Dr. Rachael Ross Shares Tips for Safer Sex

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Because March has a day dedicated completely to girls and ladies getting tested for HIV, it’s a perfect time to chat about safer sex and why it’s so important to know both you and your partner’s HIV status. Below are some basic dating/intimacy rules that I not only teach, but I also live by.

Life is too short to get blindsided by something so preventable. So take notes and share with your loved-ones, because we are all in this together!

There’s no such thing as safe sex because any sexual contact with another person carries certain risk, but there is such a thing as safer sex.

Safer sex is being in a trusted monogamous and committed relationship with someone whom you know does not have HIV or an alternate STD (you two have tested together on two separate occasions since the commitment at least three months apart), and using condoms consistently and correctly in all sexual settings where the above conditions haven’t been met.

Practicing safer sex can actually be fun and sexy. What is sexier than knowing that no matter how wild things get, that you have protected yourself? All it takes is a little preparation, planning, and an active imagination. Here are a few tips that will help you practice safer sex without sucking the fun right out of it:

Don’t be afraid of what you like and enjoy. Let your imagination run wild! And when you have a partner whom you trust and know, the sky is the limit as to what you two can accomplish sexually. Let your partner know what you like and don’t like, what you fantasize about, and things that you would like to try. Who knows? He/she might surprise you with some fantasies of their own.

Intimacy rules. When you practice safer sex, you don’t have to spend the next day worrying and wondering whether you’ve contracted HIV, an alternate STD, or even an unplanned pregnancy. Safer sex is the ultimate turn-on and it is the best way to build intimacy and trust in a relationship.

Using condoms doesn’t have to ruin the moment. Condoms come in a variety of sizes, so if he complains about the fit, tell him to try another size. If either of you have a latex allergy, or itch after you use regular latex condoms, there’s a polyurethane option that will protect you without the irritation, so no excuses. Putting a condom on doesn’t have to be a drag, use your hand to manually massage him while you put it on, or get creative and apply the condom with your mouth. Either way, check it out periodically to make sure the condom is still on. When used consistently and correctly, condoms are very effective in decreasing the transmission of HIV, so keep some in your purse!

Female condoms are also an option. The best thing about the female condom is that you can actually show up to dinner with the condom in place and ready for action! The female condom actually serves as a polyurethane protective lining of the vagina and is available at most major drug stores. It comes lubricated, so do not use it with a latex condom. The female condom heats up to your body temperature and serves as a warm and inviting reservoir for your partner’s penis. Visit for more information on the proper use of the female condom.

Explore outercourse. Both you and your partner can orgasm without vaginal or anal penetration. Unprotected anal and vaginal sex are the riskiest forms of sexual intercourse. You would be surprised what you can accomplish through touching, kissing, and handling. Become an outercourse expert! Pick up a copy of Down Right Feel Right: Outercourse For Her & For Him.

Know your (and your partner’s) status: One of the most important forms of safer sex is knowing exactly who you are dealing with sexually. The two of you should test for HIV and other STDs together, commit to each other, practice mutual monogamy, and decrease your risks of becoming HIV positive.

About Dr. Rachael Ross

Dr. Rachael Ross

As a family doctor and a sexologist, Dr. Rachael Ross has been heralded as “The next Dr. Ruth, the nationally renowned sexual therapist who pioneered frank sex talk” by Chicago Tribune. Energetic, beautiful and a no-holds-barred speaker, Dr. Rachael is captivating audiences across the U.S. on television,TwitterFacebookYouTube, and through numerous publications. When she isn’t treating patients at her practice, she is initiating discussions about sexual health and relationships across the country working with OraQuick®, the FDA-approved in-home HIV test.