or vagina or throat. This isn’t really PrEP specific, just good hookup technique from one proud slut to another.

Go home and take a long hot shower.

I mean after all that hot and sweaty sex, you’re bound to need a shower, right?

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jerome stuart nicholsJEROME STUART NICHOLS is the creator of LTASEX.com and a generally awesome dude. With LTASEX and his musings around the web, he seeks to help people get the most out of their sex, love and life. Through blogs, podcasts and videos he offers unique perspective, advice on living and loving in the real world. When he’s not saving the world from a life more ordinary, he enjoys cuddles, video games, narcissism, fried chicken, managing his anxiety, crochet, and gardening. Follow him @NotJeromeStuart

Some Lubes are Safer for Anal Sex

Image credit: Id-iom

Image credit: Id-iom

Educators have long recommended silicone lube for anal play. However, many also insist on using more low-cost, drug store-available water-based lubricants because water-based is compatible with all types of condoms. The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (The CSPH) reports on a pair of studies that found that silicone lubricant may actually be an all-around safer choice when it comes to anal sex.

This article is intended to illustrate the findings of these studies. Here are the main points:

  • Silicone lubricants appear to be safer for anal play than many drug-store lubricants.
  • Most of the popular water-based lubricants have low PH and high salt and/or additives in them that they can be toxic to rectal and cervical cells.
  • Lubricants that cause irritation can triple the risk of contracting STIs.
  • Silicone lubricants are less likely to carry these risks.

The following article was originally published on The CSPH website.

BY The CSPH | theCSPH.org

Finally some basic safety testing of lubricants. The International Rectal Microbicide Advocates released new study findings yesterday at the 2010 International Microbicides Conference and gave some preliminary data to prove what sex educators have been saying for a long time:

Silicone lubricants appear to be safer for anal play than most of the high profile, corner pharmacy, water based lubricants.

Here’s the basic information: Researchers identified the most commonly used sexual lubricants in a survey, then went and tested their effects on tissue and cells “in vitro”, i.e. in the lab. They found that most of the popular water based lubricants have so low of a PH and so much salt and/or additives in them that they’re actually toxic to rectal and cervical cells as well as to the healthy bacteria that keep a vagina clean and happy. On the other hand, silicone lubricants were found to be much safer and non-toxic in these same tests.

In a separate but linked study, researchers found that individuals who used lubrication for receptive anal intercourse (though they didn’t specify which types) were at greater risk of contracting an STI than those who did not. And yes people, the analysis took into consideration variables such as HIV status, gender, sexual orientation, and condom use. Individuals who used lubricants likely to irritate rectum saw their chances of contracting an STI triple.

Combined, these studies indicate that while using some lubricants can increase ones chances of contracting an STI, Silicone based lubes most likely do not.

More silicone anyone?

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csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

Is Saran Wrap OK to Use Instead of Sex (Dental) Dams?

screen-capture-16Many people do not think about protection when it comes to oral sex mostly because pregnancy is not an risk. However, STI transmission is a very real risk during oral play. Sex dams (also known as “dental dams”) are the best oral sex protection method available but they tend to be fairly expensive and not widely available.  But not to worry! There is an extremely cheap and effective alternative if you don’t have access to a commercial sex dam.

In this video from Oh Megan you’ll learn:

  • Commercial dental dams are pieces of latex (non-latex is very hard to find).
  • They can be purchased at adult stores, sex store, online and sometimes for free at sexual health clinics and from a doctor.
  • Dental dams are to be used for oral-vaginal or oral-anal contact.
  • Dental dams stop the transmission of bodily fluids.
  • In march 2010 the CDC stated that saran wrap can be used for the prevention of sexual transmitted infections and the FDA, in 1993, found that saran wrap (the brand) could be an effective barrier to viral size particles.

This video is originally posted here

BY MEGAN ANDELLOUX | ohMegan.com

megan_andellouxMEGAN ANDELLOUX  is a Clinical Sexologist and certified Sexuality Educator, listed on Wikipedia as one of the top sexuality educators in America, her innovative education programs, writing, social media presence, and ambitious speaking schedule has made her one of America’s most recognized and sought-after experts in the growing field of sexual pleasure, health, and politics.
Follow Megan on twitter @HiOhMegan

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: Wait, There’s Good News?

silver liningSome of the most contagious STIs are chlamydia and gonorrhea. The good news is that both are preventable and curable. The trick is knowing and planning to avoid them as well as getting regularly tested. This article by Corinne Rocca from Bedsider, walks you through the steps of how to deal with two of the most common STIs today.

