Does the subject of sex education bring back memories of awkwardly smirking at your classmates while your teacher waffles on about genital warts?
If you found THAT cucumber demonstration a little too distracting to form a question, let alone raise your hand, we’re here to help. Cue our virtual seminar on safer sex – where you can get the all-important information in the comfort of your own home.
Lesson 1: Condoms
Widely considered the ‘go-to’ for safe sex, condoms help protect against STIs as well as pregnancy.
What is a Condom?
A condom is a sheath-shaped barrier (often made from latex) that can be used during sexual intercourse. They help protect against sexually transmitted infections (such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and HIV) and against unintended pregnancy.
Things to know about Condoms:
- Condoms are unique in that they help prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of STIs.
- You can get condoms for both men and women.
- Condoms have no side effects, unlike other forms of contraception. If you’re allergic to latex try switching to soft plastic condoms should eliminate allergy flare ups.
- They come in all different sizes, textures and flavours so you can choose what is best for you.
- In order for a condom to be effective it needs to be put on properly and a new condom used every time you have sex.
Not sure how to put a condom on? Our sexpert Alix Fox reveals all…
Lesson 2: The Pill
You may have heard of ‘the pill’ as a method of contraception. It’s available in two forms, as a combined oral contraceptive (COC) or progesterone-only pill (POP) - both have been designed to help prevent unplanned pregnancy.
What is The Pill?
Firstly there are two types of pill, COC and POP. The COC or ‘combination pill’ contains two hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. It works by preventing pregnancy in 2 ways:
- Prevents release of the egg.
- Thickens the mucus in the cervix to prevent sperm from entering.
The most common type of COC has a 28-day cycle with each pack including 21 pills, to be taken daily, at the same time until the pack is finished. Then take a break for 7 days, which is when a period will take place. And then repeat.
POP, only releases the hormone progesterone which works to thicken the mucus in the cervix, preventing sperm from reaching the egg. This pill needs to be taken at the exact same time every day, with no break between packs.
Things to know about The Pill:
- The pill does not protect against STIs
- Factors such as diarrhoea and vomiting can make the pill less effective.
- There are many varieties available, which can cause a little confusion when cross-referencing among friends. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so always consult your pharmacist for contraceptive advice.
Lesson 3: Get Tested
If you’ve met someone during Fresher’s week and you want to take things to the next level, a few at-home tests can help give you both peace of mind before entering a sexual relationship.
Our online sexual services allow you to discreetly order a testing kit for a host of STIs. If anything comes back as positive, you can also find a host of treatment options too.
Understanding your current sexual health will help prevent the spreading of infections and diseases.
Lesson 4: The Morning After Pill
Had unprotected sex? Condom split? While it’s not recommended as a regular contraceptive, the morning after pill can be used to help prevent pregnancy after you have had unprotected sex.
What is the Morning After Pill?
Firstly, there are two types of morning after pill – Levonogestrel (such as ezinelle or levonelle) and ellaOne. The former can be used up to 3 days after unprotected sex and the latter can be used 5 days after. They both work in a similar way, by manipulating the hormone progesterone to prevent or delay ovulation.
Things to know about The Morning After Pill:
- The morning after pill will not protect against STIs, it is purely designed to prevent pregnancy.
- The quicker you take it after unprotected sex, the more likely it is to be effective.
It can cause side effects including (but not limited to) stomach cramps, tiredness, headaches, dizziness nausea and irregular menstrual bleeding.
For more information and advice, consult your pharmacist.