Love, *Safer Sex*, Magic

By: Elaine Miller | February 19, 2020 | OHP Health Educator

Safer Sex Logo

                The Office of Health Promotion always talks about “safer sex” rather than “safe sex” as our language choice. While no sex is 100% safe (that would be abstinence), you can definitely take steps to make sex safer. Safer sex includes a whole range of behaviors including increased communication between partners, increased methods of protection, and knowing your status. Keep reading to find out a little bit more about each of these strategies, how to use them, and how they can actually make sex more enjoyable for you and a partner.

Sex Communication

                If you are a sexually active person, hopefully you have heard about consent. Consent is like tea, consent is like pizza, consent can be remembered by the mnemonic FRIES (Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific). Consent is absolutely 100% necessary for sex. That being said, sex communication goes beyond just consent. Sex communication goes a step further than the idea of “do you want this?” and asks questions like “how do you want this?” and “what exactly do you want?” Knowing your sexual preferences, desires, needs, as well as limits and boundaries lets you communicate to partners more effectively for an enhanced experience. Check out this packet of activities to learn more about yourself so that you can talk to your partner more specifically.

Increased Methods of Protection

                Safer sex is about protecting yourself from risks.  There are many easy and available methods to protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and pregnancy. The first step should always be to talk with a medical professional. However, you should also consider adding in barrier methods – external condoms, internal condoms, or dental dams – which are free to Emory students through OHP. For great instructional information on how to use condoms, click here. Barrier methods are the most common and lowest impact option for preventing STI transmission and/or pregnancy. Using barrier methods can actually make sex more relaxing because you can worry less about unintended consequences. Fill out this link to obtain free safer sex supplies.

Know Your Status

                When was the last time you got tested for STIs? Here are the guidelines that we talk about at OHP. Sexually active people should get tested for STIs at least once a year, every time a new partner enters the picture, and if you are worried that you were exposed to something or have symptoms of an STI. The span of time after exposure to an STI but before symptoms occur is called the incubation period. After the incubation period, a test should accurately detect STIs which is why it is important to get tested regularly. You can get tested at Emory Student Health or a local community organization. OHP also offers monthly free and confidential HIV testing. Check out where we will be next! Knowing your STI status will make you more confident and healthier when it comes to sex.

Safer sex is about protecting you and your partners, helping you stay healthy and  making sex better by eliminating worry. Taking steps to support your sexual health is as simple as communicating, using barrier methods and knowing your status. For more information or questions, please contact the Office of Health Promotion at or at (404) 727-7930.