5 Surprising Facts about Safe-Sex Practices

Yes, you can get an STI from oral sex.

For the most part, it’s easy to have safe sex – use protection and a method of birth control that works for you, and talk about your sexual histories. But there are also a lot of ways that you might think you’re protected but aren’t. We spoke to Dr Iffath Hoskins, a professor of gynaecology at NYU Langone Medical Center​, to find out all the secret ways you’re not protected during sex.

Related: 6 Things You Should Tell Your Gynae (According to a Gynae)

1 Yes, you can get an STI from oral sex
Viruses such as HPV and herpes also live inside the mouth and can easily be transmitted to your genital area because the lining of the vagina is very similar to the lining of the mouth. So dental dams and condoms are actually necessary. Sucks, I know.

2 And you can get an STI if he comes on your face and it gets in your eye
Yes, sadly you can get HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B and C via come-in-eye.​ So basically everything is scary and keep your wits about you. ​Or just ask if he’s been tested recently before he gives you a facial.

Related: Semen in Your Eye? Don’t Panic! Here’s What You Should Do

3 Even if he’s wearing a condom, you can still get HPV if your crotch skin touches his crotch skin
Any skin-to-skin contact can transmit viruses such as HPV through tiny breaks in the skin (like a little cut from shaving) on either of you.

4 You can still totally get pregnant while on your period
Taking out your tampon and having sex while thinking ‘Ah, yes I am safe’ is actually not a foolproof plan because your ovulation timing is variable and may not coincide with the timing of your menses. Your chance of getting pregnant during your period are very small (less than one percent), but it’s still not zero, so use protection anyway.

Related: 9 Things That Are Making Your Periods Worse

5 There’s no guarantee your birth control will keep you from getting pregnant
Yes, you can get pregnant while diligently using birth control. Your chances of getting knocked up are less than one percent if you use the implant, an IUD, the patch, birth-control pills, the shot or NuvaRing, and about two to three percent if you just use a diaphragm or condoms. That said, most women don’t use their birth control perfectly every time, so with every missed Pill or late NuvaRing insertion, your chances go up. Use a backup method – like condoms in addition to pills, or a diaphragm even though you’re on the patch – to be extra safe.

This article was originally published on Cosmopolitan.com

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