For the most part, it’s easy to have safe sex — use protection and a method of birth control that works for you, and talk about your sexual histories — but there are also a lot of ways that you might think you’re protected but aren’t. Below are 9 unusual ways to get STDs;
1. Yes, you can get an STD from oral sex. Viruses like HPV and herpes also live inside the mouth and can easily be transmitted to your genital areas because the lining of the vagina is very similar to the lining of the mouth. So dental dams and condoms are actually necessary. Sucks, I know.
2. And you can get an STD if he or she comes on your face and it gets in your eye. Yes, sadly you can HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis B and C via come-in-eye. So basically everything is scary and keep your wits about you. Or just ask if your mate has been tested recently before he or she gives you a facial.
3. Even if your mate is wearing a condom, you can still get HPV if your crotch skin touches his crotch skin. Any skin-to-skin contact can transmit viruses like HPV through tiny breaks in the skin (like a little cut from shaving) on either of you.
4. You can still totally get pregnant while on your period. Taking out your tampon and having sex while thinking, Ah, yes I am safe, is actually not a foolproof plan because your ovulation timing is variable and may not coincide with the timing of your menses. Your chances of getting pregnant during your period are very small (less than 1 percent), but it’s still not zero, so better to use protection anyway.
5. There’s no guarantee your birth control will keep you from getting pregnant. Yes, you can get pregnant while diligently using birth control. Your chances of getting knocked up are less than 1 percent if you use the implant, an IUD, the patch, birth control pills, the shot, or NuvaRing, and about 2 to 3 percent if you just use a diaphragm or condoms. That said, most women don’t use their birth control perfectly every time, so with every missed pill or late NuvaRing insertion, your chances go up. Use a backup method — like condoms in addition to your pills, or a diaphragm even though you’re on the patch — to be extra safe.
6.Lip balm too! First, you need to remember that there are two types of herpes: herpes simplex type 1 (oral) and herpes simplex type 2 (genital), both of which can be spread via direct contact. Also, it’s not easy for STDs to exist on inanimate objects—so you can breathe again. But if someone applies balm to their lips near an infected area, meaning you can visibly see symptoms like a cold sore, and you use it. And on a gross note: Even if a person isn’t experiencing a flareup, they can still spread the virus. It’s just less likely. This also goes for things like lipstick and cigarettes (not that you smoke, MMHMMM?) Lesson: Always, always, always carry your own stick, ball, or whatever moisture-distributing vessel you use.
7.Moist Towels. Sexually transmitted diseases are both viruses and bacteria, so they can live in environments that make them thrive,” says Wider. And what better place to call home than a warm, wet towel? Ugh. Have you ever heard of trichomoniasis? Doubtful—even though it’s one of the most common STDs, and masquerades as a vaginal infection with a funky-smelling discharge. On top of that, it can live on things—like towels—longer. So please, do yourself a favor and BYOT (bring your own towel) whenever you need one.
8.Tanning Beds. You’d think that all that heat and UV exposure would kill off any lingering infections, but no. We’re particularly talking about HPV, which is usually spread through skin-to-skin contact. “Wait, I have HPV and wear my bikini bottoms when I tan, so everyone’s safe, right?” Wrong. HPV can show up on different parts of your body like your fingers, and we’re 99.97% sure you aren’t wearing gloves in those tubes. Then there’s molluscum contagiosum—a virus that causes small, round bumps with craters to appear on your skin—which could be contracted from a tanning bed. Technically, this isn’t an STD, though it can be spread sexually. Nah!
9.Used sex toys. Okay. You’re probably not sharing your Rabbit with a total random (unless you’re into sex parties such as swinging), but before you even think about handing off your vibrator to another person, clean and sterilize it before/after every use. Reasons being 1) it’s been in the *single* place you’d expect to transfer STDs and 2) even if it’s just been idly chilling under your bed, sex toys can pick up other bacteria and germs that you definitely don’t want down there