Here are her main points to being a healthy sexual citizens:

  •   Clear communication about sex with your partner keeps you both emotionally and physically safe. Before you have sex with someone, ask them if and when they have been tested. If you may have an infection, tell your partner.
  • Use protective barriers like condoms and dental dams. When used correctly, a condom cuts the chances of getting chlamydia or gonorrhea by more than half.
  • Even if you don’t have symptoms, get tested. Testing is simple and there are apps to help you find a free clinic near you.
  • Follow through with treatment. Untreated bacterial STIs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility.
  • Remember, there is nothing sexier than taking care of your sexual health.

This post was originally published at Bedsider

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

With the right action-plan, two of the most common STIs are preventable and curable.

Two of the most common STIs (sexually transmitted infections) in the U.S., chlamydia and gonorrhea, are caused by bacteria. We know that the large majority of people who get chlamydia and gonorrhea are under age 26. It’s difficult to know exactly how common these STIs are because lots of people who have them never have symptoms and never get tested—which means they may be more common than we think. That said, we know that each year at least 1 in 50 people aged 15-24 get chlamydia, and about 1 in 200 get gonorrhea. Yup, that’s millions of Americans each year getting one of these STIs.

Part of the reason these bacterial STIs are so common is that they’re really contagious. Remember the pink-eye or lice epidemics that went through school when you were a kid? Bacterial STIs are that contagious, though fortunately they only spread during sex, not during recess. Unfortunately, if you have sex with somebody who’s got a bacterial STI and don’t use a condom or dental dam, chances are good that you’ll get it too.

Nothing takes the sexy out of sexy times like worrying about STIs, but having a plan to avoid or deal with them will keep you healthier and sexier in the long run. And, bonus, some of the most common STIs can be prevented—and, if you get one, cured.

Plan A: Prevent

Talk about it before anybody’s pants come off. It’s a lot easier to focus on a conversation about STIs before your heart is racing a mile a minute. If you’re considering having sex with someone new, ask them when they last got tested. If they haven’t been tested recently, tell them they’d better get to the clinic if they want some action. For tips on having this conversation, check out ‘It’s Your Sex Life.’ There is also this great article on why and how to talk about health with your sexual partner. You can even make getting tested together part of your extended flirtation, or share your testing results with each other using Qpid.me.

Condoms help. Can your birth control help protect you from STIs? If you use condoms, the answer is yes. (Other types of birth control are great at preventing pregnancy but don’t help with STIs.) When used correctly, a condom cuts the chances of getting chlamydia or gonorrhea by more than half. If having the talk about getting tested didn’t happen in time, you can insist on using a condom. If you need some tips for convincing someone to use a condom, check out this post for effective comebacks.

What does it mean to use a condom correctly?*

  • First, put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus.
  • Second, make sure that the condom will unroll in the right direction before it touches the tip of the penis. If the condom is already touching the penis and it’s not unrolling in the right direction, don’t flip it over—discard it and start with a fresh condom.
  • Third, pinch the tip and roll it down to the base of the penis. Use a condom the whole time you’re having sex to make sure you’re protected.

I heard I can’t get it if we only have oral sex. Sorry, not true. The bacteria that cause STIs can’t tell the difference between a throat and genitals. Kissing, on the other hand—even serious French action—seems to be safe territory.

He’s circumcised, so he’s clean, right? Nope. Recent research has shown that circumcised men may get and spread HIV more slowly compared to men who are not circumcised. But there’s no evidence that being circumcised makes any difference for getting or spreading a bacterial STI.

I’m gonna wash that STI right out of my… No dice. Washing the genitals, mouth, or butt after sex does not protect against any STI. Neither does douching.

But he/she looks totally healthy… and delicious. There’s no way to know if somebody has an STI by looking. Many people with a bacterial infection don’t even know themselves that they have it, which is one reason the CDC recommends that everybody in the U.S. under age 26 get tested for chlamydia every year.

Plan B: Get tested—and treated, if necessary

Maybe the hook up has already happened and you need to know what you can do now to protect your health. Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s important to get tested. In women, an untreated bacterial STI can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause pain and scarring in the fallopian tubes. Scars can also block the tubes and make it difficult for some women to get pregnant when they’re trying to.

Luckily, chlamydia and gonorrhea are easy to detect and easy to treat. Testing is painless. Find a clinic near you, pee in a cup, and hand it over to the clinic staff. They may be able to tell you a result right away or within a few days. If you live in certain areas, you might be able to get a home test kit for free in the mail. Getting treated is easy too—you just take the prescribed antibiotic pills.**

What about that awkward moment when you have to tell somebody else they may have an infection? ‘It’s Your Sex Life’ has more good tips for talking about it. If you can’t bear the thought of a face-to-face conversation, try sending an anonymous e-card with InSpot.

If you would prefer to go to a healthcare provider or clinic you already know—maybe a place where you’ve gotten prescription birth control or condoms in the past—you can talk to your provider about STI testing without shame. It doesn’t have to be about whether you’re worried you have an STI—it can be as simple as, “Hey, I heard I should get tested for this every year. How about it?”

