Vaginal sex carries a high risk for both partners for most sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Want to know how to have safer vaginal sex? Good stuff, you’ve come to the right page.

What is vaginal sex?

Vaginal sex is when a penis enters the vagina, is rubbed against the area around the vaginal entrance or women rub their vaginas together.

What are the risks from vaginal sex?

Vaginal sex presents risks of sexually transmitted infections and of getting pregnant.

Why is vaginal sex a high risk activity?

The bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause most STIs may be present in the vaginal fluid of a woman who has an STI. In other infections, the bacteria or virus may be present on the skin around the vagina.

If a sexual partner has an STI, it can enter the bloodstream easily if semen or vaginal fluid from the person with an STI gets inside the vagina.

The skin inside the vagina and around the head of the penis is delicate. This means that infections can pass easily between male or female sexual partners during unprotected vaginal sex. The risks increase during longer sex sessions as the skin of vagina or penis may become damaged.

Find out more about sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

How can I reduce the risks from vaginal sex?

To reduce risks from vaginal sex:

  • always use a condom for penis-in-vagina sex, to protect against pregnancy and STIs
  • use lots of condom-safe lubrication
  • change condoms before switching to oral or anal sex
  • use a fresh condom if sharing sex toys
  • wash hands thoroughly before touching the face or genitals
  • get checked for STIs before you have sex