Safer sex alternatives to sexual intercourse that can lower your risk of getting an STI.

Unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sexual intercourse is the easiest way to catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI or STD). Even if you use a condom, there can still be some risk from intercourse. As well as using a condom, choosing lower risk sex activities can reduce your risk of catching an STI.

Drugs and alcohol use and sex

An important part of safer sex is your ability to make decisions when sexual activity happens or looks like it might happen. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can prevent you from doing things to protect yourself, such as putting on a condom. This can increase your risk of catching or transmitting an STI or becoming pregnant.

If you are an intravenous drug user, you are at risk of catching or transmitting STIs through sharing drug equipment, such as needles, syringes, and pipes. If you don’t use drugs but your partner does, you could be at risk if you have unprotected sex with your partner.

One tip is to think in advance about how much alcohol or drugs you will have, and the type of sex you are willing to have.

Safer alternatives to sexual intercourse

You can have safer sex that does not involve intercourse - and still enjoy sex. It can even enhance your sexual enjoyment. Trying out different sex activities can also help you and your partner get to know each other’s sexual preferences.

Safer alternatives to intercourse include:

  • Kissing
  • Hand jobs
  • Self pleasure, such as masturbation or mutual masturbation
  • Frottage or dry humping, which is sexual rubbing without intercourse or penetration
  • Online sex
  • Phone sex
  • Sex toys (use a new condom on any sex toys you share with a partner)