Safer Sex: Learn The Basics
I've always been a safety girl when it comes to sex. Always used condoms. Despite this I've also made sure to get tested regularly too, after all, condoms aren't 100% effective, and when you're getting checked regularly if there is a problem you know about it sooner rather than later. If you're in the UK you can get checked for free at your local NHS Sexual Health Clinic. It takes five minutes.
Once a month I have a swab test; this is quick, painless, and no fuss. After that, you have a quick chat; answering a few questions about your sexual history, and the last few times you've had sex. I found the staff at the clinics to be great; they're non-judgemental, and really helpful. I also have a quarterly blood test, this is crucial since I started having sex without condoms (only with certain partners). It is also very important if you have multiple partners, or your partner has multiple partners. Again, this is a really quick test, just one vial of blood is needed.
The first thing that comes to mind when talking safer sex is condoms. If you're having penetrative sex whether anal, or vaginal (using a penis or a dildo) it is a good idea to cover it up, and if you're switching between the anus and vagina, change condoms for each area.
I feel I have to mention here that even if you have always used latex versions, you can (at any point) develop a latex allergy. I suddenly developed one about four months ago. This doesn't mean you've done anything to cause it, it's just what happens. If you think you might have developed this, do try the alternatives.
Companies such as Skyn have developed non-latex condoms that are cost effective. All the Skyn's line are non-latex, so safe for allergy sufferers to use. They feel almost the same as a latex condom but I actually found them to feel softer, and be less noticeable than latex. As you probably know condoms are readily available in any chemist or supermarket. If you need non-latex ones you might need to visit a bigger store but they're still fairly easy to get.
Dental dams are a brilliant item. They are great for use in multiple sexual situations but they are much harder to get hold of. I haven't found anywhere on the high street that stocks them. There are a few online retailers but prices vary so shop around. I really wish more places talked about and sold dental dams as part of their safer sex package. Especially as the number of people having oral sex involving the anus is on the up, I'm not saying you can't have it without a dental dam, just that a dam will reduce infection risk. If you struggle to find them you can always cut a condom to open it out and use that.
My final item is gloves. You can pick up packs of nitrile (non-latex) gloves at most chemists, or amazon do a huge box. Gloves are good to use for anal play involving fingers/hands, this means if you want to go from butt area to vaginal area you can just remove the glove rather than having to pause to wash your hands. They can be used when playing with someone who may not know their STI status, or if you have any small cuts or broken skin on your hands. They are recommended for fisting, and in kink play they should be used for anything that punctures the skin/blood play like needle play, staples, etc. You can make gloves a very sexy addition to your safer sex play too, because much like condoms you can get them in all sorts of fun colours.
I'm not going to tell you that you have to be using or doing these things. If you're engaged in sexual activity I'm going to assume you are a consenting adult, and more than capable of making decisions as to the sex you are having. However, it is fact that barriers such as condoms, dental dams, etc. help protect against the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. No matter the type of activity you are engaging in there is a method available for extra protection.