How do I set rules about safe sex in a new relationship?
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your sex questions
Q. I am in a new relationship and I want to be responsible and set the record straight about contraception and safe sex. How do I broach the subject?
A. Sexual pleasure is enhanced when both partners can enjoy sex and know that their boundaries will be respected.
Talking with your partner about the type of sexual contact and pleasure enhancements you plan on experiencing together will also assist you in assessing the risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.
You may only be having oral or anal sex, but that doesn't mean you don't have to know about contraception. And just because you're not having penetrative sex yet, for example, doesn't mean you don't have to talk or prepare. It's also vital to remember that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a possibility with any kind of sex.
For penis-in-vagina sex, it's really important to use a male or female condom to guard against STIs and pregnancy, as well as another form of contraception such as the pill, intrauterine device (IUD), patch etc. This is called double/dual protection.
Assuming that using condoms means that a partner is cheating is one of the most common misconceptions.
People must use condoms because they care about themselves and each other.
For anal sex, it is advisable to use a condom. A lubricant is highly recommended. For oral sex, use a condom on the penis or a dental dam over the vulva or anus. The aim is to lower the risk of STDs.
Talking about contraception and safe-sex methods appropriate for you requires a frank discussion with your partner. Find a time when you're both relaxed and set the boundaries for what happens when you do not have a condom available.
You may also want to research some information together, such as who is responsible for which safe-sex solution, where to get them and who's going to pay for your needs, both now and in the future.
This is one of the most important things you can do to negotiate the terms of your sexual experiences and manage expectations with your sexual partner.
• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, Disa Clinic, safersex.co.za.
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