There are a number of myths around sex and safety. These include:

Drinking and drugs are fun and don’t pose any risk.

In the haze of being under the influence, this may seem true. But in fact substance use is related to impairment of judgment, a decrease in inhibitions, an increase in sexual risk-taking, an increase in number of sexual partners, an increase in the odds of engaging in unprotected sex.

STIs are contracted only through unprotected sex and a high partner turnover.

Although largely true, the danger lies in the fact that certain STIs are transmitted via any physical contact and it could just involve ONE partner.

Condoms do not work.

It is clear through research that condoms prevent HIV transmission very well if they are used correctly and consistently every time you have sex.

Condoms break a lot, so what’s the point?

Less than 2 percent of condoms break when they are used correctly, which means no oil lubricants, no doubling of condoms and no expired condoms.

HIV can get through the condoms.

If intact, HIV cannot get through latex or polyurethane condoms.

If you masturbate, it means you are lonely and perverted.

Most experts agree that masturbation can be a very positive experience. Masturbation is a risk-free way to learn about your body and what feels good to you.

I would know if I had an STI.

This would be great if only it were true. Unfortunately, not only are many STIs asymptomatic (meaning no visible signs are present), it is impossible to be tested for everything and have an up-to-date indication of your health status. There are several common STIs for which there are either no commercial tests, or for which the tests are only accurate during an outbreak.