Safe Sex techniques
Prelude: the following guide covers the sexual swinging lifestyle “ALL” and represents more than you will find in the swingers lifestyle. The most important protection and barrier used and always available at swinging parties and clubs is the condom. Because the swingers lifestyle consists mainly of married couples and single ladies who already use condoms and various lubricants, the following guide will be of particular interest. Most swing couples do not use oral barriers or gloves. In 20 years of swinging we have used condoms several times as a barrier for oral sex and never used gloves!
You should never share a sexual toy unless you are sure it is new and who used it. Diseases can be transmitted and sperm can also be passed on to another lady, so play it safe.
The purpose of this guide is to give people of all genders, orientations and preferences the information they need to perform a wide range of sexual activities safely, enjoyably and comfortably.
The topic covered in this document is STD prevention, not contraception. Of all the STD preventive supplies and techniques discussed, only condoms and spermicides are effective contraceptive devices, and then only when used together and used correctly and consistently by couples of men / women involved in penis / vaginal intercourse. We strongly recommend that you contact a healthcare provider, a student clinic or a clinic with planned parenthood if you need an effective contraceptive.
Sex is any activity that involves erotic pleasure or reproduction. Sex includes, but is not limited to, vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral intercourse, manual manipulation of the anus or genitals, SM play, reciprocal masturbation, solo masturbation, fantasy, cunnilingus, analingus, penetration with dildos, etc. Sex is still sex regardless of gender, orientation, preferences or number of participants.
Safe, safer and unsafe
* “Safe sex” is sex that does NOT pose a risk of transmission of disease or injury. Fantasy, masturbating yourself, hot talk and non-sexual massage on healthy skin fall into this category. * “Safer sex” is sex that ALWAYS does not pose a risk of transmitting disease or injury. When using effective barriers, vaginal / anal intercourse, cunnilingus / analingus, fellatio and manual penetration fall into this category. * Unsafe sex” is sex with a HIGH risk of infection or injury. Anal or vaginal intercourse without a condom falls into this category.
For the purposes of this document, we will largely confine ourselves to discussions about “safe, secure and unsafe” in the context of disease transmission. However, it should be noted that disease is not the only potential danger in sex. For example, it is possible to injure a person with a dildo if it penetrates beyond anatomical limits. The general guard against such accidents is to listen to the partner and pay attention to any feedback they give you about how something feels.
To agree with sex, partners must respond to each other’s requests to slow down, deteriorate, or stop. If you think your partner would not honour a direct request to stop something with your body, you might consider whether a particular sex with that person is ‘safe’. Even if sex is consensual, it is important to be sober, healthy, communicative and aware enough to feel pain or danger effectively and to communicate that to a partner. There are several excellent books and techniques available that are designed to help people communicate better about sexual matters, and we recommend that you browse your local bookstore to a site that suits you.
A barrier is any physical object that allows sex that would otherwise be unsafe to be safer or safer by preventing the transfer of body fluids. Barriers discussed in this document include condoms, gloves and oral barriers.
Positive benefits of safer sex
* Can be positively rotated by association with pleasure * Gives peace of mind * Can help penis / vaginal intercourse last longer, if desired * Gives more comfort when penetrating an anus with one hand, and makes the practice of anal eroticism more attractive to some people * Can offer a range of NEW sensations, which some people find very enjoyable
Keeps your sex toys clean
Makes sex less “messy”
Can provide extra protection against pregnancy in penis / vaginal intercourse
Protects a person from diseases that are deadly (such as HIV/AIDS), but also from a range of others which, although not deadly, are very irritating and very common
Demonstrates courtesy and respect for the partner
Avoids awkwardness or embarrassment in new partners who only provide safe sex
Allows a person to respond better in many sex-positive communities, where the safe sex precautions described here are generally required for sex or SM parties.
Make sure someone only depends on a partner who knows and tells the truth about his or her disease status
Ladies (the Clitoris and G-spot)
Many women experience orgasm and/or very pleasant sensations through deliberate stimulation of the clitoris or G-spot (the G-spot is often located on the anterior wall of the vagina, just beyond the pubic bone) easier than they experience it through normal vaginal penetration through a penis or dildo. Ordinary “propulsive” sex, if desired, is often much more fun for women after excitement or orgasm. G-spot stimulation is usually easiest to achieve with a gloved hand, and clitoral stimulation is usually easiest to achieve with a glove, vibrator or tongue (via an oral barrier). Many women find that consistent, reliable, prolonged clitoral stimulation is the best way to achieve clitoral orgasm: as with G-spot stimulation, listening to the partner’s feedback is the key to pleasure.