Bacterial STIs are too common to ignore, and nothing’s hotter than being on top of your health.

*Check out Bedsider’s page on how to put on a condom for more detail, or download “Condom Pro” to your iPhone to practice putting one on correctly.

**You may have seen headlines recently warning of of strains of gonorrhea that are resistant to all antibiotic drugs. While this is something to keep an eye on, fortunately at this point it’s not a problem in the U.S. The CDC has more information about these strains if you want to learn more.

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bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

I May Have Herpes. Now What?

Photo credit: Vratislav Darmek

Photo credit: Vratislav Darmek

Did you know that the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is so common that many health professionals believe people should assume everyone has herpes and act accordingly?

Yet, as common as Herpes is, it is surprising that most of us remain misinformed about how the infection spreads and how it can be prevented. One prevalent myth is that there is a “good” type and a “bad” type of herpes, the latter being consider a result of irresponsible and careless sex. The truth is that there is little difference between the two strains. Having HSV of either type is not shameful, nor is it indicative of your worth as a sexual being.  As demonstrated in the article below, Herpes is at its core simply a skin condition.

If you are concerned that you’ve recently been exposed to Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), this article by the CSPH (the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health) will help you navigate what are the next best steps to take.

Here is a summary of important facts everyone should know about HSV today: 

  • While there is no cure for Herpes, it is considered a minor, yet reoccurring skin condition.
  • There are antiviral medications that may help manage outbreaks and treat or relieve symptoms.
  • HSV-1 is the most common form of Herpes and many people contract it through non-sexual contact. The majority of individuals affected HSV-1 contract it during childhood.
  • Like Human Papillomavirus (HPV), HSV can be transmitted even when condoms are used due to exposed skin at the site of contact.
  • Two thirds of people with HSV have no symptoms.  Furthermore, HSV may be transmitted even when there are no symptoms and between outbreaks. Check out this article for more about when different STIs are transmittable and when is the best time to get tested.
  • You can protect yourself from HSV by using barrier methods (condoms and dams) consistently and correctly, washing after sex with soap and water, and using lubricants during sexual activity to help prevent microtears (tissue damage that increase the risk of HSV transmission and triggering an outbreak).
  • Specifically ask for an HSV test when get STI testing. Most doctors will not test for herpes if no symptoms are present. Testing is crucial to prevention, especially considering that an estimated 80% of people with Herpes are undiagnosed.
  • For more information about living a healthy and fulfilling sex life with herpes, check out the resources at the bottom of this post.

This article was originally published on the CSPH.

BY THE CSPH | theCSPH.org

Image from the CSPH

Image from the CSPH

So I received oral sex from someone yesterday. Today that person has a cold sore. My understanding is that oral and genital herpes are caused by different strains, hsv-1 and hsv-2, and there’s also a strain that can cause both. So if it’s just hsv-1, I probs won’t get genital herpes, and if it’s the evil one that causes both, I could. This is clearly something that I should talk to my doctor about, but I was hoping you could give me some more info/tell me whether my info is at all factual. Thnx!

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, with HSV-1 infecting some 50 to 80% of people and HSV-2 affecting a projected 30% of adults.  Despite its prevalence, however, many misconceptions about this STI exist, and I hope my response will address most of these.  One herpes myth in particular that I hope to debunk is the idea that people are sexually and romantically “ruined” following HSV, which resources such as Love in the Time of Herpes help disprove.  For more information on living and loving with herpes, you refer to the resource list at the bottom of this Q&A.

If you’ve had a recent hook-up and are now concerned about having contracted HSV, feel free to skip to the final section of this article.

What is the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)?

Herpes Simplex is a category of sexually transmitted viruses that oftentimes results in infections of the skin and mucous membranes, manifesting itself in blisters/sores.  Following infection, HSV will establish latency within the nervous system, meaning the virus will attach itself to the cells of one’s sensory nerves, making it one of the few STIs for which there is no cure.  Despite this, HSV is in fact a relatively minor infection; it is literally a simple, yet recurring skin condition.

There are two strains of herpes: HSV-1, also known as “oral herpes” and “cold sores,” and HSV-2, which most often affects the genital and anal region.  Despite this colloquial distinction, it is in fact entirely possible for both strains to affect both the mouth and genitals, as well as other parts of the body such as eyes, fingers, and thighs.  Vulva-owners may also experience sores on the inside of their vaginal canal and on their cervix.  HSV-1 in particular is also associated with potential complications such as oracular herpes and conjunctivitis (pink eye).

Is There a Good/Bad Herpes?

While many people are under the impression that there is a “good” herpes and “evil” herpes, the distinction is minor: both varieties of HSV may be contracted both orally and genitally, and while HSV-1 in particular is known as “oral herpes,” it is quite frequently transmitted to the genitals.  However, it’s less common for HSV-2 to be transmitted to the mouth.

