Sex –Safe Sex Rules

The silly sea­son in­cludes lots of fun and games — in­clud­ing the sex­ual kind. Here’s how to make sure you don’t live to re­gret your choices


Safe sex ed­u­ca­tion is often as­sumed to be re­served for teens and young adults. Young women al­ready know ev­ery­thing they need to know about their bod­ies, sex­ual health and re­pro­duc­tion, right? The re­al­ity, how­ever, is very dif­fer­ent. “You’d be sur­prised at how lit­tle knowl­edge women have about their sex­ual health,” says Pamela Makhetha, a health prac­ti­tioner who works at a sex­ual health clinic in Jo­han­nes­burg. “I deal with women, daily, who don’t fully un­der­stand that they have the right to make de­ci­sions that af­fect their sex­ual health. It is prob­a­bly one of the last so­cial taboos; no­body is talk­ing about it but ev­ery­body who is sex­u­ally ac­tive is af­fected by it,” she says.

Let’s all agree on one thing: the per­son who is re­spon­si­ble for your sex­ual health, is you. Cou­ples coun­sel­lor Siza­kele Zondi says, “Women often give up power when it comes to their sex­u­al­ity and health. I want ev­ery woman to un­der­stand that you can­not trust any­one with your sex­ual health, even if he’s your hus­band and a man of God. So you must al­ways think of your­self and your well-be­ing first, and make de­ci­sions based on that.”


To help you make the best de­ci­sions for your sex­ual health, we com­piled ba­sic safe sex rules to ob­serve:


Manda­tory means that it’s not ne­go­tiable, even when you’ve been dat­ing for a while, and he doesn’t want to use con­doms any­more. It’s not enough for your part­ner, how­ever lovely he or she is, to as­sure you their sex­ual health is in or­der. Get tested to­gether, so your re­la­tion­ship is trans­par­ent and you both get in­for­ma­tion from a pro­fes­sional. Make sure the tests in­clude screen­ing for STIs.

“The op­er­a­tive word is ‘be­fore’ you en­gage in un­pro­tected sex. The mo­ment you suc­cumb to pas­sion or pres­sure and have un­pro­tected sex with some­one you haven’t tested with, you’ve def­i­nitely put your health at risk,” Makhetha says.


Fall­ing preg­nant “by mis­take” is one of so­ci­ety’s most com­mon life mis­takes. Young peo­ple, in par­tic­u­lar, often be­lieve “it won’t hap­pen to me.” The good news is that it doesn’t have to. “Fall­ing preg­nant and keep­ing the baby is one of the big­gest de­ci­sions you’ll make in your life. So, make sure it’s a de­ci­sion and not a fate that’s thrust on you by poor de­ci­sion-mak­ing,” Makhetha warns.

“If you don’t want to be preg­nant, make sure you’ve made a plan for that. Whether that means us­ing con­doms ev­ery sin­gle time or be­ing on con­tra­cep­tion and hav­ing sex with a part­ner you’ve tested with, you have to make a de­ci­sion. I often deal with women that have un­planned preg­nan­cies and sur­prise STIs at the same time. It is stress­ful and com­pletely un­nec­es­sary, and you have the power to avoid that,” she adds.

Keep in mind that the pull-out method is not a smart plan for stay­ing on the right side of your goals; it’s a roll of the dice and if it re­ally worked, at least a third of the pop­u­la­tion wouldn’t ex­ist.


If you are hav­ing sex, a visit to a gy­nae­col­o­gist needs to be a pri­or­ity. “Sex­ual health isn’t just about the ac­tual act of sex, it’s also about mak­ing sure you are in good health,” Makhetha says. An­nual gy­nae vis­its can help de­tect can­cer, in­flam­ma­tion and in­fec­tion of your re­pro­duc­tive or­gans — some con­di­tions and complications are not easy to de­tect. “Your doc­tor will do a pap smear but also help you with any other complications or con­di­tions you might have,” Makhetha adds. If any­thing feels ‘off’ down there, get an ex­pert to check it out – the sooner, the bet­ter.


It’s not un­com­mon for women to swap sex­ual tips on pleas­ing their part­ners. That’s not a bad thing, in it­self, but some­times some of the ad­vice is just plain dodgy. “Do not put things into your vagina in an ef­fort to bet­ter please your part­ner,” Makhetha ad­vises.

“Women put things like snuff, tree bark, herbs and other weird ob­jects into their vagi­nas, all in an ef­fort to be ‘mnandi’. Your vagina al­ready has ev­ery­thing it needs to make sex plea­sur­able. No amount of eat­ing cin­na­mon and yo­ghurt is go­ing to change how you feel to your part­ner. So stop try­ing so hard. If he com­plains, there is a big chance that he’s the prob­lem, and you need to move on to a part­ner who’ll ap­pre­ci­ate you,” she says.


As much as sex is seen as a phys­i­cal act, there are many other as­pects at play in our sex­ual re­la­tion­ships. “When you have sex

that you are not ready for, you make a de­ci­sion against your­self, be­cause you’re try­ing to please some­one else. I strongly ad­vise against it.

“Your feel­ings around your sex­ual re­la­tion­ships are im­por­tant and, again, the onus is on you to make sure you are taken care of. That can lead to un­com­fort­able con­ver­sa­tions, but that’s bet­ter than com­pro­mis­ing your­self. Sex is meant to be plea­sur­able. And that state in­cludes your mind, body and soul, so al­ways en­sure that you don’t take that part of your health for granted,” Zondi says.


No one has the right to tell you how to pick your lovers. The re­spon­si­bil­ity is yours alone, and it is one you have to take se­ri­ously. “The per­son you choose to have sex­ual in­ter­ac­tions with has to be picked with a lot of con­sid­er­a­tion. Th­ese are peo­ple you are vul­ner­a­ble with and should your con­tra­cep­tion fail, that’s some­one who might be in your life for good,” Zondi says.

She con­cludes: “Lovers can also wreak havoc with your self-es­teem, so make sure you choose part­ners that af­firm who you are, and not those who cause harm. I often tell my clients that be­ing fussy is good when it comes to this. If you are choos­ing de­cent part­ners, sex will be healthy for your men­tal health, but when you choose the wrong ones, the dam­age to your men­tal and emo­tional state can be very harm­ful.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.