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Is Safe Sex Really Safe?

Gone are the days when people could have multiple partners without the use of a condom, and other safe sex practices.

Safe sex is all about keeping yourself, and your partner, protected from the complications of unwanted pregnancies and sexuall y transmitted disease.

Although the concept of safe sex seems easy enough to understand, more and more people -- young people in particular -- seem to be missing the point, or missing the concept of how to accomplish safe sex. And just how safe and reliable is that condom when it comes right down to it? A condom can't promise 100% protection from AIDS or from pregnancy.

For males in particular, another problem with practicing safe sex is remembering to take the time to...

(a) have a condom ready (b) know how to use it properly, and (c) take the time to put it on.

It's important to educate young people today in the proper use of condoms so that they understand when and how to use them. There's no point to having a condom ready if neither partner is going to take time to enforce its use. In a very practical sense, however, although a condom is typically worn by the male partner during heterosexual intercourse (and typically by both partners in a homosexual one), the responsibility for proper condom-IQ is borne by both partners.

Fortunately, there are more and more products appearing on the market to help people to plan for safe sex and to practice this method of responsible intercourse. Since both the birth control pill and the condom aren't 100% effective, combining the use of both of them together will increase your chances of staying safe.

It's also vital to be aware of a partner's sexual history, and to seek "medical clearance" before engaging in a new relationship. This is especially important for those in polygamous relationships (more than one sexual partner at a time), because a "chain" of unsafe sex can start with any partner and spread rapidly through a previously healthy group.

The only way that there are going to be less unwanted pregnancies, and less transmission of STD's is if all sexually active people 'both young and old -- are educated in the concepts of safe sex and what it means to them. In particular, in parts of the country where access to information is more challenging (such as some underprivileged areas), it's vital that communities step forward and provide this education.

Young men, in particular, need to understand the implications and risks of unprotected sex and what it can mean to their lives when they have an unwanted pregnancy or find out that they have a STD. Safe sex starts with education and knowledge, neither of which any young teen can do without.

About the author:

Jim Shaw is a writer for This article was originally published as "Safe Sex" in the Sexuall y Transmitted Disease Channel.


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