Furthermore, under the microscope, both strains are almost identical.  HSV-1 and HSV-2 also manifest themselves similarly and, following infection, becomes latent in the nervous system. Neither type of herpes is curable.

So, if the strains are so similar, why is there the misconception that there is a “good” virus and a “bad” one?  The stigma likely lies in the sheer prevalence of HSV-1, which the majority of affected individuals contract during childhood.  Due to the fact that a majority of individuals have HSV-1, it’s easy to write off the STI as “only a cold sore,” whereas the much less common genital herpes is vilified as a “sexually transmitted infection.”

What are HSV Symptoms?

Upon initial infection, HSV may cause small, painful blisters or sores at the site of infection, enlarged lymph nodes of the neck or groin, decreased appetite, muscle aches, general malaise, burning while urinating, and fever.  The first outbreak generally occurs within two days to two weeks after transmission or contact with infected areas, and symptoms can be quite severe should they occur at all.

A second outbreak may occur weeks to months following the first.  Subsequent outbreaks are often less painful and disruptive, and symptoms may grow more mild over time.  Some individuals, particularly those with HSV-1, may not experience outbreaks for months or years at a time.  The average rate of outbreaks for HSV-2 is four times a year.

With that said, not all people who have contracted HSV experience symptoms.  Indeed, estimates suggest that two thirds of people with HSV have no symptoms or mild enough symptoms that the infection goes unnoticed.  Furthermore, HSV may be transmitted even when there are no symptoms and between outbreaks; one study shows that more than half of asymptomatic HSV-2 carriers exhibit viral shedding.  Viral shedding is how HSV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact even without contact with open sores or bodily fluids.

Finally, symptoms of an oncoming outbreak include fatigue and itching, tingling, and discomfort at the site of the outbreak.  HSV outbreaks can be triggered by a number of sources, including but not limited to: physical and emotional stress, sun exposure, injury, a compromised immune system, surgery, hormone changes such as those that occur during the menstrual cycle, and even the common cold.

How is HSV Contracted?

Herpes Simplex is transmitted through direct contact with a lesion, or from the body fluid of or skin-to-skin contact with an individual with HSV.  Unlike most other STIs, HSV may be contracted through kissing and even sharing drinks; it’s this reason that half of children under the age of six are infected with HSV-1.  Furthermore, like Human Papillomavirus(HPV), HSV can be transmitted even when condoms are used due to exposed skin at the site of contact.

As I previously discussed, many people who come in contact with HSV do not, in fact, show symptoms, or otherwise have symptoms so mild they go unnoticed.  However, whether the individual is asymptomatic or between outbreaks, there is still a risk of transmission.  Indeed, it is suggested that up to 70% of HSV-2 transmissions occur in the absence of symptoms.

It is also important to remember that while HSV-1 and HSV-2 are technically two distinct viruses, oral herpes may be contracted from the genitals, and genitals may contract oral herpes. Research suggests that HSV-1 in particular is commonly transmitted through unprotected oral sex, with up to half of all new cases of genital herpes occurring as a result of HSV-1.

Finally, it should be noted that vagina-owners more easily contract genital HSV than penis-owners.  Studies also suggest that HSV increases the risk of HIV transmission, due to the existence of open sores.

How Can I Prevent HSV Contraction/Transmission?

There are three main ways people can help prevent the contraction and transmission of HSV: use barrier methods during sexual activity; know your status and communicate it with sexual partners; and if you’ve already contracted HSV, consider managing future outbreaks through antiviral medication.

Other ways to help limit the possibility of HSV-2 contraction and transmission include sexual abstinence, washing after sex with soap and water, and using lubricants during sexual activity to help prevent microtears (tissue damage that increase the risk of HSV transmission and triggering an outbreak).

Unfortunately, due to the prevalence of HSV-1, it can be incredibly difficult to prevent transmission.  However, if you are concerned about contracting or spreading oral herpes, you can avoid kissing people as well as avoid sharing items like kitchen utensils and lip balms, namely when a cold sore is present or you feel one forming.  With that said, I understand that kissing for many people is an important component to sexual activity, but not kissing doesn’t have to be unsexy or awkward.  Whether you’re in a monogamous relationship or the type to hook-up casually and participate in orgies, you can sexualize preventative measures by incorporating an intentional “no kissing on the mouth” policy in your play, which may encourage some creative measures, or even using gags.

For both HSV-1 and HSV-2, contact with the sites of outbreak and/or kissing should be stopped as soon as individuals feel the warning signs of an outbreak.  You shouldn’t touch a sore; doing so runs the risk of transmitting the infection to another body part.  If you do touch the sore, wash your hands with soap and water.  Wait until seven days after the sore heals before resuming contact with the mouth, genitals, or anus.

