That awkward but important conversation: So uhhh when was the last time you got tested? Or Should I  bring the… or you?safer sex

I’ve heard a lot of reasons from a lot of different people behind why they might not practice safe sex. Maybe they’re afraid of offending their partner. Or they feel awkward. Or maybe they just don’t want to. Sometimes they might now know how or why it’s important.

By the age of 24, 1 in 3 sexually active people will have contracted an STI. Most STIs are asymptomatic, and many of them are incurable – ever hear the saying, herpes is for life? The good news though: barriers, like traditional condoms, insertive condoms, or dental dams, and talking with partner about testing can you help protect yourself and your partner.

One benefit of using barriers is that it protects against both STIs and pregnancy, something that birth control alone does not do. Traditional condoms often come in many different sizes, shapes, and textures – so there’s bound to be something pleasing to you and your partners. Dental dams protect against STIs that are transmitted orally, like gonorrhea and Chlamydia, and they can be made DIY by just using non-microwavable Saran wrap! If you’re just flying solo, you can use barriers on your sex toys to protect yourself against bacteria.

Don’t forget about lubrication, literal lube, which increases sexual pleasure as well as reduces friction, but also communicating as lubrication. Being open with your partner and negotiating safer sex can make sex more pleasurable – and who doesn’t want that? The conversation might be a little awkward but a little talk can go a long way to protect you and your partners against STIs and pregnancy.

~ Jeni “Jugs”

Source: http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/