Featuring Deborah J. Herchelroath, DO, FACOOG
Safe sex can mean a number of different things to many different people. Being not only physically safe but also being emotionally safe is a part of safe sex that many people might not think about or consider being a part of practicing safe sex.
What does “safe sex” mean?
Emotionally Safe Sex
It is important to feel safe around the person you are going to have sex with. Emotionally safe sex is being sexual with a partner you feel comfortable with and is done within an environment in which you feel inspired to express yourself openly, honestly, and authentically. Trust is an important quality in healthy sex. It helps us feel emotionally safe and secure about choosing to remain in an intimate relationship with our partner. Without trust, we’re likely to feel increased amounts of anxiety, fear, disappointment, and betrayal.
Hook-ups (sexual encounters between individuals who are not in a romantic relationship) have emerged in the last century and have become a social norm. Popular culture has influenced this shift. The media suggest hookups can be both physically and emotionally enjoyable with “no strings attached”. These encounters provide temporary pleasure, but can also result in guilt and negative feelings.
With the “hook up” apps available today, it is a tricky thing. Apps like Tinder and Grindr allow the user to find a random partner for a quick introduction. An estimated 450 million profiles are rated every day and membership is growing by 15% each week. Obviously, the couple can do what they like once they meet. It is risky to do this, but not a new idea. The apps make it quicker and easier to engage in high-risk behaviors. The user accesses the apps on a smartphone, instead of prowling the streets. Tinder enables people to get along, although in a sexual and superficial way. Specifically, young adults are using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters. Studies have shown that sexually transmitted infection (STI) cases for young adults are growing at a faster rate than the rest of the population, in large part because of these apps.
Casual sex is sex for physical pleasure only, without emotional connection no strings attached. The media assures us of the thrilling excitement of the casual sex lifestyle. The current adult generation has yet to deal with the problems caused by promiscuous sex easily accessible by social media. Our sex-crazed society willfully overlooks the bad fruits of its actions. If you are using or thinking about using a dating app to meet new people, be sure to use a condom to help prevent STIs.
Safe sex can mean a variety of things to different people and requires much more time than one blog can give. Stay tuned for the next blog on contraception. If you have any questions about emotionally safe sex, talk to your primary care provider, or gynecologist.
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About UPMC Harrisburg
UPMC Harrisburg is a nationally recognized leader in providing high-quality, patient-centered health care services in south central PA. and surrounding rural communities. UPMC Harrisburg includes seven acute care hospitals and over 160 outpatient clinics and ancillary facilities serving Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, Juniata, Franklin, Adams, and parts of Snyder counties. These locations care for more than 1.2 million area residents yearly, providing life-saving emergency care, essential primary care, and leading-edge diagnostic services. Its cardiovascular program is nationally recognized for its innovation and quality. It also leads the region with its cancer, neurology, transplant, obstetrics-gynecology, maternity care, and orthopaedic programs.