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Tips For Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Whether you’re in a committed relationship or casually dating, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) should always be a priority. It may not always be obvious that your partner is carrying any sort of disease, but an appearance of health doesn’t guarantee freedom from risk. The following guidelines can help you avoid getting STDs or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

First of all, the only guaranteed method of avoiding STDs is to avoid having sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. However, most people do not find that to be a practical strategy, especially as they get older and enter committed relationships. Mutual monogamy is the next best thing. If both partners are healthy at the beginning of the relationship and remain faithful to each other, they are at very low risk of getting an STD.

While condoms aren’t 100% effective, they are the next best thing to abstinence. Condoms work well to prevent disease (and pregnancy) when they are used correctly. This includes putting on the condom correctly, using a water-based lubricant, and keeping the condom on for the entire sex act. In addition, it’s important to avoid the spermicide product Nonoxynol-9. It is known to irritate the vagina and increase risk of infection from an STD.

It’s also extremely important to avoid drug and alcohol use before having sex. These substances can impair judgment and cause a person to behave impulsively and take risks he or she would not otherwise consider.

To protect your partner’s health, make sure that you get tested for STDs and make sure those test results are up to date before you begin a new intimate relationship. Check with your doctor about vaccines and make sure that those are up to date as well. New vaccines may be available.

Talk with your partner openly about your health history. The conversation should happen before you get in bed together. Don’t be afraid to ask for full disclosure from your partner either. It may feel like an awkward conversation at first, but honesty is the best foundation for intimacy. For more advice on talking with your partner about STDs, check out