If you didn't have safer sex in the past, but do now, what changed that the most?

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I got more education about STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
6% (35 votes)
I now only choose partners who care about sexual health & safety
7% (43 votes)
I or someone I knew got an STI
5% (27 votes)
I care about myself more than I did before
8% (46 votes)
I became more assertive and confident about sex in general
10% (55 votes)
I'm no longer embarrassed or afraid to insist on barriers and testing
3% (20 votes)
I found out someone I was with sexually wasn't honest with me
3% (15 votes)
My sexual life changed in terms of posing higher STI risks
2% (10 votes)
I can now afford and access condoms, other barriers and sexual healthcare
2% (10 votes)
Something else (please tell us in the comments!)
4% (24 votes)
I still don't usually or ever use safer sex practices.
4% (22 votes)
I've always engaged in safer sex practices.
18% (102 votes)
I've never been sexually active in any way at all.
29% (169 votes)
Total votes: 578



Agreed. I also had a friend in HS whom would occasionally skip school and she would grab a TON of condoms. Since both my partner and I didn't have access to vehicles of our own, she was the one who single-handedly enabled us to be much safer in our alone time. I am eternally thankful to this grrl and said partner and I are still together. Not to say that using condoms will keep you with your partner, but we did fight a lot whenever we had a scare, the stress was intense.

Teen Pregnancy

And then I broke up with my virgin ex (whom did not give me this scare)

I wasn't ready to raise another human-being.

When we say "safer sex," we're talking about practices, behaviors and tools expressly about reducing the risks of sexually transmitted infections, not about the prevention of pregnancy.

By all means, one part of safer sex, using latex barriers, when it's a condom during PIV intercourse, also has the added bonus of helping to prevent pregnancy. But STI testing, discussions about infections, and making sexual choices with the aim of reducing STI risks either don't or usually don't impact preventing pregnancy.

So, think of this poll as something different than about if you chose to use condoms as contraception or not: safer sex, as a term, is about STI prevention. :)

Editor & Founder, Scarleteen: Sex Ed for the Real World
Author, S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and Col

I was raped and that's how I lost my virginity. he did not use a condom. now, I date someone who respects my 'no's and always does use protection whenever we decide to do it. I'm also on birth control. x

For future reference, when we ask about people's sexual choices here, we're talking about when they really have choices.

Here at Scarleteen, we don't call rape sex for a victim, just like we wouldn't say that someone who got mugged gave someone their wallet or purse as a gift. When we talk or ask about sex, we're taking about consensual sex. When we're talking about rape or other kinds of abuse or assault, we use those terms.

Editor & Founder, Scarleteen: Sex Ed for the Real World
Author, S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and Col

A few days after me & my bf had had sex I started feeling very irritated & itchy down there, I was having a green discharge & became VERY UNCOMFORTABLE!! I instantly thought "I have gonorrhea" ...the next day me & my bf went & got tested together & I was CLEAN! *sigh of relief* so was he, it turned out to just be a very severe yeast infection *yuck* but that experience scared me so much that now I ALWAYS use protection.


me and my girl friend were virgins and weren't really expecting to have full blown sex even though we were to the point of getting naked with each other. I think we were both embarrassed about going and buying condoms also. I think we just convinced ourselves it wouldn't happen because we were both nervous about the whole idea of sexual intercourse, but it did. I was only inside for a few seconds when I came to my senses and pulled out. Fortunately, she didn't get pregnant. We went and bought our first condoms that day.

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