Safer Sex is...

  • about knowing your options.
  • for everyone – no matter your age, race, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, number of partners, relationship status or whether you’ve been diagnosed with an STI before.
  • being comfortable with what you’re doing and being able to talk to your partners about what you do and don’t want.
  • sex that considers your plans around pregnancy.
  • about choosing options that lower the chance of passing or getting STIs and keep you and your partners healthy.
  • taking steps to get tested for STIs if you are sexually active and getting treatment if you are diagnosed with an STI.
  • fun, stimulating, exciting and erotic.

Talking about sex and consent

Talking to your partners about sex can be a way of making sure that consent is asked for or given for anything that happens during sex. Consent is for everyone. It means feeling safe and comfortable with what is going on. Consent is not a one-time thing—it is an ongoing process. It also means you have the right to change your mind or stop any activity that does not feel safe at any point. Consent is an important and necessary part of sex. Talk to your partners about what feels safe for you and them.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Most STIs are caused by germs (bacteria or viruses) that are passed from one person to another during sex or intimate contact. There are also STIs caused by parasites, such as pubic lice and scabies, but these will not be discussed in this guide.

STIs caused by bacteria can be cured with a short course of antibiotics. If diagnosed and treated soon after infection, a bacterial STI is generally less likely to cause damage to the body.

STIs caused by viruses cannot be cured with antibiotics, but the symptoms can be managed with medication. If you have a viral STI it is important to talk to a health professional about how best to manage and treat the infection.