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How long do you have to wait before having unprotected sex with a different partner?

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ashara asks:

How long do you have to wait before having unprotected sex with a different partner?

David replies:

Hi Ashara,

I think Heather answered this question pretty well in a post called Intercourse questions and answers to the third power

Really, the recipe for safer sex is simple and easy: six months of monogamy, six months of latex barrier use (for oral, vaginal and/or anal sex), and at least two full and negative STI screens for you both. After that, then it is considered safe to go without latex barriers, so long as you stay monogamous and get those screenings once a year. It's still not a no-risk scenario, but it's a very low risk scenario. Rather than gambling or guessing, I always suggest that people just follow that formula, since we know that it works very well, and because it's so very easy to do. That six-month wait isn't a biggie, especially when you bear in mind that a) sensation differences are really not that profound -- consider how many times we talk to couples where the condom came off and no one even knew it happened -- and b) again, unless you're not using lubricant with your condoms, for most women, condoms aren't going to limit or alter their sensation at all, especially since the vagina is not that sensitive.

So:
- Six months of monogamy
- Six months of latex barrier use
- At least two full and negative STI screens for you both

As long as you
- stay monogamous
- get screenings once a year

But remember...
- no method is foolproof
- if you're having heterosexual sex you obviously don't want to forget about contraception

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