Barrier Methods

While the unfortunate truth is that even condoms do not completely protect against HSV transmission, studies show that condoms do, in fact, provide considerable protection, in particular to susceptible vagina-owners.  For this reason, barrier methods are an incredibly important component of limiting the possibility of contractions and transmission of HSV.

In addition to external condoms, internal condoms are a great alternative barrier method.  Internal condoms potentially provide greater protection from HSV transmission, as they also provide coverage for the vulva and outer anus, thereby reducing the amount of skin-to-skin contact.

Due to the nature of HSV, barrier methods should be used during not only penetrative sexual activity, but also any sexual activity that engages with the mouth, genitals, and anal region.  This includes skin-to-skin frottage, also known as dry-humping; stimulation with one’s hands, during which latex gloves can be used; and oral sex.  Safer oral sex consists of using condoms over penises and dental dams over the vulva and anus.

Know Your Status

As with all sexually transmitted diseases, one of the best things you can do to prevent contraction and transmission is to know your status.  This can happen by being tested at a local medical care provider.  With that said, while providers consistently test for STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, HSV is rarely tested for unless the individual is exhibiting signs of an outbreak.  For this reason, you’ll likely have to explicitly request an HSV test, which I will discuss later.

In addition to being aware of your STI status, it’s important to use that knowledge to empower you in your relationships by discussing STI testing and your status with sexual partners.  Not only is your status important, theirs is too!  Although this can be an intimidating conversation to initiate, I nevertheless strongly recommend that you do so; this shouldn’t be understood as a sign of distrust, but rather an important step in keeping you and your partner healthy.  This is especially important considering an estimated 80% of people with herpes are undiagnosed.

Consider Antiviral Medications

It’s important to note that while there is no cure for either type of HSV, there are antiviral medications that may help manage outbreaks and treat or relieve symptoms.  If, following an outbreak and/or testing, you learn that you have HSV-2 in particular, you may want to consider such medications.

There are currently three kinds of herpes antiviral drugs, all of which are available in pill form and can be taken for two purposes: treatment for outbreaks (to shorten duration and severity of symptoms), and suppressive therapy (to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks).

I’m Worried I Contracted HSV – What Now?

When it’s all said and done, it’s understandable that you may be worried about your hook-up’s cold sore.  For this reason, regardless of if you start showing symptoms of HSV, I suggest that you contact your medical care provider to discuss your situation and to get a professional opinion on the matter.

With that said, standard STI testing often does not include testing for HSV unless the patient has a blister.  This is because the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention does not currently recommend routine HSV testing for those in the general population who don’t exhibit symptoms.  If you are exhibiting sores, however, you should visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible as the test is an easy viral culture swab.  Unfortunately, false negatives are very common with this method.

If you are not exhibiting symptoms, you can still get tested.  Serologic, or blood, exams will allow your medical care provider to test for HSV.  There are two ways blood can be tested for HSV: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and antibody tests.  The PCR test is the most accurate, and can type which strain of HSV you have.  Antibody tests are less reliable and may yield false positives, so this may be a topic you want to discuss with your healthcare provider when being tested.

Finally, I want to stress that having herpes isn’t the end of the world. Figures suggest that some 50 million people in the United States alone have HSV-2, with even more people having HSV-1.  Considering how common it is, it is unlikely that you will be the only person you know with HSV, and many health professionals are of the opinion that people should assume that everyone has herpes and act accordingly.

Furthermore, people with herpes continue to have healthy, fulfilling sex lives and happy relationships.  In the greater scheme of things, herpes is merely a minor convenience for most couples.  Having HSV of either sort is not shameful, nor is it indicative of your worth as a person or sexual being.  Herpes is at its core simply a skin condition.

If you have any other questions about HSV, you can call the National Herpes Hotline at 919.361.8488.  In addition, you can contact the Herpes Resource Center at 1.800.230.6039.
For more information on leading healthy, fulfilling (sex) lives with herpes, you can visit the following websites:

HC Support Network: the largest and most active support website for people with herpes

(H)Life: a community forum that seeks to serve as a roadmap and guide for living and loving with herpes

How to Have a Sex Life Despite Having Herpes, by Dr. Laura Berman

Genital Herpes Sex Advice and Suggestions

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csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

4 STI Myths That Get In The Way of a Healthier Sex Life

Image from Bedsider.org

Image from Bedsider.org

Think you know everything you need to know about STIs? You might be surprised.

There is a lot of misinformation about sexual health and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) running amok. You’ve probably heard some of them (such as the myth that you can get an STI from a toilet seat). Here is Jenelle Marie, founder of the The STD Project, equipped to bust four common myths about STIs that all of us have heard before, and too many of us continue to believe.

