This month, the founder of Tinder launched a new app focusing solely on sexual wellness education. The app, “Lover” was developed after finding out that 50% of women and 40% of men had complaints regarding their sex life. Dr. Britney Blair stated, “We believe Lover can help build confidence, facilitate communication, improve partner connection, and just raise consciousness about sex and sexuality.”
This made me think back to my public school education, which focused heavily on teaching us what types of sexually transmitted diseases exist and how dangerous they are, but never on how to protect ourselves. And forget about if you weren’t heterosexual; that wasn’t even mentioned at all.
Reading about this app led me down a wormhole of sexual-wellness related Instagram accounts and comments. When I came across one post that read, “I’m a gay woman, and the other day, my doctor asked ME what I do for STI protection because my doctor genuinely did not know.”
This resonated with me immediately, having come out proudly at age 18 and having asked myself this question many times before as well. STI protection for women and only women is something overlooked by many. When it comes to same-sex relations, there may not be a risk of pregnancy, but there IS a risk of contracting STIs.
I took the time to research safe sexual wellness tips for women who like men, women, or non-gender conforming individuals. While we are all different, we are all valid and worth the education.
So, here are some alternative ways to protect ourselves:
First and foremost, you should have open and honest communication with your partner. If you can’t have judgemental free conversations with your partner about safe sex, then that’s maybe not the right partner for you!
Male condoms are probably talked the most about; we all know them. They are considered as one of the standard forms of sexual protection. On FIT’s campus, at Health Services, free lubricant, and male condoms are available for all students, all you have to do is stroll to the A Building’s fourth floor.
And an important reminder that applies to everyone: you should always cover any sex toy with a condom every time you use it with a partner.
Female / Internal Condoms
Female, or internal condoms, are condoms that cover the inside of the anus or vagina and some parts of the vulva. They avoid skin to skin contact of fluids, and the good news is; any gender can use them.
Dental dams are small square pieces of latex or polyurethane that are used for oral sex, covering the vagina or anus. Just like condoms, these are to be disposed of and not to be re-used. Rubber or latex gloves work great for providing a barrier for manual sex.
FYI: If you are using a lubricant, remember- always choose a water-based lubricant with latex STI protection, as oil-based products will break down rubber materials.
Despite all protection, it’s essential to get tested regularly for STIs! Knowing your status is vital for your own health and your partner(s) as well. Safe sex, Blush readers!