Men & Sexual Health
Safe sex practices are important for men of all ages who are sexually active.
Practicing safe sex is an important part of maintaining your overall health. Safe sex is defined as a group of sexual practices that reduce the likelihood of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and pregnancy.
STDs include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, human papilloma virus and HIV/AIDS. Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and STDs.
Sexually transmitted diseases are spread through contact with the body fluids of a sexual partner. Using a condom is the primary form of contraception that protects against both pregnancy and STDs. Condoms are commonly used by men, however female condoms can be used too. Other forms of contraception used by your partner, like birth control pills, diaphragm or spermicidal foam, do not protect against STDs. A condom should always be used for all forms of sexual intercourse, including vaginal, oral and anal.
The best way to reduce the risk of contracting an STD:
- Consistent use of condoms
- Monogamy in a sexual relationship
- Minimizing your number of sexual partners
- Exposure to fewer sexual partners will decrease the likelihood that you will encounter an individual with an STD.
Other important safe sex practices include:
- Do not have sex when either partner has sores on the penis or vulva, genital warts or unusual discharge.
- Avoid partners who use IV drugs or have had many other sexual partners, an STD or unprotected homosexual intercourse.
- Do not mix sex with alcohol or illegal substances. Doing so lessens the ability to practice safe sex.
If you do have unprotected sex and suspect the presence of an STD or exposure to an STD, see your physician as soon as possible. Many STDs are curable, but if left untreated can cause infertility and other serious health problems.