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Ah, summer love. Whether it’s a holiday fling or something more serious, staying safe is paramount. Qualified sex therapist Desiree Spierings shows us how to have fun this summer while looking after your sexual health.

1. One love

Stick with that one summer love and don’t have multiple summer lovers! More partners means it increases your chances of getting an STI/HIV and the Durex Global Sexual Wellbeing Survey shows that Australians do get around. (Australian men claim to have gone on to have an average of 24 different sexual partners in total – far more than the British (17) or Americans (20), but significantly fewer than New Zealand men (44). Australian women have had 11 partners on average, fewer than New Zealand women (13), but more than the British and Americans (both 10).

2. Let’s talk about sex!

Talk about the do’s and the don’ts, so you get the loving you want. Part of having a healthy and safer sex life is having sex that is ethical, consented to, and pleasurable. Talking about it makes it more likely you both know what it is you want and what it is you are after when it comes to bedroom practices.

3. Get tested

Get yourself and your partner tested for STIs/HIV. You may not even be aware of the fact that you have an STI/HIV, so getting tested and sharing the results with your partner will make sure you both know what you are dealing with and appropriate steps can then be taken to do it safe this summer.

4. Practice safer sexual activities

Practice safer sexual activities, such as massaging, kissing and mutual masturbation. These activities are considered safer sexual activities compared to intercourse and oral sex, in that you cannot contract an STI from these. Except for Herpes which can be contracted via skin to skin contact. So it is important to still cover those places that may be infected with a condom or a dam, or not touch one and other when an outbreak is present.

5. Put it on

Put it (a condom) on, before you get it on! Using a condom should become the norm, except when both partners are tested and results are shared, because it will protect you against STIs and HIV when having intercourse or oral sex. You cannot know whether a person has an STI/HIV by just looking at them or talking with them. The person themselves may not even be aware of the fact that they have an STI/HIV. Additionally, you should take the responsibility for looking after your sexual health into your own hands and don’t rely on whether your partner is going to suggest putting on a condom tell him to: ‘put it on, before he gets it on!’. It is a high risk gamble you choose to take every single time you have unprotected sex!