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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Man to Man sex

The only way to reduce HIV transmission or other sexually transmitted infections during sex is to use a barrier - most commonly a condom.

If you are having anal sex, it's important that you use a regular condom which fits your penis, and use plenty of water based lubricant. Recent studies have shown that extra strong condoms are not needed for anal sex, providing that you use them properly.

Although in the UK, flavoured condoms are put under the same rigorous testing as regular condoms, they generally should not be used for anal sex, as they can cause irritation to the anus; other novelty condoms should not be used for anal sex.

If you are not having anal sex, still be aware of any sores or cuts you have which may be exposed to your partner's semen. For example, if you are going to have oral sex, make sure you don't brush your teeth immediately beforehand as this can cause small cuts in your gums; chew gum or use mouthwash instead.

If you would like more information on STIs; their symptoms and how to reduce the risks, then click here.

Different forms of sex and their risks

Touching and kissing

Touching and kissing is exactly what it sounds like; responding to each other and exploring each other’s bodies, using your mouth, hands, legs, knees, or whatever feels pleasurable.


  • Touching and kissing are safe, although there is a possibility of transmission of HIV and other STIs if you have open sores and cuts.

Mutual Masturbation

Mutual masturbation is masturbating (wanking) your partner and having him masturbate you. You can make this a part of your foreplay or you can continue this until either, or both of you cums.


  • Mutual masturbation is safe as long none of your partner’s semen gets into any cuts or sores.

Oral sex

  • Oral sex (fellatio) is using your mouth to stimulate your partner's penis, generally through licking and sucking.


  • Oral sex is safe if you don't get semen or pre-cum in your mouth.
  • There is a low risk of HIV transmission, particularly if you have cuts or ulcers in your mouth or a sore throat.
  • The herpes virus can cause cold sores and genital herpes - so if you have a cold sore around your mouth and you perform oral sex, your partner can catch genital herpes. For more info on herpes click here.
  • Some men choose to wear a condom during oral sex; flavoured condoms are available for oral sex. You can order free flavoured condoms from Trade here.
  • If you have Vaseline on your lips and give oral sex to a partner who is wearing a latex condom, the condom may break up, as oil-based products can degrade latex.

Anal sex

A third of gay men choose never to have anal sex. A further third wait until they are in a long-term relationship. There's nothing wrong with wanting to wait for the right person for you to come along: there's nothing wrong, in not wanting to have anal sex full stop. You have the right to choose what you enjoy sexually and should not feel you have to commit to anything you do not want to do.

Anal sex is inserting your penis into your partner's anus or vice versa. This will stimulate the prostate of the person receiving anal sex. To have anal sex, you will need to use a water-based lubricant; you can get information on different types of lube here.

Massage a little lube into the anus to help relax the sphincter. The penis should enter the anus slowly. Allow the muscle to relax: if either partner is in pain, you should stop immediately - you can always retry later, when you may be more relaxed.

If it's your first time, go slowly. The sex involving anal sex is often referred to as fucking.


  • Unprotected anal sex carries a high risk of HIV transmission.
  • If you have anal sex you should wear a condom to greatly reduce the risk of transmission of HIV and other STIs.
  • Use plenty of water-based lubricant and don't use an oil-based lubricant like Vaseline with latex condoms (nearly all condoms are made of latex, except specialist latex free condoms e.g. Avanti condoms), as the condom will break up.
  • More information about lubricants is available here.


  • Fingering is either using your fingers to stimulate the outside of the anus or penetrating your partner's anus with your fingers to stimulate the prostate. This will be easiest with lubricant.


  • There is a low risk of STIs being transmitted during fingering, especially if body fluids or faeces are passed between partners.
  • If it's forceful or your nails are sharp you could tear the skin inside or outside of the anus, which would make HIV transmission easier during anal sex.
  • If you prefer, use a latex glove.


  • Rimming is using your tongue to stimulate your partner's anus.


  • Rimming carries a risk of infection, although it is unlikely that HIV will be transmitted.
  • It’s best to use and oral barrier, such as a dental dam.

Sex toys

Sex toys come in many shapes and sizes, with batteries so they vibrate (vibrators) or without batteries (dildos/butt plugs/anal beads/etc.). The accessories and ranges are too vast to list.


  • When swapping sex toys between partners either use a fresh condom onto the toy or wash it in hot soapy water to avoid the mixing of bodily fluids.


Fisting is along the same lines as fingering, except you insert all your fingers, your hand, and possibly some of your arm into your partner's anus. You'll need to use lots of lube, and you may find that actually placing your fingers into a fist isn't the easiest way to fist your partner.


  • Fisting has a low risk of transmitting STIs. However as it's so invasive, it's more likely you will damage the anus, which can increase the chances of STIs being transmitted.
  • Wear a latex glove and use lots of water-based lube.
  • Go very slowly and carefully. Fisting requires a great deal of gentleness, care and patience.

Some of these types of sex may seem scary and too full on; or perhaps they seem to tame. Always remember that it's your body, and that you always have the right to say "NO", no matter what you have said before and no matter what you are doing at the time.

You can order free safer sex packs here and if you would like dental dams, latex gloves or other types of condoms, then please contact the Trade office.

Sexual health