Men (the prostate gland)
Stimulation of the prostate gland can often cause an increase in pleasure caused by penis stimulation, or can feel great even without stimulation of the penis. Prostate stimulation is usually easiest to achieve with a gloved hand and exerts slight pressure against the front wall of the anus. The prostate gland is usually easier to feel than the G-spot and often feels like a soft dome. As is the case with the G-spot, one should listen to the partner’s feedback when finding the prostate gland, as the location may vary from person to person. Using gloves on both hands, one can stimulate the prostate gland at the same time one masturbates the penis. In general, most men prefer a firm touch of their genitals than many women assume is comfortable, and many like to pull firmly on the scrotum.
Use of sufficient lubricant
Most penetrating sex or manual stimulation feels better for both parties when sufficient lubricant is used. Lubricants also help the effectiveness of barriers. Water-based lubricants such as ForPlay, Astroglide and Liquid Silk are the most versatile.
Breathing rhythmically and deeply before and during sex can increase the pleasure. See Annie Sprinkle’s videotape Sluts and Goddesses for a humorous demonstration of this technique. In general, meditation and focus techniques such as these are often used with great success by Tantric sex practitioners and others who have a purely secular point of view. Elements of atmosphere and ritual, such as turning off the phone, putting good music on the CD-player (during repeated playback), rhythmic touch / caressing, long eye contact and lighting candles, are also useful for many people.
PC Muscle Contraction
Contraction of a special muscle, the PC (Pubococcygeus) muscle, can increase sexual pleasure and is valuable for both women and men. See a text such as The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex for information on how to identify, exercise and use this muscle during sex. In short, however, the muscle of interest may be located during urination, by noting which muscle you contract to stop the flow of urine. This is the PC muscle and it can be exercised by contracting it repeatedly and rhythmically, or by contracting / breathing and relaxing / exhaling. It can be used during sex by contracting it when it is near an orgasm.
There is no alternative to being able to tell your partner during sex when something doesn’t feel right, or when it does work. There is no alternative to actually asking about what you want, and learning what your partner likes over time. Higher levels of communication about sexual matters will increase both the enjoyment and safety of all involved. In addition, knowledge of your partner’s fantasies will allow you to build up verbal/ theatrical fantasies and hot talk for them during sex to increase their pleasure. Many people find it easier for them to reveal their fantasies to someone else while they are sexually stimulated. “Tell me your deepest fantasy or I’ll stop moving my hand” does wonders for a lot of people.
Introduction to safer sex supplies
General usage guidelines
To be most effective, barriers must be used from start to finish, correctly, every time you have sex. Use a new barrier with each partner, check the barrier regularly during sex and discard used barriers immediately. One would also want to explain before having sex all the barriers one could use and put them within reach: this can stop someone from murmuring later.
There are also occasions when one would like to change barriers with the same partner: typically this happens when switching to a new opening or contact region to prevent bacteria from being transferred from one region to another. The classic example is having a fresh glove or condom when you switch from the anus to the vagina: transferring bacteria from the anus to the vagina can often cause vaginitis.
Sometimes barriers (gloves, in general) are lightly powdered. If this is the case and you or your partner find the feeling or taste of the powder unattractive, you can rinse the powder with running water. In the case of gloves, you can also buy them in powder-free styles.
A general note with barriers is that you should be careful to remove them after use if they contain any potentially infected material. If they cannot be removed without coming into contact with potentially infected material, at least remove them with a kind of paper handkerchief or towel between you and the barrier (this is particularly effective for condoms), or have the partner who came into contact with the outside of that barrier remove it for you. It is best to turn the gloves inside out when you remove them: after a glove has been turned inside out, you can drop any used condoms and/or oral barriers into it before putting them in the other gloved hand and turning the other glove inside out. around it and throw it away.
Used latex materials should not be flushed down the toilet (because they tend to clog up), but should rather be disposed of in a waste container, preferably one with a disposable plastic liner. Condoms may be left in the paper towel or towel that was used to remove them.
Making barriers more pleasant
The use of a barrier can become more pleasant over time, as it is associated with pleasant stimuli and one becomes better at using it. Some people have also rotated barriers by wearing them: this can be part of the popularity of latex fetish clothing.
