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Sexuality and Safer Sex

Understanding sexuality

Teenage girls holding hands

It is possible that some people are unsure of their sexuality or go through a phase where they are unsure. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered (LGBT), heterosexual are all different types of sexuality.

Everybody's experiences are different, people have many different questions, or issues that affect them: Am I gay? How do I have safer sex if I am gay?

Am I lesbian or bisexual? How to have safer sex for Lesbian and bisexual women?

You might be discovering your own sexuality, or perhaps you have a family member, friend or work colleague that is, and want to know more about how different types of sexuality can affect peoples lives, and how to have safer sex for a certain sexuality.

In many countries there are organisations or groups that can offer advice and support to people of different sexualities on sexual health, accessing medical services, coming out, or dealing with homophobia and stigma. It is useful to find organisations or groups that support your sexuality when you need to talk about safer sex or other sexual health or emotional issues.

What is safer sex

Choose safer sex posterSafer sex involves taking measures to prevent the transmission of STIs during sexual contact. Common methods of safer sex are using a condom for vaginal and anal penetration (sexual intercourse), and using dental dams for oral sex. Using such protection prevents bodily fluids that carry STIs like HIV from being exchanged during sex. Although condoms and dental dams are not 100% safe, if used properly, they have been proven to be highly effective ways of preventing the transmission of STIs.

Sex

Sex refers to various sexual activities, including sexual intercourse or pentrative sex, oral sex and mutual stimulation. Sex is not just physical sexual contact; it can also involve emotions and feelings.

When people talk about sex (sexual intercourse) they are usually referring to penetrative sex, where a man inserts his penis into the vagina or anus of a sexual partner. This way of having sex is also the main route by which sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV are passed from one person to another.

Unprotected sex happens everytime when no form of protection is used - condoms are the leading form of protection for vaginal and anal penetration. Having unprotected sex is the leading way by which STIs such as Chlamydia or HIV are transmitted. Contraception pills or injections or other procedures that prevent women from becoming pregnant do not prevent infections with STIs.

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