As a woman, safe, responsible sexual activity starts with taking control of STD and pregnancy prevention. Honest discussions about sexual responsibility are incredibly important, but relying on a new or ongoing partner to be in charge of contraception and protection may mean putting yourself at risk.
When it comes to sex and relationships, the instinct to protect yourself should be present, but it can be overwhelmed by the desire to play it cool and not “ruin the moment” with questions about condoms and STD testing. Short term, this may seem like a minor issue, but long term, both the possibility of pregnancy and the increased likelihood of STD transmission are serious concerns.
Preventing pregnancy 101
Pregnancy prevention starts with effective, properly used contraception that is used during every instance of intercourse, regardless of whether you are on birth control or if you choose to use a condom. Trust between sexual partners is necessary, but if you are ever concerned that you are not properly protected from pregnancy, you must speak up and be your own advocate. Letting the moment pass and hoping that everything will be fine or calculating the likelihood of pregnancy based on your last period is an unwise gamble if having a baby is not something you’ve planned for in your immediate future.
Preventing STDs 101
Just like contraception, STD prevention begins with proper protection during every instance of intercourse, including oral and anal sex. Additionally, just because you are on the birth control pill or have an IUD does not mean you will not get an STD – only a condom can protect you. Some STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea exhibit symptoms, but others do not and can go undiagnosed and untreated for years. Along with protection, regular STD testing with your PGOMG provider is an important part of taking control of your sexual health and getting appropriate treatment (if needed) in a timely manner so as to prevent further spread or damage to your body caused by the STD.