what does safe sex mean

Featuring Deborah J. Herchelroath, DO, FACOOG

Safe sex can mean a number of different things to many different people.  Not only can safe sex mean being physically safe, but also being emotionally safe. The following are some ways people practice safe sex:
  1. Sexuality and its role in having a healthy relationship
  2. Protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)  like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Syphilis, and  many more
  3. Feeling secure and safe around the person with whom you are intimate
  4. Using contraception to prevent pregnancy
  5. Being intimate in other ways besides traditional penis-vagina sex
The first blog in this five-part series will address sexuality and its role in having a healthy relationship.

Sexuality and Healthy Relationship

Sexuality is a big part of being human. Love, affection, and sexual intimacy all play a role in healthy relationships. They also contribute to your sense of well-being. Taking care of your emotions, looking out for risk factors in advance, and safeguarding yourself, is just as important as doing what you can to prevent STIs or unwanted pregnancies.
Sexual activity should never involve pushing, or one person doing something they don’t truly want to. Entering into an activity you don’t want to do or are afraid of, or pushing someone else to, is a recipe for hurt feelings, a lack of trust, and sexual and emotional trauma.
It is critical to developing solid sexual communication and sexual and emotional boundaries with your partner. Unsafe sex practices are exacerbated by gender-power relationships, which can make a person of any age less able to refuse sex and more vulnerable to sexual coercion and unwanted sex. Young women can be particularly vulnerable.
Sexual health is the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives. It is an important part of our physical and emotional health. Achieving sexual health allows for healthy relationships, planned pregnancies, and STI prevention. Feeling confident about your sexual health also is very important. That’s why it’s essential to be well-informed about all aspects of sexual health and what it takes to have a fulfilling sex life.
Safe sex is an important topic that requires much more time than one blog can give. Stay tuned for the next blog on protecting yourself from STIs. In the meantime talk to your primary care provider or gynecologist about any questions you might have about sexual health.

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About UPMC Harrisburg

UPMC Harrisburg is a nationally recognized leader in providing high-quality, patient-centered health care services in south central PA. and surrounding rural communities. UPMC Harrisburg includes seven acute care hospitals and over 160 outpatient clinics and ancillary facilities serving Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, Juniata, Franklin, Adams, and parts of Snyder counties. These locations care for more than 1.2 million area residents yearly, providing life-saving emergency care, essential primary care, and leading-edge diagnostic services. Its cardiovascular program is nationally recognized for its innovation and quality. It also leads the region with its cancer, neurology, transplant, obstetrics-gynecology, maternity care, and orthopaedic programs.

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