Things that improve your barrier, taste better
When people complain about bad-tasting barriers, it is usually because the barriers are covered with something unpleasant. Just latex, nitrile, polyurethane, etc. Have no taste of their own. Common creators of coatings are Nonoxynol-9 (HORRIBLE taste!) and the powder present on some non-siliconised condoms and gloves before powdering (keep in mind, however, that you can rinse the powder off the outside of the gloves with running water). The taste of condoms without N-9 depends on the type of lubricant used: Kimono MicroThin condoms, for example, taste good.
Use flavoured barriers (ala Sheik or Lifestyles mint condoms or Glyde “Lollipops”), using a water-based flavoured lubricant on the barrier, or dipping the material into something tasty (and fat-free, in the case of latex barriers … ) are also options.
Specific barrier materials
Barriers made from lambskin and similar materials are too porous to prevent transmission of viruses such as HIV, which are smaller than sperm cells or bacteria.
The only safer sexual goal that comes to mind for a lambskin condom (which is the only type of barrier that contains this material) would be if a man was allergic to latex, and so he wore a latex condom over a lambskin, or if his partner was allergic to latex, and so he wore a lambskin condom over a latex. However, in this case one could also use a polyurethane condom and thus avoid having to wear condoms, except for those (assuming that polyurethane condoms fit him well). Although a lambskin condom is better than nothing, most people won’t need to buy it.
This is the most popular barrier material. Latex condoms, gloves and oral barriers have been shown to protect against the transmission of HIV and other STDs. Latex barriers are inexpensive and widely available in a large number of different styles.
Any barrier made of latex should not be exposed to anything with oil in it, because oils disintegrate the latex. Thus, water-based lubricants should be used exclusively. Latex can also be damaged by excessive exposure to air, sunlight, heat or cold. The simplest storage solution is to keep latex condoms in wallets/gloves compartments and in their packages and to keep latex oral barriers and latex gloves in their boxes or in a plastic bag in a person’s bag. If latex appears sticky, marbled, discoloured, brittle or damaged, do not use it.
Polyurethane does not degrade when in contact with oil and it can be more sensitive than latex. It can also be valuable for people with latex allergies.
According to laboratory tests, polyurethane should provide protection against transmission of HIV and other STDs. However, the only two barriers in which this substance is formed, the Avanti condom for men and the female condom for reality, are not suitable for everyone in terms of construction and shape.
Nitrile does not get worse when it comes into contact with oil and it can be more sensitive than latex. According to laboratory tests, it provides protection against the transmission of HIV and other STDs. Nitrile can also be valuable in cases of latex allergy.
Currently, the only barrier in which this substance is formed is nitrile gloves. Some people find the texture of these gloves unpleasant, while others prefer the texture to latex. Nitrile is more leak resistant than latex, but the tears in it spread faster. Note that many consider this an advantage: if the glove is torn, it will be torn regardless of the size of the tear, and it is better that the tear is noticeable, so you know you need to replace the glove.
Saran Wrap does not break down in the presence of oil and may be more sensitive than latex. Lab tests indicate that it can prevent the transmission of Herpes, which is smaller than HIV. There is no reason to believe that “Microwaveable” Saran Wrap offers less protection than normal Saran Wrap. The use of Saran Wrap’s STD prevention is almost exclusively limited to forming a barrier against cunnilingus and analingus.
Gloves are often found in medical or veterinary stock stores made from a substance called vinyl. Vinyl has not been tested as thoroughly as latex because of its effectiveness as an STD barrier, and most people feel less comfortable than latex. The use of vinyl gloves is not recommended.
Purpose and use of lubricants
The use of lubricants can protect barriers from friction that they might otherwise tear: the use of sufficient lubricant thus increases the efficiency of many barriers, especially condoms and gloves. The use of sufficient lubricant on the outside of a condom can help to prevent any risk of condom loss, as long as it is used again when necessary.
The use of lubricants can make anal or vaginal sex and masturbation pleasant and comfortable. Most experts universally recommend the use of lubricants for anal sex to prevent anal fissures, and almost everyone reports that vaginal sex and masturbation feel better when used. The liberal use of lubricants is generally considered to be a basic principle of maximizing pleasurable sex.
