Safe Sex When You’re Single
By Cheryl Kaye of HornyGeekGirl
The other day I was having a conversation on twitter about sexual partners. The conversation was about acceptable dating ages, as in what would you personally consider too old/young on a dating site. We concluded that there was a difference in the ages we would consider for dating versus the ages we would consider for sex. Now I’m not going to discuss the age gap, I think it’s a very personal thing. What I find totally fine might be unacceptable to someone else, or vice versa, and that’s completely okay. What I realised from that conversation is that in the last six months I’ve had more sexual partners than in the previous six years. Yeah, I know. It’s not that I have had loads in the last six month just that I was (voluntarily) celibate for about four years. I finally worked my way out of an abusive relationship, and swore off men for a while. However, that realisation got me thinking about how cautious I have always been about certain things, and how that is spilling over into this. I want all the sex but I want it to be safe too.
I’ve always been a safety girl. Always used condoms. Even when I was living with a guy and we’d been together a year, I still insisted on condoms… mostly because I didn’t trust him. He was an abusive prick, who also cheated on me. Despite always using protection I always made sure to get tested regularly too, after all condoms aren’t 100% effective and it’s better to be safe. At least when you’re getting checked regularly if there is a problem you know about it sooner rather than later. If you’re in the UK you can get checked for free at your local NHS Sexual Health Clinic. It takes five minutes for ladies.
Once a month I have a swab test, this used to be done by a nurse but now they get you to do it yourself. I found it easiest to get in the same position you’d be in for a smear, then slide the swab in and swirl it around. Quick, painless, and no fuss. After the swab is done, you usually have a quick chat, answering a few questions about your sexual history, and the last few times you’ve had sex. Or if you attend the same clinic every time, it tends to focus on the last month since your previous visit. I found the staff at the clinics to be great; they’re non-judgemental, and really helpful. Another fantastic service they provide is free contraception, including dental dams (which I discuss further down). They even have non-latex products for people with allergies, something I found really useful. If it’s a smaller clinic they may need to order in special items like non-latex dental dams but they seem more than happy to do this.
As well as having the monthly swab test I also have a quarterly blood test, this is especially important since I started having sex without condoms. This is also very important if you have multiple partners, or your partner has multiple partners. Again this is a really quick test, just one vial of blood is needed. I sometimes have issues with having blood taken, I have very small deep veins, and it can sometimes be a struggle to get one up. The longer they try the more anxious I become, until I am so tense they can’t even get near me with a needle. However, at the new clinic I go to they have a two tries policy. If they can’t get it in two tries, they will make a new appointment, and get you to come in another day. They also after two appointments where they tried and failed, made a note on my file to have the phlebotomist do my bloods from now on. She did my last one in less than a minute, from putting the elastic on to taking it off.
I’m not going to tell you that you have to be using or doing these things. If you’re engaged in sexual activity I am going to assume you are a consenting adult, and more than capable of making decisions as to the sex you are having. However, it is fact that barriers such as condoms and dental dams help protect against the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
No matter the type of activity you are engaging in there is a method available for extra protection. If you’re having penetrative sex whether anal, or vaginal; using a penis or a dildo it is a good idea to cover it up, and if you’re switching between the anus and vagina, change condoms for each area.
I feel I have to mention here that even if you have always used latex versions, you can (at any point) develop a latex allergy. I suddenly developed one about four months ago. It started with some slight discomfort during (protected) sex but I’d had my checks so knew nothing was wrong. The last time (when I realised it was a latex allergy), it was a burning pain. Which stopped the sex immediately, I may have leapt off him, yelling. This doesn’t mean you’ve done anything to cause it, it’s just what happens. So if you think you might have developed this, do try the alternatives, they are out there, and these days they don’t have to cost more.
Companies such as Skyn have developed non-latex condoms that are cost effective. All the Skyn’s line are non-latex, so safe for allergy sufferers to use. They feel almost the same as a latex condom but I actually found them to feel softer, and be less noticeable than latex. As you probably know condoms are readily available in any chemist, or supermarket. If you need non-latex ones you might need to visit a bigger store but they’re still fairly easy to get.
Dental dams are a brilliant item. They are great for use in multiple sexual situations but they are much harder to get hold of. I haven’t found anywhere on the high street that stocks them. There are a few online retailers but prices vary so shop around. If you need to you should be able to request them at your local sexual health clinic. I really wish more places talked about and sold dental dams as part of their safer sex package. Especially as the number of people having oral sex involving the anus is on the up, I’m not saying you can’t have it without a dental dam, just that a dam will reduce infection risk. Even the NHS website doesn’t mention them. It talks about covering a penis in a condom for safe oral sex but never mentions what women should be doing to protect their vulvas during oral sex. In fact the whole website is so heteronormative it is almost useless for anyone who isn’t having sex that involves a penis.
Until next month, be safe out there… and if you have any questions or would like advice about anything I’ve mentioned here please feel free to email me email@example.com. I’m not a medical professional but I can point you in the right direction.
– Cheryl Kaye
About the writer: I’m Cheryl Kaye, I started blogging as HornyGeekGirl two years ago but I have always been a writer. I’ve loved telling stories ever since I was young. I started by making up life stories and scenes for my dolls and toys, and since then I’ve written about many different subjects but none of them have felt as right to me as the writing I do now. You can check out my website at http://hornygeekgirl.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
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