Trade Sexual Health

Free, confidential health advice, information,
services & support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual
and trans communities of Leicester,
Leicestershire & Rutland

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Sexual health

Safer Sex

Practicing safer sex means protecting yourself and others from sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection by taking the necessary precautions during sex and foreplay.

Healthy Sex Life

You can have healthy, safe sex by controlling and managing your sex life in a way that fulfills both you and your partner.

A healthy sex life can mean a variety of things. The most important thing to remember is that it's your sex life we are talking about; that means finding out what makes you comfortable, and what works for you. What this is may vary over time and it can depend on many things.

Your sex life may sometimes be busy whilst at other times it may become less of a priority, but either way you can still have a healthy sex life.

What can you do?

Here is a list of a few things that can help you manage your sex life:

  • Get regular check ups
  • Keep up-to-date on sexual health matters
  • Take action if you notice anything out of the ordinary
  • Get help with any sexual problems
  • Talk to your partner
  • Find out where your nearest sexual health clinic (GUM) is located

Your sex life is going to change as time passes, just as other aspects of your life do; a bit of thought means that your sex life can contribute to the rest of your life rather than detract from it.

Check ups

If you go to your local GUM (Genitourinary Medicine) clinic you can get a regular free checkup for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. You might be able to get this from your local or family doctor (GP) but GUM clinics will protect your confidentiality. Your GP may tell people about your appointment.

Having regular check ups means that you'll have a clear picture of your sexual health, so not only will you be able to put your mind at ease, but you'll be in a better position to talk to your partners about the types of sex you want and the possible risks involved.

Keeping up-to-date

It's important to keep up-to-date on sexual matters. After all, things do change: while some issues might be less of a worry now than they were in the past, you should be aware of any new infections and how they may affect your sex life. You can get this information from Trade or through your nearest GUM clinic.

Take action

If you notice anything unusual about your sexual health, get it checked. Most STIs can be cured with no lasting effect to your health if they are dealt with early enough, and if you follow the medication course and instructions.


Communication with your partner or partners is vital. What kind of safer sex measure would you prefer? What type would your partner rather take? You can also contact Trade to have a confidential chat about any concerns you may have.

Reducing the risk

There are many ways that you can reduce the risk of infection to a level that makes you feel more comfortable.

Trade Sexual Health advises

  • Use condoms properly; allows you to enjoy all kinds of sex and put you and your partner at little risk
  • Not all sex has to involve penetration: non-penetrative sex (with no penetration into the anus, vagina or mouth) can have a lower risk of HIV infection and other STIs and can be just as much fun
  • Be aware of how HIV and other STIs can be transmitted
  • Carry your own condoms or dental dams with you, so you can avoid being in a situation where you need them but don’t have them
  • If you have oral sex, use a barrier
  • If you are using sex toys make sure you always use a different condom between partners or use one toy per partner
  • Wash sex toys with warm, soapy water once finished using them

If you are aware of your own behaviour and how this might put you at risk then you are in a better position to plan in advance to reduce those risks. For example, if you tend to drink a lot when you go out and then wake up the next morning with regrets about risks you may have taken, then perhaps start alternating alcohol with soft drinks on a night out. It can be hard to change the pattern so take your time, and take it step by step.

Sometimes it’s hard to negotiate safer sex with your partner; it’s quite easy to assume the risks people want to take. If you mention safe sex, your partner may be relieved that you have taken the initiative as they might have been making assumptions about you too, or may have just got carried away. The first step is to start talking about safe sex, and with time you find it easier to negotiate safer sex. If you would like to know more about negotiating safer sex, contact the Trade office.

If you have any concerns, or general questions about safer sex you can always contact Trade on 0116 254 1747 for correct update-to-date information and advice.

Sexual health