I Stay Safe
Queensland Health

What is safe sex?

We've all heard the term "safe sex", but what exactly does it mean?

Being safe with sex means caring for both your own health, and the health of your partner. Being safe protects you from getting or passing on sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and an unplanned pregnancy. Whether you have vaginal, anal or oral sex, it definitely pays to play it safe!

And remember: There's more to sex than sexual intercourse!
There are lots of ways to enjoy physical intimacy with your partner without having oral, vaginal or anal sex. Safe sex also includes lots of other activities like kissing, cuddling, rubbing, massage, stroking, masturbation (touching your own genitals) or touching each other's genitals. Why not explore other ways to be intimate which do not put you at risk of sexually transmissible infections or an unintended pregnancy?

How you can stay safe?

  • Always use condoms if you have vaginal, oral or anal sex.
  • Use of condoms is the only method of contraception that protects against both STIs and pregnancy. Even if you’re using other methods of contraception (like the pill or a diaphragm), always use condoms as well.
  • If you are having unprotected sex, talk to your partner about the risks involved. Remember your decision about safe sex is important, as some STIs can be cured but some can’t, including HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).
  • Before having sex, you need to discuss the use of condoms with your partner and come to an agreement about using condoms. Remember, you have the right to say NO if your partner does not agree to use condoms.
  • Never have sex (even with a condom) if your partner has a visible sore, ulcer or lump on their genitals or anal area. Suggest they see their doctor, family planning clinic or sexual health clinic.
  • STIs can be passed from one person to another by oral sex. If you put your month in contact with your partner’s penis, you need to use a condom to avoid STIs. If you put your mouth in contact with your partner’s anus or vulva (outside of vagina) while having sex, you need to use a dental dam (whether you are a guy or girl). This is especially important if you’ve got a cut or sore around your mouth or lips or bleeding gums.
  • STIs can also be transmitted if you use sex toys, so you need to be safe. Use condoms and change the condom for each person. Wash the toys carefully after use and wash your hands after removing the condom.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about sex. Find out more in the Let’s Talk About Sex section.

More info