Here are four myths about STIs that you need to watch out for:

1) A lot of people believe contracting an STI won’t happen to them. The fact is that STIs are common. 1 in 2 people will contract an STI before the age of 25.
2) Most STIs are asymptomatic and most people who have an infection are not aware of it.
3) Contrary to popular belief, oral and anal sex are not safer forms of sex. Both pose STI risks.
4) Even if you and your partner have been tested for STIs there are still risks. It’s impossible to be tested for everything. There are several common STIs for which there are either no commercial tests, or for which the tests are only accurate during an outbreak.

This article was originally published on Bedsider.

BY JENELLE MARIE at BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Safer sex—comprehensive safer sex, that is—includes more than just using barriers consistently and correctly. You also need to talk about risk in advance of any sexual activity.

That’s where most people get stuck. As soon as someone utters the letters S-T-I (short for sexually transmitted infection) in sequence, people run for the hills. It can be especially daunting to bring up STIs with someone you don’t know very well. And even if you’ve known the person for forever, that conversation can still be awkward.

Whatever the scenario, having this conversation is crucial, so don’t let these 4 common misconceptions get in the way of your healthy sex life.

1. An STI won’t happen to me.

Think you don’t need to go there? Think again. The most common myth about STIs is that they won’t happen to you—they only happen to certain kinds of people, right? Not right. STIs don’t categorize people like we do.

The truth is, 1 in 2 people will contract an STI by the time they reach the age of 25—some curable, some not. An astounding 20 million people in the U.S. contract an STI every year, and those are only the STIs which get reported. That number is likely much higher due to under-reporting and many STIs not getting reported at all—some are diagnosed visually, and others are not documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of the 30-plus STIs out there, the CDC only reports on about 8 of them. Things like pubic lice, scabies, and HPV infections among guys are not part of those numbers.

In so far as HPV is concerned, outside of the visual symptoms of genital warts caused by low-risk HPV strains, there’s no way to know if a man has it since he can’t be tested for it. This is shocking, I know—and it’s one of the reasons why by the age of 50, at least 80% of women will have acquired the infection.

Keep in mind, HPV is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, so even the most careful barrier-user is still at risk of contracting HPV, because barriers do not always cover all contact areas. If you’re under 26, another good option for preventing HPV is Gardasil, a vaccine that protects against the four most common HPV strains.

2. I’ll know if I get an STI—or if someone I’m seeing has one.

It’d be great if you could tell who had an STI and who didn’t, if we (I’m living with genital herpes) wore some kind of warning label or if you knew just by the type of person we were. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of “scarlet-lettering”; it didn’t bode well for Hester Prynne, and it doesn’t suit the vast number of people living with an STI, especially since most are actually entirely unaware they have one.

The most common symptom of all STIs is no symptom at all. STIs are often asymptomatic or display such mild symptoms they go unnoticed and/or are mistaken for something else. For that reason, most people with an STI are unaware they have one.

When STIs are asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms, they’re still transmittable to others—and there’s no guarantee the STI will remain asymptomatic in the newly infected individual. Recognizable symptom or not, STIs can wreak havoc internally long before we’re aware of their effects; untreated asymptomatic STIs can pose long-term health risks like liver damage (eg. Hepatitis) and infertility (eg. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea).

Contrary to popular belief, things like appearance and cleanliness are not indicators of infection—outside the obvious visible symptoms when they’re present. Hygiene is still important to help safeguard you against things like the common cold and the flu, of course, but some traditional practices such as douching after sex or brushing your teeth after a make-out session can actually make you more susceptible to STIs.

3. If I just do oral/anal sex or have sex with a virgin, I’m safe.

Anal sex might seem like a viable option if you’re concerned about pregnancy or losing your virginity in the traditional vaginal penetration sense; however, unprotected anal sex poses one of the highest STI risks. The anal cavity is comprised of permeable mucous membranes which can provide an entry point for infection. Due to the nature of sexual activity involving the anus, small tears and cuts are common—especially if you’re not using enough lube—so, additional points of entry present infection opportunities.

Choosing to have oral sex or engaging in activities with someone who’s only had oral sex might also seem like a way to lower your risk, but the risk of contracting an STI is still high. The mouth too is made up of mucous membranes, and something as common as a cold sore—herpes (usually HSV1)—can be transmitted to the genitals or vice versa.

4. We’ve both been tested, so we’re safe.

Getting tested is really important. But even if someone says they’ve been tested—and definitely if they say they’ve been tested for all STIs—it’s important to ask additional questions.

Anyone who says they’ve been tested for all STIs and is “clean” is giving you incorrect information right off of the bat. Not all STIs can be tested for—for some there just aren’t tests, or they can only be diagnosed if there are visual symptoms. Even most comprehensive STI tests only test for a handful of STIs—usually HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.

Pap smears test for cervical abnormalities caused by high-risk types of HPV. They don’t detect any other STIs—or low-risk strains of HPV for that matter.

The Take-Away.