Because most lubricants transmit thermal energy well, they can increase the sensation transmitted through a barrier. Lubricants can also make the barrier move against the skin in a stimulating way. These are the reasons behind placing a small drop of lubricant in a condom at the tip, on the sex / anal side of an oral barrier, or on the fingertips before putting on a glove. The hope is that it will increase sensitivity and pleasure. Lubes are available with and without Nonoxynol-9: however, see the section of this document in which Nonoxynol-9 is discussed for information that will help you decide whether or not to use it.
A technique sometimes used by experts in anal play is to connect the syringe applicator packaged with the yeast infection product Miconazole to a tube of KY lubricant. One can then fill the syringe out of the KY tube and inject it into the anus: it tends to deliver exactly the right amount, in the right place. The same applicator should not be used with more than one person and should not be used for anal purposes if it has already been used with Miconazole for medicinal purposes (similarly, the nozzles should generally not be shared with enema equipment).
No lubricant with oil in it should be used with latex barriers. Oil causes latex to break and eventually tear: many of the reported failures of latex condoms occur because an oil-based lubricant was used as a lubricant. Oil-based lubricants used in the vagina can also increase the risk of vaginitis. Note that many products such as hand and body lotions contain oils.
Since most available barriers are based on latex (nitrile and polyurethane are rare), you should assume that a barrier is latex and therefore should not come into contact with oil unless you WEET otherwise.
If oil-based lubricants are used (and again, they should only be used with barriers made of substances other than latex, such as nitrile or polyurethane), from a health point of view it is preferable to choose a vegetable-based product, such as sunflower oil or Crisco, rather than a petroleum-based product, such as petroleum jelly.
These are different from “water-based” lubricants. Water-based lubricants are safe to use with latex, while water-soluble lubricants are not.
Silicone based binders
These are safe to use with latex, but also with polyurethane and nitrile.
These are safe to use with latex and any other type of barrier. Water based lubricants should make up the bulk, if not the total sum of your lubricant stock.
Water-based lubricants tend to dry out during prolonged use. They can be re-applied or sprayed with water from a spray bottle to reconstitute the lubricant. It must be re-applied or reconstituted if necessary to provide the usual benefits of lubricant.
If you find that irritations such as vaginitis are a persistent problem (assuming you have ruled out the possibility of being allergic to spermicide use and being allergic to the barrier material itself), try switching to a non-sugar lubricant, such as a liquid side. Liquid Silk also has the ability to be very consistent during use and is a favorite with some people.
Nonoxynol-9 as a contraceptive
Nonoxynol-9 (N-9) is a substance that is often used as a spermicide: when placed in the vagina and used in combination with another form of contraception, such as condoms, it is a very effective contraceptive.
As an STD preventative
There is sufficient evidence that N-9 is an effective contraceptive. However, there is less evidence from the field (as opposed to the laboratory) that it helps in STD prevention. N-9 can be chemically hard on the sensitive liners of the vagina, anus and penis urethra, and in some cases it can cause micro tears that could increase the risk of transmission of pathogens. If you are allergic to N-9 (recognizable by itching, burning, etc.) or experience any discomfort when using similar products without spermicides, do not expose yourself to products containing N-9. Even slight discomfort may be a sign that any STD preventative capabilities are being lost due to the mechanism described above. In addition, the fact that safer sex is made uncomfortable for you makes it more likely that you will use safer sexual precautions inconsistently: this is much worse than any theoretical benefit that the N-9 could have provided.
If someone is allergic or sensitive to Nonoxynol-9, an alternative may be the use of products containing Nonoxynol-15 or Octoxinol. Since barriers, spermicides and lubricants with these alternative spermicides are not nearly as widely available as those with Nonoxynol-9, they will not be specifically mentioned in this document: however, you can always replace them with Nonoxynol-9 products if you wish. None of these spermicides should be used in the mouth.
Dropping sexual precautions
Some people choose not to use barriers with their primary partner(s), once they are convinced that they are all disease-free and none of these people with unprotected sex will get any illnesses during their relationship . They then use the most conservative safer sexual precautions with all other partners, but not among themselves. This is sometimes called “latex monogamy”. It is only safe if all primary partners fail in their commitment to completely safe sex outside the primary group.
