Protecting myself from STBBIs

  • You cannot get an STBBI if you are not sexually active. This means not having vaginal, anal or oral sex. Genital warts and genital herpes can pass from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact during genital to genital rubbing (outercourse).
  • If you become sexually active, you and your new partner should have testing or if you have symptoms of a STBBI.
  • Make sure you and your partner(s) use a condom (e.g. male and female condoms).
  • Practice 'Mutual Monogamy' which means that you and your partner both agree to only have sexual contact with each other. This can help protect against STBBIs, as long as you've both been tested and know you're STBBI-free.
  • Talk with your partner about sex, pregnancy and STBBIs.
  • Ask your doctor about getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and HPV
  • Be smart about drugs & alcohol. Using drugs and alcohol can lead to taking unnecessary risks, like not using a condom or having sex with someone you normally wouldn't have sex with.
Should I be Tested?

Any form of sexual contact puts you at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted and blood borne infection. Consider being tested for STBBIs:

  • Every time you have sex with a new partner, always get tested prior to sexual contact.
  • At your regular checks up.
  • If you have symptoms such as pain during sex, sores, bleeding after sex, abnormal discharge, mid-cycle bleeding. It is important to remember that many infections do not have any symptoms.

Why use a Condom?

Okay, we are going to be completely honest with you. Use condoms every time you have sex. That's right, every time you have oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Condoms prevent against STBBIs and unplanned pregnancy.

Not convinced, here are some things to think about:

  • STBBIs is not stamped on someone's forehead. You can't tell if someone has an STBBI based on how they look, where they're from or who they have slept with.
  • Think its awkward asking your partner to wear a condom? Imagine finding out you've got an STBBI...
  • Using a condom provides you with peace of mind and lets you enjoy sex!
  • People with STBBIs often don't know they're infected, so it's best to protect yourself.

Condom demo

Not sure if you are using condoms the right way? Don't worry, we've got you covered.

Condom Negotiation

It might not be easy to negotiate with your partner about using condoms. Here are some tips, you may find helpful:

Timing is everything:

We get it! It is hard to talk about using condoms when you are "in the heat of the moment". Try bringing up the subject of condoms before you're even thinking about having sex. It's easier to discuss when you are both relaxed.

Make your message clear:

Let your partner know that you care about your health and encourage him/her to do the same. Tell your partner about your expectations to use condoms. For example you may say, "I want to have sex with you, but I won't unless we use protection." Or "I have decided to use condoms because I don't want to risk getting a STBBI or becoming pregnant."

Make condom use fun:

It can be fun to use a condom! There are a variety of different condoms to try. Experiment with the size, shape, texture and thickness. Condoms also come in awesome colours and flavours. Have fun finding out what suits you both. You can also make putting on a condom part of foreplay.

What if your partner says "NO" ?

Common excuses for not using condoms:

  • "Don't you trust me?"
  • "It's like having a shower while wearing a raincoat!"
  • "I am already using other contraception."
  • "It spoils the mood."
  • "I thought we loved each other."

We all want to please the person we care about, so being firm with your decision to use condoms may not always be easy. If your partner resists or is pressuring you, repeat the message.

Follow through:

Following through on your decision is an ongoing process that may not be easy all the time. Once you have decided "No condom, No sex", you need to stick to your decision in spite of pressure from your partner.

Link to resource with condom negotiation conversation - Safe is Sexy! Please visit the I Respect Myself website

Dental Dam

A dental or 'oral dam' is a thin, rectangular sheet of latex used during sex (oral-vaginal or oral-anal). The 'dam' helps prevent sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBIs).

Store bought dental dams are available or you can make one yourself out of a condom. Here's how:

  1. Cut off the tip of the condom (closed end)
  2. Cut off the ring of the condom (opened end)
  3. Cut down the length of the condom

Voila! You have a latex rectangle like a store-bought dental dam.

How to use a dental dam for safer oral sex?

Dental dams lower the risk of STBBIs by preventing the sharing of body fluids.

Dental dam instructions:

  • Apply a water based lubricant to vaginal or anal areas before putting the dam in place. This may increase sensation and prevent friction during oral sex.
  • Before oral sex, place the dental dam flat over the vagina or anus, completely covering the area.
  • Hold the dam in place during oral sex, and don't let it flip over. Some people mark one side with a pen to make it easy to keep track.
  • Use each dam only once, then throw it out and wash your hands.
  • Be sure to use a new dam if switching between oral-anal and oral-vaginal sex.

Keep dental dams away from direct sunlight in a cool dry place (just like condoms).


Safe to use with a latex condom*:

  • Water and silicone-based lubricants
  • (check package insert for confirmation)
  • Contraceptive foam and film
  • Glycerin USP
  • Egg white
  • Saliva
  • Water
  • Vaginal moisturizers

*Check product insert and condom package for confirmation

Unsafe to use with a latex condom:

  • Baby oil, mineral oil, suntan oil, fish oil, coconut oil/butter, palm oil
  • Olive oil, peanut oil, or vegetable oil
  • Margarine, butter
  • Hemorrhoid or burn ointments
  • Petroleum jelly (e.g., Vaseline)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Vaginal creams (e.g., Monistat, Estrace, Femstat, Vagisil, Premarin)
  • Some sexual lubricants (e.g., Elbow Grease, Hot Elbow Grease, Shaft)

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