If you have fallen prey to one or more of these myths, don’t beat yourself up. Most people think they know about STIs because they’ve heard a lot of misleading information. I was one of them. Before I contracted genital herpes at a young age, I thought STIs only happened to certain types of people. I thought I was practicing “safe” sex by getting on the pill and I had no idea of the level of risk involved in my sexual activities while I was still a virgin in the traditional sense—and even later, once I became “officially” sexually active. To hear more of my story and to gather some practical tips about how to practice comprehensive safer sex, read my 3-part series on Bedsider’s Tumblr!

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1533882_446848112083407_2051712922_n THE STD PROJECT is a multi-award-winning independent website and progressive movement eradicating STD stigma by facilitating and encouraging awareness, education, and acceptance through story-telling and resource recommendations. Fearlessly led by Founder, Jenelle Marie, The STD Project is committed to modern-day sexual health and prevention by advocating for conscientious and informed decisions. Find them on twitter @theSTDProject

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

How To Avoid 6 Common Condom Problems

Image from Bedsider

Image from Bedsider

Condom trouble? First, don’t give up. Second, make sure you’re using the right condoms the right way.

Condoms are incredible little devices. They are one of the most effective forms of birth control and the only form of protection against many STIs. With correct and consistent use, condom are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, taking into account common misuses of condoms, researchers estimate that with “typical use” condoms are 85% effective.

In the article below, Bedsider and Melissa White team up to explain what exactly are those common condom mistakes that reduce condom effectiveness. Turns out, much of it has to do with condom size and people wearing the wrong condom.

There are many ways to reduce the risk of condom malfunction. The first step is to be aware of those common mistakes:

  • Condoms breaking? Check the expiry date. Store them properly. Did you leave room at the tip? Are they too small? Are you using lube?
  • Condom leaking? Are you pulling out and removing the condom promptly after ejaculation? Is the condom too big?
  • Condom slipped off inside you or your partner? It’s probably the wrong size condom.
  • Lost the erection? Sounds like you need a more tailored condom. Or you might need to add some sexy tips to your condom repertoire.
  • Itchy and irritated? You may be sensitive to latex.
  • And please, never use anything (like a plastic bag) to substitute a certified condom.

This article was originally published here.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

We’ve all been there. Things are heating up and you both know exactly what you want to happen next. One of you whispers those five crucial words: “Do you have a condom?” and the other produces one (or, better still, several) triumphantly. You’re happily getting it on when you realize the condom tore or slipped off…

Condoms are easy, cheap, and offer protection against STIs and accidental pregnancy. Here’s the thing—they only work if you use them the right way. To help you do that, we’ve teamed up with Melissa White, CEO and founder of Lucky Bloke, to tell you how to avoid the six most common condom problems.

1. Help—the condom broke!

The good news is there are many ways to reduce the chance of a condom breaking. If you find yourself dealing with a broken condom situation, here’s what to do.

What now? If you realize right away (before anyone has gotten close to climaxing) that the condom broke, you can throw out the broken condom and try another one. Before you start again though you should make sure there isn’t something wrong with your condoms. Are the packages intact? Are your condoms expired? Were they exposed to extreme heat or cold? If not, you can use a new condom and just watch out for breakage.

If there’s a possibility of preejaculate or ejaculate, the safest thing to do is take emergency contraception (EC). You can take EC up to five days after you have unprotected sex but most kinds work better the sooner you take them. Here’s how to get some. You may also want to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if you’re not sure of your partner’s status. (And remember, you definitely can’t tell if someone has an STI just by looking!)

So it doesn’t happen again: Condoms can work very well when you use them right. If you’ve had a condom break, here are a few things to check to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • Size. When someone repeatedly has experiences with condoms breaking, it may mean the condom is too small. This doesn’t always mean a guy requires a large condom, though. A different kind of standard (or medium) size may work.
  • Lube. Using lube can make using a condom a lot more pleasurable. Pro-tip—apply a small amount of lube to the penis before applying the condom. (If you are using the proper size condom, this should not cause the condom to slip.) Use a generous application of lube to the outside.
  • Packaging. It’s important to make sure you’re opening the condom package carefully. We know you may be tempted to rip it open or use your teeth to get things going asap, but opening the package the wrong way can tear the condom.
  • Putting it on. To make sure you put the condom on correctly, be sure to pinch the tip while rolling it on. It’s important to leave room room for the finale!

2. Uh oh…looks like the condom leaked.

If you notice semen anywhere outside the condom during sex or after, it’s time to take extra steps to make sure you don’t get pregnant.

What now? Again, taking EC as soon as possible is the best way to reduce your risk of accidental pregnancy. Getting tested for STIs is a good idea if you don’t know your partner’s status.

