Unsafe sexual practices

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Note: this article refers to general sexual practices; for a discussion of BDSM safe practice, see Bondage: Safety and Enema Safety.

Unsafe sexual practices include, but are not limited to:

1.) The passing of any bodily fluid or material from one individual to another.

This first and most basic practice includes virtually all sexual activity, therefore, in order to engage in a normal sex life, one must use circumspect caution about what activities are acceptable and with whom.

If you have a lover and have known this person for a protracted period and both of you have reasonable assurances that neither of you have strayed to assignations with outsiders, and if you both take HIV tests regularly (twice a year), then the likelihood that that either of you will infect the other is virtually nil. But, even in this very cautious hypothetical example you still could contract type C hepatitis if your sexplay includes ingestion of faeces or vomit. (For some people it does.) Or, in a less extreme variant, a long-dormant herpetic infection might appear and transfer without notice.

The question naturally arises: "What are safe sexual practices?" This is a tricky question to answer. The problem comes from the mounds of legal liability that return to haunt anyone who has the chutzpah to step forward and declare some practice to be safe. There are many lists of do's and dont's that are so specific that they can never address the plethora of human sexual experiences. In practice, safety becomes a matter of common sense.

While oral sex, including the swallowing of semen, has lately been considered by many self-appointed authorities to not be a vehicle for HIV, if you spend your days kneeling naked in the men's room of a porno store taking on all comers, you would be engaging in an unsafe practice. There are people who behave this way and they risk infection from all manner of STD's as well as other diseases which are transmitted via urine, skin and blood. This leads us to the second unsafe sexual practice:

2.) Engaging in sexual contact with multiple partners and with unknown partners.

The numbers will eventually get you. It's a lottery and you stand a better chance of winning (losing really) if you have 365 entries a year instead of 3 or 4. You need to pick your partners carefully, and what you find out over cocktails in two hours will simply not be enough information. Offering yourself as a Bukkake target in a bath house may sound thrilling as a fantasy, but it brings real dangers along for the reality ride. Of course, you might do stuff like this for years with no adverse results. Some people buy lottery tickets every week and never win either, but odds playing is a form of gambling, and at least in Lotto, you are only out a buck.

Next to masturbation, frottage (rubbing someones genitals through the clothing) is the least dangerous activity, although you could get a rash. Lying naked together and manipulating each others genitals is usually OK, but penises get drippy and vaginas get wet and it all rubs off onto you. This may not be a problem unless you have a teeny tiny cut on your skin, or a rash, which then becomes an access point to your circulatory system. Licking and sucking are a major part of sex, and for the most part, healthy saliva and a generous dose of stomach acid will act as a bar to most viruses. If you recently flossed, however, you might have made a gum bleed a little and then, there's that superhighway again, right into your body.

Everything discussed to this point simply requires your judicious screening of the candidate for your sexual fun. It would not be smart to tempt fate by giving head to a guy you just met on the day you had a wisdom tooth extracted. However, most people get to play at least to the oral stage without having to face death, if they are careful.

After this, things get a bit dicey. Deposits into the vagina and into the anal cavity are like injections into your body. These areas are rich in blood vessels and are uniquely equipped to engage in chemical transfers into the bloodstream. The penis is also a blood filled organ that easily suffers friction injuries. Ergo:

3.) Penetrating the vagina and anus without a condom.

This is most likely the most common way to transfer any STD. Condoms are cheap, easy to use and do not impede sexual frenzy. Indeed, little impedes sexual frenzy. Latex and poly condoms protect against HIV, genital herpes, and pregnancy. Natural lambskin condoms (like Fourex Brand) are good only against conception. Their membranes will pass disease. If you are unsure, read the package!

Many people engage in the practice of barebacking. It is unsafe, unless you know the history of your partner. Always use a rubber and be (relatively) certain.

The immune system does not always detect and eliminate infectious agents introduced into the body. It is exposed most directly to such agents when they get into the tissues or blood stream (for the first, consider scrapes and rashes, and for the second, contact with bleeding or raw sores or damaged skin as for instance a bitten cheek interior surface). Intact healthy skin is largely proof against many agents, and mucosal membranes are a middle case as they have some immune system provisions against some agents, but not others. Mucosal tissues include the mouth and throat, vagina, rectum and anus, and the urethral opening and passage in both sexes. Tears in mucosal surfaces (more common in anal penetration than vaginal) reduce or eliminate these immune system provisions, increasing risk.

Taking anything into your body, by mouth or other orifice, increases risk for several reasons. We take ingestion for granted by breathing, drinking, and eating, and we are thus not focused on the possibility of damage. Poisoning isn't only the realm of witches, warfare, fairy tales, or Agatha Christie detective stories. It can come in the form of a hot load from a hard cock, or a wet cunt, and be very desirable. The full implications may not known until much later and not traceable to the source in any case. Therefore, we come to this last unsafe practice:

4.) Openly engaging in sex without first switching on your intellect.

See Also

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