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Safer Sex Supplies: Condoms and Birth Control

Safer Sex

Safer sex is sexual activity without sharing bodily fluids. This can include vaginal, oral, or anal sex as well as other sexual activities.  Fluids that can transmit sexually transmitted infections (STIs) include blood, semen, vaginal fluids, seminal fluid, or breast milk. 

Safer sex can include using a male condom, using a female condom, masturbation, using a barrier such as a dental dam, kissing, touching, another activities where no fluids are exchanged.

Condoms and Lubrication

Birth Control Methods

Pregnancy

Male Condoms

Condoms help prevent pregnancy and STIs when used correctly. Think OPRAH – Open, pinch, roll, and hold. Remember to check a condom’s expiration date before use and to ensure that you don’t keep it somewhere it will be exposed to high temperatures (like your wallet or somewhere with a lot of sunlight). 

Here are some more tips for using condoms:

  •  Always get consent before using a condom. You can ask, “do you want to use this tonight? What do you want to do with it?”
  • Check the expiration date and for any air bubbles in the condom package
  • Open by tearing the condom wrapper. Do not use your teeth or anything that could puncture the condom.
  •  Adding a drop of lubricant inside the condom can enhance pleasure
  • Pinch the tip.  There needs to be room for ejaculate. This can help prevent the condom from breaking.
  • Roll the condom to the base of the penis or penetrative object
  • Add lube.  It enhances pleasure and can also keep the condom from breaking due to friction.
  • Enjoy.
  • Hold the base of the condom while pulling out.
  • Remove the condom, wrap it up, and throw it in the trash. Do not flush condoms in the toilet.

The Office of  Health Promotion also has a variety of flavored and non-lubricated condoms to use for oral sex.

Female Condoms

Another option for vaginal or anal intercourse is the female condom.  Do not use female condoms with male condoms. It won’t lead to double protection.  As with male condoms, check the expiration date and store them somewhere cool and dry.  They are made of polyurethane and so are also helpful for folks with latex allergies (as are non-latex male condoms). 

Here are some tips for using female condoms:

  • Always get consent before using a female condom. You can ask, “how do you want to use this tonight? What do you want to do with it?”
  • Pinch the inner ring of the female condom
  • Gently insert the closed end into the vagina.  *For anal sex, remove the inner ring and plan the condom over a finger, penis, or dildo before penetration.
  • Gently push the inner ring up to the cervix (like you would with a tampon). 
  • Leave the outer ring outside the vagina
  • Check the female condom to make sure that it hasn’t twisted
  • Add lube on the penetrating object or penis to increase pleasure. This can also decrease noise (female condoms can be louder than male condoms). 
  • Enjoy.
  • Twist the outer ring and gently remove the female condom
  • Remove the female condom, wrap it up, and throw it in the trash. Do not flush it in the toilet.

Dental Dams (Also known as Oral Dams)

Another option for safer sex is the dental or oral dam.  This is a thin piece of latex or polyurethane that help prevent transmission of STIs, including HIV.  It can be placed over the clitoris, vulva, or anus for oral sex.  They act as a barrier between the mouth and sex organs.  Placing lube between the dental dam and the sex organs can enhance pleasure.  Place the dental dam evenly over the area. Hold the edges with your hands to keep the dental dam in place. Do not reuse a dental dam or fillip it over and use it. 

You can make your own dental dam in one of two ways:

  • Fold a non-microwaveable piece of plastic wrap in half and use it as a dental dam
  • Take a non-lubricated condom, use scissors to snip off the elastic ring, and cut along one side. Flatten it into a dental-dam-like rectangle.

Lubricant

Lubricant, also known as lube, is water or silicone-based.  It’s designed to make sex more pleasurable and also safer when using condoms or dental dams.  It reduces discomfort, dryness, and friction and also increases a condom’s effectiveness by helping to prevent breaking or tearing.  DO NOT use Vaseline, cooking or salad oil, hand lotion, or other forms of lubricants. They cause latex to break down and can also lead to skin irritation.