A common agreement is to form “latex monogamy” with your partner. One can also choose not to have sex with people other than the partner once the procedures below have been completed: this is called ‘traditional monogamy’. Abstinence is a choice for many people, while for others, multi-partner or open relationships are preferred. It’s about being able to lead a healthy, loving life without sexual partners, one sexual partner, two sexual partners or many sexual partners. For a discussion of the challenges and joys of non-traditional relationship arrangements, read Love Without Limits by Dr. Deborah Anapol. The number of sexual partners you choose to have, and the number of intimate friends you choose to have, is entirely up to you. However, for those who want polyamory WITHOUT forming “latex monogamy” groups, it should be noted that, according to a recent analysis, “Consistent and careful condom use is a much more effective method of reducing HIV infection than reducing the number of sexual partners” [Reiss and Leik, 1989]. Of course, even if safe sex precautions can be removed because STDs are no longer a concern, there are some practices that one wishes to maintain for other reasons. For example, it is sometimes advisable to continue using condoms for penis / anal intercourse, even if neither partner is infected with an STD, because bacteria in the anus can (sometimes) cause an infection in the urethra of the penis.
It should also be stressed that test results are generally NOT a substitute for the use of barrier methods. Even if someone shows you an official negative test result, all you can say is that they are not infected at any time BEFORE the test. They could have become infected after the test was taken and they could have become infected too quickly before the test to distinguish the infection properly (this “window period” is six months in the case of HIV). Many dedicated partners choose to continue using safer sexual precautions with each other: the decision to follow the steps below is entirely personal.
Steps involved in dropping safer sexual precautions
Note: “Primary partners” are the group of people who want to drop safer sex procedures with each other. They should all follow the steps below.
Use full barriers with everyone, including all primary partner(s), for more than six months. Do nothing during this period, not even slightly risky.
After six months (or more), everyone in the group with primary partners will receive a full set of STD tests. They share the results with each other.
If everyone turns out negative, the primary partners may now drop barriers with each other, but from then on they should remain cautious about using the most conservative safe sex procedures with everyone else, or perhaps just not be sexually intimate with someone else.
From this point on, if even one of the primary partners forming this group is unfair about his or her practices, or incompetent for safe sex with external partners, it endangers the health of everyone in the group.
The complete safer sex safety card
Hand mouth anus Vulva penis
Hand None Glove Glove or condom
Mouth None Oral Barrier Oral Barrier Condom
Anus Glove Oral barrier NA NA Condom
Vulva Glove Oral barrier NA Oral barrier condom
Penis glove or Condom Condom Condom Condom Condom
There is certainly a hierarchy of risks. When barriers are NOT used, current evidence suggests that penis / anal intercourse is the most risky, followed (in descending order of estimated risk) by penis / vaginal intercourse, fellatio / cunnilingus / analingus and finally manual anal / vulvale / penis manipulation / penetration. Menstruation, ejaculation and the presence of small cuts in the skin can further increase the risk of some activities. It should be noted that if the skin is unbroken and healthy and there is no cum or pre-cum present, this manual / oral contact with the shaft of the penis (avoiding the head and urethra) is no different from manual / oral contact with any other area of intact and healthy skin. Most experts agree that urinating on unbroken skin (keeping urine away from the eyes) poses little or no danger to health.
Sex toys applied to the head of the penis or vulva, or used to penetrate the vagina or anus, should also be protected with some kind of barrier, so that they can be easily cleaned and used easily and safely with a variety of people. Condoms work well for anal and vaginal dildos, as well as cylindrical vibrators. For small butt plugs, the condom can be stretched so that it fits over the base of the plug. Gloves work well for larger (Hitachi-type) vibrators. See the section of this document relating to SM equipment for more information about some problems with toys.
The use of barriers
Try different condoms to find the brand that works for you. Often some brands offer a better fit than others, and a good fit is important for the condom to work optimally.
Keep the following in mind:
For vaginal and anal penetrating sex you must add lubricant from your bottle on the outside of the condom. So whether the condom has been lubricated beforehand is not important if you have lubricant yourself.
Uncircumcised men may find condoms with a contour more comfortable, and circumcised men find condoms with a shape more comfortable.
For use on penises, choose a condom with a reservoir tip. For use on dildos or cylindrical vibrators, you can select a condom with a regular (non reservoir) tip if you wish.
Lambskin condoms are not effective in preventing HIV transmission and should be avoided.
For fellatio, make sure you use a condom without N-9. Of course you don’t have to add lubricant outside the condom, but feel free to put something in it – maybe a little more than normal. See also the section of this document entitled “Things that improve your barrier better” for more information.
Many people love Kimono MicroThin condoms. If you have no idea which brand of condom to buy, this brand can be a good starting point. They have no taste and are fine for fellatio.