Prioritising Sexual Health: From Condoms To Kinks

Sexual health is a unique interplay between the mind, the body and experience. Here’s how to keep your pleasure safe.



When we talk about sexual health, it’s easy to jump straight into thinking about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the all-important use of condoms. However, sexual health is far more complex and multi-layered; it is a unique relationship we build with our bodies, our minds and our social spaces to have pleasurable experiences safely and securely. Unlearning negative ideas can be a gentle process that welcomes a new sense of sexual confidence. So, whether you’re playing on your own, trying new ideas out with a partner, or searching for a new kinky playmate, here are our recommendations for maintaining your tip-top sexual health all year round.

Talking about Sexual Health

Communication is key when it comes to engaging in sexual pleasure. Explaining what you want and how you want it before jumping into bed with someone is an essential element of sexual well-being. It fosters trust, respect and certainty about the situation you’re about to step into. Remember that our desires don’t stay the same, and take some time to reflect on where you are at on your sexual journey, along with any concerns, worries, or anxieties that have been playing on your mind. For many, changes in sexual orientation and gender identity can have a big impact on libido and confidence around intimacy. Avoid negative experiences by defining what boundaries you need to feel relaxed and how you want to be addressed (and undressed)! For advice during those tongue-tied moments, check out the article “How to talk about sex”.

How we feel in our bodies can change daily. For many mothers, the experience of childbirth can entail reestablishing a whole new relationship with their bodies. Conditions like vaginismus, erectile dysfunction, and physical disabilities can all make sex tricky. Be gentle with yourself and others by recognising, respecting and discussing the impact of traumatic or life-changing experiences. It’s 100% OK not to want sex, just as it’s perfectly normal to have a high sex drive. Keep checking in on your sexual lifestyle to make sure it is serving you in the way you deserve—in love, respect, joy and pleasure. If you feel the need to do deeper work, psychosexual therapists and cognitive-behavioural therapy are great options for dissecting and releasing any obstacles that are getting in the way of pleasure.

Sexual Health, When Getting Down and Dirty

Sex can get pretty messy. With a party of bodily fluids being exchanged, it’s important to play safe. If you are exploring forms of oral and anal sex, take steps to reduce the risk of infections or health issues. For folks into rimming, cunnilingus and blowjobs, using condoms or great new inventions like Loral latex pants lets you engage in a safe and sanitary way. Anal douching and thorough washing before and after intimacy, especially if you’re enjoying a golden shower, can help protect you and your partner from diseases and infections.

Moving into the world of BDSM, from impact play (e.g. flogging, spanking, whipping) to experimenting with wax and rope tying, you want to eliminate the possibility of things going wrong. Once again, this comes down to communication, practice and providing aftercare for everyone involved. Start by discussing what you want to explore, the mood you are in, and any worries that arise. Use safe words to ensure you never push yourself or your partner too far. A straightforward option for this is using “green” (continue), “amber” (approaching a hard limit), and “red” (stop) to communicate your feelings. This allows you to relax completely with the knowledge that you are always in control of the situation. Whether it’s a one-time thing or a long-term relationship, make sure you are connecting with people who respect your wishes and never undermine your needs. Your safety will secure your sexual pleasure.

Tests and STIs

The very idea of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can often come with a bucket load of shame and embarrassment. In reality, checking your sexual health through regular testing and discussing STI statuses with each partner you meet is an act of self-care and self-respect. Visiting a sexual health clinic is nothing to be nervous about. In most cases, you will be tested for HIV and syphilis (via a blood test), as well as gonorrhoea and chlamydia (via urine sample or vaginal/anal swab). If you’re scared of showing your genitals, rest assured that you can do these tests on your own, in private. You’ll only ever have to strip down if you’re exhibiting any symptoms, such as changes in smell, new lumps or rashes appearing.

As always, avoid relying on Dr Google and instead seek professional medical attention in such moments. Recent advancements in HIV antiviral treatment mean that anyone on effective treatment can expect to live a normal life span without the risk of transmitting the virus. For partners of people with HIV, the availability of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) further reduces the risk of contracting the disease. Take extra precautions by using condoms and femidoms, and remember that STIs can be contracted through oral, anal and vaginal sex.

Since STIs can often be asymptomatic, carriers may not be aware. Left undiagnosed or untreated, conditions such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis can lead to infections, infertility, heart problems and even dementia. Avoid any undue stress or anxiety by getting checked each time you’re about to engage with a new partner. If accessing a sexual health clinic is a challenge, check out home testing kits available online, often provided by charities for free.

Tips When at Home

Whether you’re engaging in solo sex, loving it up with a partner, or playing with a kinky family, your health and well-being are fundamental to the joy you will find in every experience. Alongside looking after your mind and body, keep all your toys clean by washing them thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after use. Boiling water and alcohol are great ways to kill off any invisible bacteria, especially on surfaces and kinky attire. Be sensible when sharing toys, as some objects are best reserved for one sexy soul in your life.

We suggest you take a look at the article “Sexual self-esteem, what is that?” to dig a little deeper into your sensuality. Give yourself time to journal, research and explore what feels right. Let that kinky imagination take you to new levels of sexual wonder, and keep giving your body the love it deserves.


Be inspired by Our Films

More Articles

Sex Horoscope 2024: Changing Positions