Masturbation

Masturbation allows sexual pleasure through self-stimulation. It is the most effective method of safer sex. Masturbation can also  help improve partnered sex and the quality of orgasms.  Learning what feels good for yourself can help you communicate that to partners. If you use toys, make sure to keep them clean with soap and water.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception or EC is available for use after unprotected sex to help avoid unwanted pregnancy.  It is not as effective as using other forms of birth control or safer sex supplies before a sexual encounter.  It is designed for use if sex was unplanned, unintended, or unwanted, such as in the case of a sexual assault or rape.  It is also designed for use if a condom broke or slipped off or did not work properly. 

Birth Control

Safer Sex Supplies Condoms and Birth Control: Contraception

When it comes to choosing a method of birth control, there are so many different choices! With the wonders of modern technology and medicine, many forms of birth control can be very effective in preventing pregnancy. However, the only 100% way to prevent pregnancy is to practice abstinence. But, we recognize that abstinence is not the best or most realistic option for many students! Therefore, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of birth control. Each person is different, so something that might fit the lifestyle of a friend, might not be the best choice for you!

Here is a chart with some information on a number of different methods of birth control:

contraceptive choices

Even though female students are the ones who take the birth control, it is important for males to understand how birth control works. Check out Bedsider’s short video series: “Guy’s Guide to Birth Control”! http://bedsider.org/guys_guide

Here are some more links to information about different birth control methods:

Emory Student Health Contraceptive Program: http://studenthealth.emory.edu/hs/services/womens_health/contraception.html

(you can find out what birth control services are offered through Student Health, and the costs associated)

Bedsider: http://bedsider.org/methods (you can sign up for free daily text reminders to take your birth control pill, and learn about different birth control options)

Planned Parenthood: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control

Pregnancy

Safer Sex Supplies Condoms and Birth Control: Pregnancy

If you become pregnant, the decision to continue a pregnancy or to have an abortion or is not a simple or easy one. It is important to take the time you need to make the choice that is best for you. Talking with family members, friends, and loved ones can help you through the process. Below are some resources, both on- and off-campus, if you would like to talk with someone about pregnancy and pregnancy options.

On-campus resources

Emory Student Health Services

-  Can conduct pregnancy testing and make referrals

-  404-727-7551

Emory Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

-  Psychologists are available to discuss issues of pregnancy and decision-making. Call to make an appointment; same or next-day crisis appointments are also available. All counseling sessions are confidential.

-  404-727-7450

Off-campus resources

Abortion Services

Feminist Women’s Health Center

-  1924 Cliff Valley Way NE

    Atlanta, GA 30329

-  404-728-7900

*also conducts pregnancy testing and services*

Atlanta Women’s Center

-  235 W Wieuca Rd NE

   Atlanta, GA 30342

-  404-257-0057

Planned Parenthood – Cobb Center, Marietta

-  220 Cobb Parkway North, Suite 500

   Marietta, GA 30062

-  404-688-9303

*also conducts pregnancy testing and services*

Planned Parenthood – Gwinnett Center, Lawrenceville

-  798 Lawrenceville Suwannee Road, Suite 300, Cross Creek Village

    Lawrenceville, GA 30043

-   404-688-9300

*also conducts pregnancy testing and services*

**Note: the Planned Parenthood- Downtown Atlanta location conducts Pregnancy testing, but does not perform abortion services**

Planned Parenthood – Downtown Atlanta

-  75 Piedmont Ave NE, Suite 800

    Atlanta, GA 30303

-   404-688-9300

Adoption Services

Independent Adoption Center – Georgia Office

-  2060 E. Exchange Pl #140

   Tucker, GA 30084

-  1-800-385-4016

-  404-321-6900

**If you would like to make a recommendation for an Abortion or Adoption provider, please do so by emailing heather.zesiger@emory.edu. Thank you!**

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