Maybe the title is a bit harsh -- but it's also the reality. Sex is great, sex is fun... and it sure as heck is stress relieving. However, most of the time, it's best if done "correctly" (and I use correctly loosely here) by incorporating protection.
I'm sure we all had some sort of sex ed in High School, so I'm not here to chastise you or give you the step-by-step of how to put a condom on. What i am here to do, though, is show you how safe sex can also be fun, and how it does not have to get in the way of pleasure or adventures with toys.
So let's get the important stuff out of the way: 1) safe sex prevents pregnancy. If conceiving is not in the agenda for you, condoms and contraceptives are your best bet for the time being. 2) Safe sex prevents STI transmission. Doesn't matter what the other person pinky swears. If you want to be absolutely safe, either go get tested together or invest in some latex (or non-latex options for those allergic to the former).
Now, how do we apply safe sex to fun play?
First and foremost, make sure your toys are completely clean before using. Click here for our step by step guide on How to Clean Sex Toys! Secondly, opt for a toy that is safe for your body. Toys made from materials such as silicone are generally hypoallergenic and sanitation-friendly due do their less porous nature (when compared to cheaper plastics). Silicone also feels great on the body -- it's a win-win for the user!
Third, make sure you're aware of how you're using your toys. For instance, it is not suggested to use vibrators without a base for anal play. Although possible, this can be dangerous and result in a visit to the ER. Not many are aware that objects can be sucked up the anal canal in a way that can only be medically removed. Also be careful with using non-toys for play. I get it, sometimes the urge hits and there's no safe-grade dildo in sight. However, that shampoo bottle might not be the cleanest or safest object around! Always be mindful of the potential risks involved with whatever you're inserting or applying around your genitals.
Lastly, we've all been raised with the idea that sharing is caring. And as great as that is when it comes to cakes and brownies, it's not so great with sex toys. If you're in a monogamous relationship and 100% sure neither has an STI, then go ahead and share all you want. But if there's any doubt, you might want to think twice. Same goes for sharing with roommates or friends. Some friendships have no boundaries, and thats awesome! But if not cleaned properly between uses, a sex toy can still have bacteria on it before the next use. If you absolutely want to share, make sure the toy is properly cleaned and sanitized and perhaps even, that enough time has gone by. Don't trust me? That's okay, I'm not offended! Simply check out this wonderful Q&A from sex expert Emily Moore and sexologist Carol Queen, PhD.