Suitable for 18+

Safe or unsafe?

Woman and man holding condom
Making love is a fantastic part of life, but sex can also carry risks. There’s the risk of catching or passing on HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. And also of getting pregnant, or getting your partner pregnant, when that’s not something you want.

To help you think about how to keep your lovemaking safe, the information below runs through different ways of having sex and the risks they carry for sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy. The risks described here are if you don’t use protection – condoms, dental dams or contraceptives.

Of course, there are many other kinds of sexual contact apart from the ones mentioned here – too many to include every possibility in detail. But bear this principle in mind: there’s a risk of catching or passing on a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, if sperm, vaginal fluid or blood comes into contact with a partner’s mucous membrane – that means in the vagina, the end of the penis, or the mouth.