10 simple tips to do and think about before having sex:
1.) Talk smart sex first. Have smart sex later. It’s imporant to openly discuss sex and birth control with your partner before having sex so that both of you know what to expect.
2.) Don’t feel pressured to have sex. If you are not ready to have sex, be honest and discuss the reasons for your decision with your partner.
3.) Don’t abuse alcohol/use drugs if you think things could get physical. Drug or alcohol use interferes with decision-making which could lead to date rape, forgetting to use birth control or getting a sexually transmitted infection.
4.) Two are better than one. You should correctly and consisitently use a birth control method to prevent pregnancy (like the Pill, contraceptive injection or diaphragm) in addition to a condom to prevent STIs.
5.) Use the buddy system. When going to a party, go with friends and keep an eye out for each other.
6.) Remember that “no” means NO and passed out doesn’t mean YES. If you are too drunk to understand a person saying “no” or if you have sex with someone who is incapable of giving consent, it can be considered rape.
7.) Respect everyone’s right to make his/her own personal decision – including yourself. Everyone has the right to decide when and how they have sex, whether it’s the first time or not.
8.) Be prepared for a sex emergency. Men and women should be equally responsible for preventing pregnancy and STIs. Both should carry condoms (two in case one breaks or tears) and women should know about emergency contraception (EC).
9.) The best protection doesn’t mean less affection. Abstinence is the most effective way to protect against STIs and prevent pregancy. It doesn’t mean you can’t be intimate – just be aware that alternatives, like oral sex, have their own risks.
10.) Make sexual health a priority. Both men and women should get regular check-ups to make sure they are sexually healthy.
For more sexual health information, visit SmarterSex.org