At LetsGetChecked , we don’t want to be kill-joys when it comes to sex. We want to keep you informed and to promote a healthy sexual lifestyle. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be passionate and spontaneous, you can, just remember with fun comes responsibility and your health is paramount. Practicing safe sex or practicing the lack-of safe sex can originate from a number of variables.
This week, LetsGetChecked discusses sex education as well as 7 safe sex tips.
Why Don't People Know How To Practice Safe Sex?
Teenagers are calling out for a more positive approach to sex education in school – one that teaches them to enjoy their sexuality in a way that is safe, consensual, and healthy.
Researchers from the University of Bristol analysed 55 different studies from 1990-2015 that covered the U.K, Ireland, the U.S, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Iran, and Sweden. The common thread that ties all these cultures together is underdeveloped sex education.
The participants aged between 12 and 18 claim sex is described as an abstract concept instead of something that many students are already having with all of its real-world social and emotional implications.
Reports say schools find it difficult to accept that some students are sexually active. The researchers say this leads to a curriculum that is out of touch with the reality of many teenager’s lives and a consequent failure to discuss issues that are relevant to them. “This was evident in what young people perceived as an emphasis on abstinence, moralizing and a failure to acknowledge the full range of sexual activities they engaged in.”
Practicing Safe Sex: Conclusion
The report states that the information they received was unhelpful, failing to provide practical information such as the pros and cons of different contraception methods, what community health services are available, what to do if they got pregnant, or the emotions that might accompany sexual relationships.
The young participants were unhappy that sex was presented as a ‘problem’ to be managed.
Boys in mixed sex education classes reported that they were worried their fellow classmates would tease them if they weren’t sexually experienced, young women reported that they were worried their peers would judge them if they were, and many of their teachers didn’t seem to want to be there in the first place. In fact, one study revealed that a PE teacher was so embarrassed by the discussion that she cried throughout it.
There is definitely one solution that surfaces from this study’s findings. Since sex education is a “special subject with unique challenges,” as the researchers put it, it calls for instructors who are specially trained and focused on sex ed, not reluctant ones who are drafted to teach sex ed on top of their other classes.
Schools need to realise that it’s a lot stranger to ask the math teacher to discuss periods and the proper use of a condom than it would be to ask a sex ed professional. Competent, confident sex ed specialists who could work across different schools. Of course, this won’t eliminate all awkwardness around the topic of sex, but it will at least effectively teach them that (consensual, safe) sex can be pretty damn great.
7 Safe Sex Steps
1. Talk Sex
We don’t mean you have to talk dirty here. If you’re having sex with a partner for the first time, it’s good to talk about it. Simple things like:
“How many partners have you had?”
“Have you been tested for STIs before and how long ago was it?”
“Is there commitment in our relationship or will you be seeing other people too?”
2. Always Use A Condom
Whether you’re having sex for for the very first time or you have an active sex life, a condom is simply the best protection you can get. It protects you from unplanned pregnancy but it also protects from STIs, some of which, such as Chlamydia, can make you infertile.
3. Choose Condoms Wisely
Always choose a condom with lubrication. It prevents the condom from ripping or tearing it’s also easier to put on and is more comfortable for both men and women. It's also important to remember that there are a number of different brands, sizes and shapes of condoms. If you had a bad experience in the past, don't give up on using condoms. There is no one size fits all, so shop around and see which works best for you.
4. Monogamy Works
A single partner drastically decreases your risk of getting an STI. Remember, when you sleep with someone, you’re indirectly sleeping with everyone that they have slept with. If you can stay monogamous, you can stay protected.
5. Stock Up
Even if you’re sleeping with one partner, using a condom is still a must. Don’t expect your partner to have condoms, we should all think ahead. It’s always a good idea to carry spare condoms with you in case one breaks or tears.
6. Stay In The Now
Drinking and taking drugs have been the cause of more than one in two unplanned pregnancies and infections. Where possible avoid dis-inhibiting substances before engaging in sex.
7. Put Your Condom Where Your Mouth Is
Oral sex carries the same risk as penetrative sex in causing infections. Using a condom during oral sex is the only way to cover you.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley