In a perfect world free from STIs and unwanted pregnancies, we’d be encouraged to engage in all the bareback sex our little parts could handle. Unfortunately, said world does not exist. For this reason having protected sex — despite its bad rap — is quite literally a life saver, and no amount of negative PR should undermine its transformative capabilities.
“By ignoring our sexual health, we have enabled a generation of women with more STDs than ever before,” Nikka Chen, co-founder of the eco-friendly condom company Sustain, says. “And if you think that you’re not at risk because of where you live, who you sleep with, or your demographics, think again. It’s time for all of us to talk about sex and safe sex more openly and honestly, because STDs can be life-changing.”
Despite many safe sex activists fighting the good fight, there are too many out there who believe unprotected sex feels so good it’s worth ignoring consent to get. If you’re up on the latest sex news, there’s even a new name for the practice: “stealthing.” Basically, this vile act is where dudes slip off a condom mid-act, unbeknownst to their partners. The whole thing is non-consensual and pretty much tantamount to sexual assault. Are condoms really ever so awful that you have to violate another person’s bodily sovereignty? (That answer should be a resounding NO.)
Although safe sex is continually affirmed in certain circles, there’s always room for yet another reminder why it’s hot AF. Here are six reasons why protected sex rules:
1. It Protects You From STIs
This may be the most obvious answer, but it’s hella important. Correct usage of a condom (that means not putting it on inside out OR double bagging it) is 98 percent effective against HIV and STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.
2. It Prevents Unwanted Pregnancy
Barrier devices have been used since the dawn of civilization to prevent pregnancy, and they’re only getting better. Although human error with condom use still occurs, even 82 percent effectiveness is better than the 0 percent effectiveness of using no protection at all.
3. It Keeps Your Vaginal Biome Healthy
Vaginas are like greenhouses, the temperature and humidity and organisms inside have to be balanced just right or all hell breaks loose. And wouldn’t you know it, but unprotected sex can disrupt your vaginal biome, and cause bacterial vaginosis and other not-so-savory infections like it.
4. It Fosters Communication
Having safe sex means talking about it. You can’t just be a silent wallflower and expect the person you’re bangin’ to whip out the latex device of your choosing and use it accordingly. Although it can be awkward at first to talk about protected sex, it only makes you a better communicator, which means you’ll eventually be better at asking for other things in bed, too. And that is pretty hot.
5. It Makes Multi-Use Sex Easier
If you’re into switching it up during sex — and switching orifices — using a condom can make things a whole lot safer and cleaner. We all know you shouldn’t follow backdoor action with vaginal intercourse, but if you have a fresh condom to pop on, it’ll save you a trip to the bathroom to wash up mid-session.
6. It’s Cheap AF
The best part about safe sex? Condoms are everywhere — and a lot of the time, they’re free. There’s no better deal than saving yourself from unwanted STIs and pregnancy for little to no cost with the added bonuses of improving communication and streamlining your sessions.