So it doesn’t happen again: If a condom is leaking from the base it’s probably too big. This happens more often than one might think, as 35% of men require a smaller than standard condoms. Smaller condoms are rarely available at your local store but you can get them through websites like Lucky Bloke, Condomania, and Condom Jungle. By simply switching to a condom that fits properly you will avoid this situation in the future. If you’re using a standard condom, try small. If you’re using a large condom, try standard.

If the condom is leaking from the top or the middle, it could have a tear—see the section above on broken condoms.

3. The condom fell off…and got stuck!

This one can be scary, especially if you have trouble finding and retrieving the condom. Don’t panic.

What now? If the condom falls off, once again it’s time to take EC and go for STI testing. If it gets stuck inside you or your partner, here’s Cosmo’s advice: “lie back, relax, and insert one or two fingers inside of you and try to pull it out”. Don’t panic if you have trouble getting the condom out—hopefully it will come out on its own after a bit. If it doesn’t, head to your health care provider to remove it.

So it doesn’t happen again: This is another situation where the condom is probably too big—try a smaller size.

4. The condom doesn’t feel good and he can’t get hard.

If a condom is too tight or uncomfortable, he can lose his erection. It’s not you, it’s the condom, so don’t feel embarrassed—you can still save the night!

What now? There’s always the classic midnight condom run to get a different kind of condom, but if that’s not an option, opt for a cuddle and a movie and next time you hang out, come prepared.

So it doesn’t happen again: Again, it’s all about the fit. Even if a condom is not too tight, sometimes the fit is just uncomfortable. A good way to avoid this is to try out different kinds of condoms. (We like the sound of that!) Lucky Bloke has a “Not Sure What Size to Buy” condom sampler if you think size could be the issue. They also offer lots of other samplers if you just want to explore your options. You can also get variety packs through a bunch of other online retailers like Amazon, Condom Jungle, Sustain, and Condomania.

5. I think we’re allergic to condoms…

If you’re getting down and dirty and one of you starts getting itchy and irritated, it may be an allergic reaction to the condom you’re using.

What now? Give it a rest for the time-being and ditch the condom you’re using—no one wants to feel irritated! Go see your health care provider to find out what’s going on down there.

So it doesn’t happen again: If you’re allergic to latex, there are some great alternatives out there that protect from STIs and pregnancy and offer amazing sensitivity, heightened feeling, and heat transfer. Note that lambskin condoms, while in the non-latex category, are not ideal for everyone since they protect against pregnancy but not against STIs like HIV. Other non-latex condoms provide dual protection from pregnancy and STIs.

6. But won’t this cling wrap do the same thing?

Everybody knows someone who knows someone who used a plastic bag that one time. This is not a good idea. It seems like a no-brainer, but if you are turned on and can’t find a condom anywhere, cling wrap starts to sound more appealing. If you find yourself facing a spontaneous decision about whether to use anything for a condom other than a real condom, here’s what to do.

What now: Stop right there. Any material other than an actual condom will not work to prevent pregnancy and protect you from STIs. Go on a spontaneous condom run—you’d be surprised where you can find condoms!

So it doesn’t happen again: Your best bet for preventing this problem in the future is to carry condoms with you. They’re easy to tuck away into pockets and purses and it’s sexy to be prepared. Just make sure you don’t keep them too long in a pocket or purse or expose them to extreme temperatures.

What we’ve learned…

Most of these mishaps could be avoided by using the proper size condom. If your partner needs a snugger-fit condom, you might feel uncomfortable about approaching the subject. “I’d always suggest focusing on the pleasure aspect—you both will benefit.” says Melissa. “If you are using a condom that fits, your focus will be on each other and not on the condom.”

If you are having condom woes, a better fit condom—or a higher-quality condom—is going to be the solution in most cases. And if you’re looking to explore your condom options, Lucky Bloke is offering a 25% discount for all their products with the coupon code BEDSIDER.

Unsure what size

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

Good to Know: STI Prevention Hacks

Photo credit: Peter Gerdes

Photo credit: Peter Gerdes

There is nothing worse than getting your sexy on only to realize that you don’t have any condoms (or dams). Preparation makes safer sex very easy to practice without interrupting your groove.

But did you know that there are quick solutions if you do find yourself unprepared?

Bedsider here sharing five ways to expedite your access to safer sex tools. Only one thing we would add to this list: Purchase easy-travel pillow packs of lube so that you can have them with you anywhere you go.

This post was originally published here.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Think STI prevention kills the mood? Or that it’s always kind of a hassle? No way.

A little planning makes it very easy to protect yourself against an unintentional pregnancy and STIs. But what do you do when there’s no time to plan ahead and you really, really want to have sex? These hacks can help you stay safe in the moment without losing a minute of sexy time.

Stay healthy and happy,
Bedsider

P.S. Curious about the implant or shot? Our Real Stories feature women and men talking about the methods they use.

condom ad condoms too loose

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider