8 Tips for Safer, Smarter Hook Ups

Image from Bedsider

Image from Bedsider

If you’re getting it on and the getting is good, here are some ways to keep it safe.

Hooking up or “picking up” is suppose to be a fun way to explore your sexuality. And there is no shame in experiencing pleasure for pleasure sake. But as with any exploration, there is a set of basic rules that can keep you safe- both emotionally and physically.

We’re sex-positive here, so we figure if you decide hooking up is the thing for you we want to provide you with ways to do it safely and keep a smile on your face.

Here are Besider’s 8 Tips for Safer, Smarter Hook Ups.

In summary:

  • Before you hook up, get tested and know your status
  • Think and plan ahead about birth control and STI protection methods. Come prepared with more than one condom and/or sex dam
  • Always meet in public first
  • Know your boundaries and be able to communicate them clearly
  • Have an exit strategy in place in case things don’t feel right

This article was originally published on Bedsider.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Your friend wants to set you up on a blind date. Or you get a notification on your phone that you’ve got a match. Or you’re getting ready to go out, and that cute someone you’ve been talking to might be there. All situations that could potentially lead to fun; all situations that could potentially lead to sex. If a hookup might be in your future, here are some things to consider before, during, and after getting it on.

1. (STI) status update

Before you hook up, know your status for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Getting tested is a solid move because some STIs don’t show any symptoms, so you might not know if you have one—and leaving an STI untreated can lead to more serious problems. Here’s an extensive list of places to get tested for free, based on your location. If you use Tinder, you can take advantage of a new locator feature to find free places to get tested.

2. Birth control on lock

If you don’t want to become pregnant but you might have sex, make sure you are using a method of birth control that works for you. Some methods are more party-ready than others, so if drinking is part of the plan, consider methods that don’t require action right as things get steamy. And while you’re thinking ahead, toss some condoms in your bag for extra protection. (More on that in tip 6.)

3. Short and sweet, with a backup plan

Meeting someone new and not sure what to expect? It might be best to suggest date ideas that don’t require a long time commitment. Meet up for a drink or walk your dog together, and maybe have a suggestion in mind for a follow-up activity if things go well. On the flip side, if you’re really feeling the need to remove yourself from the situation, you can always text a friend to call you with an ‘emergency.’

4. Set your boundaries

Hooking up can mean sooo many different things. Think about what you are down for before you meet up with someone—if sex isn’t in the game plan, there are still plenty of ways to heat things up. Be direct about what you’re into and what you want. Communicating openly with your partner can help make your boundaries clear. (Bonus: It can also make sex hotter.)

A crucial note: if anything sexual happens that you or your partner don’t consent to, that is sexual assault. Here’s more information about sexual assault and what to do if it happens to you.

5. Sharing is (not always) caring

Yep, we’re talking STIs again. If you decide to take things up a notch, now is the time to whip out one of those bad boys you stuck in your bag earlier. Condoms are the only form of birth control that protect against STIs, so it’s worth rolling on a rubber even if you’re using another birth control method.

Remember you’ll need to use a condom or dental dam for any kind of sex—oral, anal, or vaginal—to make sure you’re covered against all STIs. Flavored condoms can be a great way to make safer oral sex more fun (and you can cut them in half to convert them into dental dams).

6. Safe travels

There are so many safety apps out there—some rely on friends to remotely track your journey while others automatically call the police if you are unable to interact with the app. But if you are feeling really sketchy about the trip, the best thing to do is spring for a ride.

7. Whoops

The condom broke. You forgot your pill. If there is a chance that a little swimmer has foiled your best intentions, that’s what emergency contraception (EC) is for. Most EC options work best if you use them ASAP, so it might be a good idea to buy some to have around before you need it. Or use our locator to find EC near you.

8. For next time…

It’s never a bad idea to stop and take stock. If your hookup was 10/10-would-do-again but you’re not looking for a relationship, continue to celebrate your no-strings-attached life. If the chemistry from last night has kept you thinking, maybe it’s worth reaching out to that person again. If this was one in a series of hookups that have left you feeling ‘ehhh,’ it may be time to evaluate whether what you’re doing is still working for you.

Be generous to yourself, make the choices that feel right, and remember that your choices shouldn’t define you. If you take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way, whether it’s embracing your single status, reveling in romance, or anything in between.

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

Emergency Contraceptives: Setting The Record Straight

Photograph: Gilbert Rodriguez

Photograph: Gilbert Rodriguez

BY JOELLEN NOTTE | theRedheadBedhead.com

In the wonderful world of sex, things don’t always go as planned— Condoms break, pills are forgotten, folks get drunk and reckless. When these things happen, Emergency Contraception (EC) can mean the difference between a brief panic and an unplanned pregnancy. However, before you can protect yourself with EC, it’s important to know your options and how they work. This is trickier than it should be though, as rumors, myths and misapprehensions regarding EC are rampant.

So let’s clear up some of the confusion, shall we?

What’s in a Name?

Emergency Contraception frequently goes under another name that confuses the issue greatly – The Morning After Pill. That name on its own confuses people on three separate issues:

  • “The” implies that there is only one kind of EC. Nope!
  • “Morning after” makes it sound like you must take it immediately or you are screwed. Not so!
  • “Pill” leads us to believe that EC only comes in pill form Incorrect! (That’s right folks, pills are not your only choice.)

There go three big fallacies before we even get past the introductions!

So, what are your options? How do they work? Where can you get them?

Well, they range from over-the-counter one-dose pills to IUDs (for real, IUDs can be used as EC!). To get the skinny on what’s out there, how you can get it and how much it might cost you, check out the Emergency Contraception page from our friends at Bedsider. It includes an emergency contraception locator and guidelines on following the Yuzpe Regimen – a way to use your regular BC pills as EC.

Mistaken Identity

Also, EC suffers from a huge case of mistaken identity! There are a lot of folks out there who think that Emergency Contraception and medication abortion are the same thing or that EC is an “Abortion Pill”. This is just plain wrong.

Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy, it does not end it.

Here’s how I like to think about it: Imagine you are a car and sex is driving (go with me here). In this world, EC would play the role of your brakes – there to prevent an accident. Medication abortion fits in the same category as things like air bags- there in case said  accident occurs. For more information on medication abortion and what it actually is, head over to Planned Parenthood’s Abortion Pill page.

The New Ella and The Great IUD

So, those are the big misconceptions but they are far from the only ones. Thankfully, once again, Bedsider to the rescue with 5 myths about the emergency contraceptive pill, busted. A quick disclaimer about this one, it does include one out-dated piece of information, which is that all of the pill options become less effective the longer you wait to take them. There is one pill, Ella, (which is the newest and available by prescription only) that doesn’t decrease in effectiveness.

Finally, be aware that the IUD is the only method that, once inserted, protects you against future pregnancy. Also, it is the most effective in terms of the pregnancy you are currently trying to prevent. Check it out:  IUDs Work Best for Emergency Contraceptive.

JoEllen-NotteJOELLEN NOTTE is helping to share the gospel of better living through better sex ed (amen!) – serving as both the Education Coordinator & Lead Sex Educator for the Portland Academy of Sex Education and a co-Emissary of Sex Geekdom Portland. Working as an adult retail consultant, she is working to help promote better sex through better adult retail. JoEllen first began fighting sexual mediocrity on her site theRedheadBedhead.com. Follow JoEllen on twitter: @bedheadtweeting