You might call it “playtime,” or perhaps you prefer the term “hooking up.” Maybe you’re a little more old school and refer to it as “making whoopee.” Whatever you call it, when having sex, your top priority should be making your bedroom time as safe as possible.
Don’t worry. Keeping it safe doesn’t require a lot of in-the-moment decisions. Those types of thoughts or discussions can pour cold water on a steamy encounter. That’s no fun for anyone.
Instead, staying safe means dealing with some important things well before you step behind closed doors. That way, you will avoid destroying the mood without risking you or your partner’s safety or health. If you’re looking for some worry-free time in the sheets, take these seven things into consideration beforehand.
1. Take Steps to Prevent Pregnancy
In the heat of the moment, it’s likely your partner’s kissing ability — not a baby — that’s captured your thoughts. And to really enjoy the experience, you should be in the moment, not thinking about the pitter-patter of little feet. Taking steps to address this ahead of time allows you to enjoy yourself. It may give you some peace of mind the morning after, too.
Whether you’re putting off having kids or don’t think you ever will, correctly using birth control can prevent pregnancy. There are many hormonal birth control options available that reduce your conception chances by up to 99%. Visit this site to find the birth control pill, shot, ring, or patch that works best for you.
2. Carry Condoms
Speaking of birth control, don’t forget about condoms. When used perfectly, they can be 98% effective at preventing pregnancy — which translates to 85% effectiveness in most real-life scenarios. They’re critically important for another reason, though. Using condoms is an effective way to stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
It might sound like overkill, but do you really want to entrust your sexual health safety to someone else? That answer is probably no. So do yourself a solid and always have your own condoms available. You’ll know how old they are (yes, they do expire), and it keeps both you and your partner safe. Consider it a mental insurance policy that costs less than $10 for a 12-pack.
3. Share Sexual Health Details
Before you get to the moment where a condom is necessary, have an honest sexual health conversation with your partner. Condoms are the only barrier method for safe sex that can prevent STI transmission, but nothing is perfect. So getting tested regularly should also be part of your sexual health routine.
That said, before you make it to the bedroom, talk with your partner about your (and their) health status. Whether it’s genital herpes or HIV, it’s imperative that you both understand the risks before you hook up. Taking the time to share the details of your sexual health status will help you take the right precautions.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Drink
Being out with a new date is fun. In fact, it can be intoxicating. That’s why you need to watch your drink at all times. Any glance away is an opportunity for someone to slip something dangerous into your glass. Stay aware so you don’t lose track of where you are, who you’re with, and what’s happening.
When you order a drink, watch the bartender make it. Another good rule of thumb — if you didn’t order the soda or cocktail, don’t drink it. This goes for house parties or at-home dates, too. Make your own drinks and hold on to your cup. If you’re being super cautious, paint on some drug-detecting nail polish and dip a finger into every drink you have.
5. Share Details About Your Partner
You’ve probably been told it’s impolite to kiss and tell. Well, dishing about your potential hook-up to your friends before you do the deed can keep you more safe. Don’t just say they have killer blue eyes and a melt-worthy smile. Share first names and last names at the very least.
In fact, your friends can be great detectives. Look up your love interest on social media together and compare what you find. If something appears that makes you uncomfortable or that seems strange, don’t feel bad about backing out of a date. If you do go out, shoot your friends several text messages throughout the evening so they know your plans.
6. Give Your Friends Your Location
That being said, it’s always a good idea to let your friends in on your plans before anything actually happens. Whether it’s your roommate or your best friend, always let someone know where you’re going and who you’ll be with. It’s an added precaution that will alleviate some worries.
Sharing names and an address is just the first step. Many smartphones now offer location services you can turn on for a few hours, days, or permanently. Your friends can use this to track you if you reach out to them for help.
7. Go With Your Gut
Whether you call it your “Spidey Sense” or just simply intuition, if you feel it, pay attention. It could be that your potential hook-up makes you nervous in a bad way. Or maybe the vibe is just off. The reason doesn’t matter — your gut instinct is trying to tell you something.
There is zero reason to feel bad about cutting a conversation or a date short when something feels wrong. If that’s the case, tell your date the situation isn’t working for you and make a polite exit. If they pressure you to stay, that’s an even bigger red flag. Your safety is your top concern, so text a friend that you’re leaving immediately. Then, touch base again once you get home.
Sex is intended to be a fun, enjoyable experience for all parties. That doesn’t mean you should hop into a situation without any planning, though. To keep things exciting and pleasurable, you must ensure you’re being as safe as possible. All it takes is a little thinking ahead on your part.
You can protect yourself — and your partner — by considering the things on this list before you’re in the moment. If you do, expect a much safer experience once you get past the bedroom door.