After the strict social restrictions of the past few years, many will enjoy some temporary freedom in seeing people again. Dating is back! The word "dating" is a bit vague - it could mean finding a long-term partner or having some unconditional sex. But how do you ensure a healthy connection and enjoy safe sex? Don't worry, I don't recommend wearing a mask (unless you both like it).
Don't feel pressured to have sex
Active consent - doesn't mean to stop you're never obligated to have sex. Also, no one "earns" sex or "owes" anyone sex. Or any kind of physical contact/feeling, come on. No matter the setting, background, number of meetings, or specific dates. Active consent of both parties is required, and "no" is a complete sentence. A sentence asking for immediate cessation of sexual activity/request and maximum respect.
Personal safety (physical, mental and emotional) should be a top priority. It doesn't just mean if you decide to have safe sex (which we do), but to say no or otherwise communicate that you don't want to have physical contact/sex/go on a date, if that's how you feel.
While each of us has a responsibility as individuals to treat others with respect and compassion, unfortunately, we live in a world where we need to be prepared to protect ourselves against people who do not have these fundamental principles of morality and humanity. So before meeting a stranger or someone you don't know very well (even if you've met before), sensible actions include:
● Meeting in a neutral public place
● Let your friends know where and how long you will be
● arrange for a friend to pick you up home
● Contact friends after dating or when it’s safe to get home from a date
If you do have sex, do it safely
So you decide to have sex. Fuck yes.
Remember, safe sex includes physical barrier protection methods such as condoms or dental dams (depending on the sexual activity you choose). Birth control pills only prevent pregnancy, not STIs.
Forced to "do it" without condoms/other barriers? Use your strongest "no" and throw it out. That person does not respect you, your body, or your physical and mental safety. Unsafe sex puts you at risk for sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.
Proper preparation can prevent poor sexual health (and embarrassment)
If possible, try to discuss your attitudes and preferences towards safer sex before you actually lie in bed naked. I know this is easier said than done; it's almost impossible to be the case, "So you use a condom or not during sex?" while eating another slice of pizza.
Most people stay connected between in-person gatherings, using messaging services like Skype, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. In addition to maintaining high levels of passion, excitement, and intensity between connections, these provide a great opportunity to get to know another person better. It's usually easier to ask textual questions that might feel a little awkward.
Fans of dirty chat via text can also use it to learn about each other's attitudes and preferences. When describing a scene, suddenly mention condoms and see if they respond. It's almost an afterthought that "oh, by the way, you're not allergic to latex, are you?" Make things feel easy and don't stop flowing. Get smart and find out what they like and what they really don't - do they have any questions they'd like to share with you? Or maybe you're ready to show yours?
Good sexual etiquette means thorough cleaning -- and I mean thorough cleaning. Dirty nails are unattractive, and they can hold germs that can spread easily, especially during sex. Make sure you're absolutely clean from head to toe (freshly washed and dried hair) to toes (feet not smelly, cleanly trimmed toenails). Also pay attention to your intimate cleanliness - not just taking steps to make sure you're free of infections, but 100% fresh.
While some people find natural musk and a day's sweat alluring, it's best to be cautious about people you don't know well. Wash thoroughly before each appointment and use an antiperspirant body deodorant.
That's all great advice, whether you're absolutely open to sex during a date, or if it's still an option. Even if sex is off the table at this meeting or for the foreseeable, no one likes being around someone who looks or smells dirty, or doesn't seem to care about their personal hygiene or appearance.
How to protect yourself during sex (I mean all types of sex)
Sex isn't limited to PiV (penis in the vagina) sex, despite decades of sex-related media would have us believe. That said, vaginal penetration (with a penis optional) is a sexual activity, so...
Use a condom during vaginal sex. As mentioned earlier, birth control pills only prevent pregnancy, not STIs. Don't have sex with someone who refuses to wear a barrier protection method (I'll add: leave in a hurry, don't look back).
Some infections can be spread through oral sex and/not vaginal or anus. So if you can't be 100% sure about someone's sexual health, it's important to use adequate barrier protection every time you have oral sex with them. Any kind of oral sex: penis, anus, vagina.
Condoms can obviously be used with the penis, while dental dams are recommended during vaginal and anal oral stimulation. Viruses or bacteria that cause infection can be spread through infected bodily fluids, such as semen, semen, blood, or vaginal secretions. If these come into contact with sores, cuts, sores, throat cells, eye patches, or genitals, an infection can occur. These infections include herpes, gonorrhea and syphilis.
The anal verge is licking or touching your partner's anus (outside and/or inside) with your mouth and tongue. Despite its clean appearance, hepatitis A is a bacterium that lives in the gut and is spread by ingesting infected feces. Covering the anus/anal area with a dental dam means both parties can still enjoy the experience without the real risk of contracting Hepatitis A or other STIs.
Likewise, it is important to wear barrier protection methods such as condoms during anal sex to prevent STIs.
To prevent tearing and injury to the delicate skin of the anus and rectum, always use a condom-friendly, sensitive-skin-friendly lube. Unlike the vagina, the anus is not self-lubricating, so always make sure you have enough anal lubricant on hand for extra comfort.
Use sex toys together
It's easy to believe that it's completely safe to use sex toys with your date or sex partner. However, it is wise to be aware of some of the risks involved when using it, especially when sharing adult products.
Sex toy material is important. Some materials are porous, which means that even if you think the toy is completely clean, bacteria can remain in the toy's invisible holes. Non-porous sex toys are always preferred (including silicone, metal, and glass types), and solid versions without motors and other electronic parts can be boiled and cooled before use to ensure they are completely sterile.
Still need to think about sharing sex toys between you. It's one thing to use sterile sex toys only for yourself or only for your partner, but crossing over between you is where the risk lies. The body fluids on the surface of the toy can be drained through the vagina, anus and even the mouth, depending on your spontaneous sexy movements.
Even if you only use a sex toy on yourself, don't use it from the anus to the vagina or mouth. This can introduce potentially dangerous bacteria from the anus into the vagina or mouth and cause illness and infection.
Clean your sex toys after use and buy antibacterial sex toy cleaners.
Kissing is safe, right?
Maybe it's because kissing - or even French kissing/kissing - is an activity that can make some people feel brave enough even in public, and it seems completely harmless and safe. In the days after COVID-19, there may not be as many, but there are still dangers in thinking along these lines, while many countries are moving towards a pre-coronavirus social normal.
French kissing is a highly sexual act, often the romantic aspect of foreplay and sex. Even this basic intimacy is not without risk (sorry). You can get the herpes virus through cold sores - although it is usually a different herpes virus (HSV-1) than the genital type (HSV-2).
Back to general hygiene and etiquette: Make sure to thoroughly clean your teeth and tongue before your date so your mouth is completely fresh and no extra germs are passed on during your passionate kiss.
Regular health check
For sexually active people, regular sexual health checkups are the only way to check that you are completely free of STDs. Getting regular checkups means you can feel confident and proud of your sexual health - and you can also ensure the safety of your current sexual partner.
Protect yourself and your sexual partner by having regular comprehensive check-ups at sexual health clinics such as GUM clinics (urogenital medicine clinics). These clinics not only provide comprehensive sexual health screenings, but can also provide advice on safe sex and contraception, as well as related STI information and support. No need to feel judged or embarrassed, a medical professional is here to help.