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ADVICE | I’m going to have sex with someone who has a vagina… like me, how can I stay safe?

This week our medical expert answers a sexual health question on lesbian, bisexual women and people who have vaginas.

Dr Nitin Shori is Medical Director of Pharmacy2U.co.uk, which provides NHS repeat prescription and Online Doctor services, answers, 

 

Dear Doctor,

I’m planning to have sex with someone else who has a vagina (like me) and I want to know more about how to stay safe.

Thank you

M

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Dear M

Women can catch sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) through sex or any ‘one-on-one’ contact, such as oral sex or foreplay.

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To make oral sex safer, use a dental dam – a small square of very thin plastic or latex, which can be used to cover the genitals or anus. It acts as a barrier and helps to prevent STIs being passed from person to person.

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You should avoid receiving oral sex if you are on your period, as menstrual blood can carry HIV or hepatitis. You should also avoid oral sex if your partner has told you they have an STI, if they have a sore throat or if they have any blisters, cuts, rashes, sores or warts around the genitals, anus or mouth, or if they have unhealed piercings in their genitals or mouth.

Some infections can be passed by touching or vulval rubbing. Wash your hands before and after sex, and use latex gloves with plenty of water-based lubricants.

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If you are using sex toys, use a condom to cover them. Change the condom for each partner or between penetration of different body openings. Sex toys should also be washed with soap and water between sessions.

If you have had unprotected sex, have any symptoms of STIs or think you may be at risk of catching one, speak to your GP or sexual health clinic. Regular STI tests are a good idea, to ensure you have a healthy sex life.

The advice listed above is not intended to replace or take the place of that of your own doctor, GP or medical professional who knows your full medical history. If in any doubt make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

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