Things like losing our phone, wearing one of two different shoes, or sexually transmitted infections seem like far out of reach situations until it actually happens to us! These are nowhere near the same scenarios, but they all equally deserve some sort of solution, right?! They're also totally preventable with a little extra attention. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is an illness like anything else, just on another area of your body. No one is immune to them. It’s also nothing to be afraid of but you must know things to watch out for that aren’t always visible to the eye so you can steer clear from infections, and stay safe.
You probably have your favorite face wash, serums, pj’s, the list goes on. We practice self-care regularly so our mind and body feel good. Getting check-ups, tests, and having open communication with your sexual partner(s) are also keys to practicing strong healthcare. Show yourself more love! You deserve it. You have a right to it. Examples of protection are not exclusive to condoms, because that doesn’t apply for many people and isn’t useful for many sexual activities that are commonly engaged in! It can be difficult to gather all the information the internet provides, so we’ve put together a simple list for you of popular ways to practice safe sex:
- Getting tested (it’s free!)
- Talk to your partner about getting tested (still free!)
- Condoms to prevent spreading of STIs
- Dental dam, gloves, finger cots
DIY Dental Dam:
Protection for oral sex, whether it's mouth to genital or mouth to anus. Did you know you could turn a condom into a dental dam in a few simple steps? Here’s how!
We said it earlier but we’ll say it again! Don’t rely on symptoms because they aren’t always physical (AKA you can’t see them). Prevent them because tests are f-r-e-e, and they just aren’t any fun! Why go through it if you can stop it from happening, for both you and your partner. STIs can be bacterial, infestation and viruses. There’s also other genital-related illnesses that can be passed to partners through sexual contact such as a yeast infection or urinary tract infections, however these aren’t considered STIs because you don’t only get them from sexual contact. Sometimes… you just get them… for no reason! But you can’t pass on a UTI onto a partner, ever.
STIs can have long term effects if they go untreated, and because they’re just like any other bodily infection. Some are mild, some are more serious, and some can be fatal. Like these other infections, you don’t get them because you’re doing anything shameful or wrong, but simply because of what our human bodies do sometimes, and it’s okay! Often, symptoms can appear (if they show up at all) in the form of a rash or sore throat, which doesn’t necessarily hit us as an STI.
So now we’re saying “go get tested!” once more for the people in the back! The more we do it, the more we talk about it, the closer we can to erasing the shame. It's cool and responsible to know your body and the body of your partner before you share any bacteria, viruses, etc. You don’t need to be an expert at STIs to talk about them or know about them. Some things just happen, and we want to equip you to be alert, have fun, and most importantly stay safe!