Tips for Healthy Queer Sex
Sex is full of risks, and some sex acts are more risky than others. We’ll show you how you can reduce your risks for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) while enjoying a healthy sex life.
Whether you’re topping or bottoming, anal sex is a high-risk activity for contracting HIV and other STIs. Here are tips to ensure you’re having safe, and fun, anal sex:
- Use condoms. When used effectively, latex or polyisoprene condoms are the best way to prevent the spread of HIV and other STIs. Avoid oil-based lubricants and only wear one condom at a time to prevent them from tearing. Be sure to check the expiration date on your condom – don’t use an expired condom!
- Use plenty of lube, perhaps more than you think. Lube prevents tears from occurring on the head of your penis or the inside of your rectum.
- Pull out. We don’t recommend barebacking (having anal sex without a condom), but if you find yourself having sex without a condom, pulling out can reduce the risk of exposure to HIV for the bottoming partner.
- Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP is a vital tool in the HIV prevention toolbox. PrEP is a once-a-day pill that can help prevent you from getting HIV if you are exposed to the virus. We can connect you to resources to access this highly effective HIV prevention strategy.
Fisting, or handballing, can be dangerous if it’s not done properly. However, with a lot of patience and lubrication, fisting can be a pleasurable and safe experience for both partners.
Here’s what you need to know to enjoy yourself and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV and STIs:
- Trim and file your fingernails. Avoid enemas and douching before fisting as they will irritate the inside of your rectum, increasing the risk of infection.
- Don’t skip foreplay. The receiving partner should be very relaxed and aroused.
- Wear a latex or nitrile glove. This helps to prevent bacterial and viral infections. Generously apply lube to the entire hand and the anus, but avoid oil-based lubricants which will cause latex gloves to break.
- Go slow. Go one finger at a time when entering the anus, and ball the hand into a fist when fully inserted. Add lube as necessary – you can never have too much.
- Listen to your body. If you’re the receiving partner and you experience extreme discomfort or excessive bleeding, it means you may have a tear inside your rectum. Relax, and tell your partner to pull out slowly. In the short term, you might not be able to control your bowels, but your expanded anal walls will eventually return to normal size.
- Wash your hands before and after fisting a partner.
Rimming, or licking a partner’s anus, is very low-risk for transmitting HIV. However, it is still a high-risk activity for transmitting Hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other bacteria to the partner who is doing the rimming.
Put a barrier between your partner’s anus and your mouth to keep yourself safe. You can use a dental dam, cut a condom down the middle, or even use plastic wrap!
Oral sex is a very low-risk activity for HIV. In fact, medical researchers disagree about whether you can even get HIV by giving or receiving oral sex.
- Giving oral sex: The risk of contracting HIV by giving oral sex is very, very low. The mouth and its saliva are the body’s first line of defense against microorganisms, and are very efficient at killing the millions of viruses and bacteria that enter the mouth each day. But, if you’ve had recent oral surgery or have badly bleeding gums, it’s best to not get HIV-infected body fluids into your mouth, as it increases your risk of getting HIV substantially. Remember, HIV is not the only STI you can get by giving oral sex – gonorrhea of the throat, for example, can be a nasty illness. Syphilis, herpes, genital warts, and several other infections are easily transmitted by giving head.
- Receiving oral sex: The risk of getting HIV from receiving oral sex is practically non-existent. Live HIV is not present in saliva, and because of this, getting HIV from getting a blow job is not a recognized possibility. However, gonorrhea and syphilis are two diseases that are known to spread from someone’s mouth to someone else’s genitals. Condoms can provide protection during oral sex.
Dildos, butt plugs, anal beads, fleshlights, or any other number of sex toys: all have the potential to transmit HIV when they’re shared during sex.
Here are some simple steps to reduce your risk of contracting HIV, STIs, and other infections when using sex toys:
- Strap a condom on your dildo and other sex toys. Change the condom between sex partners.
- In general, don’t use silicone lube on a bare silicone toy as it may cause degradation to the toy. If you’re using lube on a condom-covered sex toy, the rule of oil-based lubricants causing tears in silicone condoms still applies.
- If you improvise with household objects, make sure nothing will splinter or break
- Use insertables with flared ends to prevent objects from getting lost inside yourself.
- Use sex toys made of medical-grade silicone. Minneapolis-based Smitten Kitten hosts BadVibes.org which assists people in understanding which sex toys are toxic, inferior, or environmentally hazardous.
- Clean toys thoroughly before and after use. Easily sterilize silicone sex toys by boiling them in water for 5 minutes.
- Make sure everyone involved is vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B.
- Don’t douche. Having sex after douching can increase the risk of HIV transmission, as it can cause tears and irritation that makes it easier for the virus to enter the bloodstream.
THIS SITE CONTAINS HIV PREVENTION MESSAGES THAT MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL AUDIENCES. SINCE HIV INFECTION IS SPREAD PRIMARILY THROUGH SEXUAL PRACTICES OR BY SHARING NEEDLES, PREVENTION MESSAGES AND PROGRAMS PRESENTED ON THIS WEBSITE MAY ADDRESS THESE TOPICS. IF YOU ARE NOT SEEKING SUCH INFORMATION OR MAY BE OFFENDED BY SUCH MATERIALS, PLEASE EXIT THIS WEBSITE.