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Unsafe Sex Practices: 5 Ways You're Unprotected During Sex

Unsafe Sex Practices: 5 Ways You're Unprotected During Sex

Unsafe sex practices can lead to health risks like sexually-transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy. But the definition of unsafe or unprotected sex hasn’t always been clearly explained by the media. As a result, many people are unknowingly engaging in unsafe sex. Here are 5 of the most surprising ways in which people are unprotected during sex.

#1: Assuming that oral, anal, and non-penetrative sex are safe

Many people assume that safe sex means zero chances of an unwanted pregnancy. However, engaging in oral, anal, and non-penetrative intercourse without protection is still unsafe sex. Why? Many sexually transmitted diseases, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and HIV, can spread through oral, anal, and non-penetrative sex. Even practices like heavy kissing and using sex toys can lead to infections if proper precautions aren’t taken.

Remember to use a new condom or dental dam for every act of oral and anal sex. You should also clean any sex toys thoroughly before using.

#2: Not Using Condoms Properly

Many people feel that wearing a condom (either internal or external) will protect them from outcomes like STIs and unplanned pregnancy. However, even the most reliable condoms can break if not used or stored correctly. This makes you and your partner vulnerable to infections and/or unwanted pregnancy.

When used correctly, condoms are 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancies. However, not everyone uses a condom properly every single time they have sex. This means that in practice, they become only 85 percent effective. Thus, medical experts often advice heterosexual couples to have a second form of birth control, such as the pill or an IUD, to complement the condom.

Similarly, condoms will only protect you from diseases like herpes and HPV if the infected area is completely covered. However, they are great at preventing diseases that require an exchange of genital fluids.

To avoid unsafe sex, you must always use a condom properly for the entire duration of intercourse. The following reminders are helpful:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and check the date of expiration (yes, condoms expire).
  • Don’t keep condoms in your wallet, as the friction and heat can cause it to break or tear.
  • For internal condoms or female condoms, make sure that they are made of latex or polyurethane.
  • If the condom breaks during sex, stop and put a new one.
  • Use a new condom for every act of oral, vaginal, or anal sex throughout sexual engagement.
  • Do not reuse condoms, as old condoms are no longer effective in protecting you and your partner.
  • Do not use an internal and external condom simultaneously, as the friction can cause tearing.
  • Use only water-based lubricant for condoms. Never use petroleum jelly or oil as it may cause the condom to break.

high-risk sexual behavior

#3: Depending too much on the “pull-out method”

Many teens and young adults believe that pulling the penis out before ejaculation is effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy and STIs. However, experts emphasize that this is extremely high-risk sexual behavior. The things that make the pull-out method one of the worst unsafe sex practices are:

It’s hard to pull out in time. Men need to pull out just around the time when the pleasure is reaching its peak. For this reason, many plan to pull out but can’t in the heat of the moment.

Premature ejaculation is possible. Premature ejaculation happens when a man ejaculates before he’s ready or realizes that it’s happening.

“Precum” is not risk-free. Pre-ejaculate or “precum” can transmit the bacteria and viruses that cause STDs like syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV. Male reproductive organs can sometimes leak a bit semen into the precum, thus increasing the chances of unwanted pregnancy during unsafe sex.

For these reasons, experts encourage people to stop employing the pull-out method and to use either an internal or external condom during sex.

#4: Not getting your vaccines

One of the more surprising unsafe sex practices is engaging in sex without vaccinations against STIs. While there’s no vaccine that can protect you from all sexually transmitted diseases, some vaccines can safely and effectively prevent Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and HPV infections.

Hepatitis A and B cause liver inflammation and can produce symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, tiredness, and fever. When left untreated, it also increases the person’s risk of developing liver scarring (cirrhosis). HPV, on the other hand, is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women and is linked to genital warts.

Talk to your doctors about the following:

HPV vaccine. Pre-teens aged 9 to 12 years old can start with their HPV vaccinations. If you missed it during that time, you could get it through the ages of 13 to 26.

Get Hepatitis A and B vaccines. Most of us got our Hepatitis A and B vaccines when we were still babies. But if you haven’t received it yet, consult your doctor. There are available Hepatitis A/B combination vaccines given in 3 doses over 6 months.

https://wp.hellodoctor.com.ph/sexual-wellness/std/std-in-the-philippines/

#5: Not taking the time to get to know your partner

Another entry in the list of unsafe sex practices is not knowing the sexual history of your sex partner. You and your partner should be honest about any factors that can put either of you at risk, such as:

  • Past and current sexual behaviors, like being with multiple partners and engaging in unprotected sex
  • Health condition (do you or your partner have STIs?)
  • Recreational habits, including alcohol and/or drug abuse

Having multiple sexual partners is considered high-risk sexual behavior because it increases your risk of contracting STIs. Meanwhile, taking alcohol and drugs before intercourse reduces your ability to make good sexual decisions.

Sharing this information will help you and your partner make informed choices about the kind of sexual activity you want to engage in and the precautions that the two of you need to take.

What should I do if I have unprotected sex?

If you knowingly or unknowingly engage in unsafe sex, remember the following:

  • Don’t douche, as it doesn’t “wash away” the infection and might irritate the vagina and heighten the risk of STIs
  • Get you and your partner tested for STIs
  • Consult your doctor if you are experiencing unexplained genitourinary symptoms

Key takeaways

Sex is more enjoyable when it’s safe and done with someone you trust. That way, you don’t have to worry about unwanted outcomes like STIs or pregnancy. Stand your ground and don’t give in when a sexual partner is pressuring you into unsafe sex. Remember that the best solution to any health-related problem is prevention.

Learn more about Sexual Wellness here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Harmful Effects of Early Sexual Activity and Multiple Sexual Partners Among Women: A Book of Charts
https://www.heritage.org/education/report/harmful-effects-early-sexual-activity-and-multiple-sexual-partners-among-women
Accessed October 22, 2020

Helping Teens Resist Sexual Pressure
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/dating-sex/Pages/Helping-Teens-Resist-Sexual-Pressure.aspx
Accessed October 22, 2020

FACTORS THAT SHAPE THE INITIATION OF EARLY SEXUAL
ACTIVITY AMONG ADOLESCENT BOYS AND GIRLS:
A STUDY IN THREE COMMUNITIES IN JAMAICA
https://www.unicef.org/evaldatabase/files/JAM_2001_804.pdf
Accessed October 22, 2020

For Teens: How to Make Healthy Decisions About Sex
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/dating-sex/Pages/Making-Healthy-Decisions-About-Sex.aspx
Accessed October 22, 2020

High-Risk Sexual Behavior
https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tw9064
Accessed October 22, 2020

Safer Sex Guidelines for Teen
https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=safer-sex-guidelines-for-adolescents-90-P01645
Accessed October 22, 2020

Safe sex
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/safe-sex
Accessed October 22, 2020

What are the disadvantages of the pull out method?
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/withdrawal-pull-out-method/what-are-the-disadvantages-of-withdrawal
Accessed October 22, 2020

Picture of the author
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, M.D., OB-Gyn
Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N.
Updated Oct 30, 2020
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