Here's How To Have Safe Sex When You're Dating People Casually, Because It's So Important
Safety should be a priority for anyone who's having sex, period. Whether you're in a monogamous relationship or you're casually dating more than one person, not practicing safe sex can come with serious consequences. If you're not dating someone monogamously and you're wondering how to have safe sex when you're dating people casually, then you've come to the right place. It's so important to take control of your sexual health, explore what options are best for you, and decide what method (or methods) you want to put into play in the bedroom and in your everyday life.
"The consequences of unprotected sex, whether disease transmission or unwanted pregnancy, can have long-lasting impacts on your life," Good Clean Love founder and psychosexual therapist Wendy Strgar previously told Elite Daily. "I don't think any sex is worth risking your health and future over." Here's what you can do with the people you're casually dating to lessen your chances of pregnancy and STD transmission. And if anyone you're sleeping with doesn't want to practice safe sex and gives you excuses, don't be afraid to show them the door. You are your first priority, and anyone who doesn't understand that doesn't deserve to have sex with you anyway.
First and foremost, use condoms.
Of course, the number one way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and/or disease transmission is to steer clear of unprotected sex. Always use a condom. "Condoms are the best way to help prevent sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and HIV infections," Dr. Sherry A. Ross, women's health expert, and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health. Period., previously told Elite Daily. And there isn't only one type of condom either. There are so many options, like internal condoms, non-latex condoms, and more. These options can make it that much easier to find the one for you and continue practicing safe sex while you're casually dating.
Do not wear multiple condoms at once.
While some people may think that doubling up on condoms can give you "double the protection," it's the exact opposite. "It's actually risky, as it can lead to an increased chance of the condom breaking," Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, previously told Elite Daily. "The friction of 'double bagging' can actually cause the condoms to rip or break." Instead of using two for extra protection, just double-check the condom for any holes or an expiration date, and if you want to be extra careful, use the pull-out method in addition to (read: not instead of) a condom.
Consider getting on birth control.
There are several different types of birth control out there. While the pill, the ring, or an IUD may be the first forms of birth control that come to mind, those are just some of the hormonal birth control options out there. Several non-hormonal options exist, too, like copper IUDs and diaphragms.
"Like with all medications, the pill isn’t for everyone," the Planned Parenthood website says. "Your doctor will help you figure out if the pill is safe for you." If you're having negative reactions to different hormonal birth control methods, they may suggest a non-hormonal option instead.
"Those who report issues (e.g. nausea) with hormonal birth control may find that their symptoms subside when they switch to a non-hormonal birth control," Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D. and host of the Drive Him Wild video course previously told Elite Daily. "You know your body best, so if you have a reaction to any birth control (hormonal or not), speak to your health practitioner about other options. Even if your side effect is rare, it’s affecting your body, so don’t be afraid to speak up and be your own health advocate."
If you choose to begin taking birth control, it's important to remember that most methods may protect against unwanted pregnancy, but not against STDs. If you're on birth control and casually being intimate with a few different people, use condoms in addition to your birth control in order to avoid disease transmission.
Have an emergency contraceptive on hand.
In the words of Hannah Montana, "everybody makes mistakes." If you and your casual partner(s) have been practicing safe sex and one day the condom breaks or you forget to take your pill, it can be helpful to have emergency contraceptives on hand. While some options are available by prescription only, like the copper IUD or emergency contraceptive pills such as Ulipristal, others like Plan B are available over the counter. "It is important that these medications be used as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse to decrease the risk of pregnancy," obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Sheila Loanzon previously told Elite Daily.
Above all else, get tested.
Two words, people: Get tested!
"You don’t know if there is a problem unless you screen for it!" Dr. Loanzon said. So, it's important that you and the person (or people) you're having sex with get tested for STDs, especially if you're considering having unprotected sex.
"Majority of the STD testing done is negative, however you won’t give yourself the peace of mind and reassurance of negative testing unless testing is completed. Often STD symptoms may be silent or asymptomatic, so don’t let an opportunity pass you by," Dr. Loanzon continued. "It is better to know and get treated than to miss out on an opportunity to be ahead of your health."
Whether you're casually dating a few people or you're in a serious, monogamous relationship, prioritizing your sexual health is a big deal. Even if condoms aren't your favorite and you'd much rather just pull-out, "the use of contraceptives, whether a condom or any other type of contraception, is used to make a sexual encounter safe," Strgar said. When you're practicing safe sex, you're relaxed. When you're relaxed, the sex is even better because and you won't have to worry about any of the possible consequences of not practicing safe sex. It's a win-win! So go on and get yours, responsibly.