Barrier methods (like condoms and dental dams)! While the birth control pill, IUDs, Nuvaring, etc. are all great for pregnancy prevention - they do NOT work to prevent STIs... the only option for that, really, is some sort of barrier. Luckily for us all there's a wide range of options to choose from!
External Condoms (Often referred to as "male condoms" despite the fact that they can be used on both penises & sex toys) are what people most commonly think of when they think about safer sex. At the Women's Center we sell a variety of external condoms for just 10¢! We have ribbed, pleasure tipped (bulbed at the top to create friction), snugger fit (which does NOT mean smaller, its just a different cut... like a skinny jean vs. a boot cut jean), assorted colors, and extra large (a bit wider in the band!) We also have latex free condoms for people with allergies!
Some people don't like external condoms, because they feel that they ruin the sensation/mood. If you're one of those people, ask yourself a few questions:
1) Is the condom too tight? Maybe you need to try an XL condom.
2) Have you put lube on the inside of the condom? Seriously, if you haven't... do it. A drop or two on the inside of the condom reduces friction on the penis and makes it feel less like something is there.
3) Are you using enough lube on the OUTSIDE of the condom? Many times condoms will break because things are not lubricated enough and, as a result, too much friction is being created. If you are facing constant breakage (or it just isn't comfortable) think about your lube situation! (We sell lube for 10¢ in the Women's center too!)
Internal Condoms (which are sometimes called female condoms) can be used for both vaginal or anal sex.
Internal condoms are cool because they give female bodied people more control over STI protection for them and their partner(s), they can be inserted a little while before things heat up (as opposed to external condoms, which require an erection to put on), and it is made of nitrile, which can be used with both water based and oil based lubricants (external condoms and oil based lube do NOT mix!)
Here's how you put one in:
Here's some more information about the internal condom & an article about its usage for anal sex!
If you want to try a female condom stop by the Women's center and let us know, we can order some for you & answer any questions you may have.
Finally, dental dams are great for protection if you're performing or receiving oral sex on a vagina or an anus (if you're giving oral sex to a penis, just use an external condom... we even have fun flavors, just for oral!) (Seriously, JUST for oral... never stick a flavored condom in a vagina or an anus... you could wind up with a yeast infection!)
Dental Dams are thin, sometimes flavored, sheets of latex that separate the mouth from the orifice to prevent contact with potential STIs on either end. Some of them come with sticky material on the sides to hold them in place and some (like the ones we have here for 25¢) require you to hold them on your face (like a ninja!) or hold them in place over the orifice.
Some people prefer to use saran wrap (the non-microwavable kind or else its going to have tiny purpose-defeating pores that will let STIs float right though). Saran Wrap is a great option because you can choose whatever size you want, it is easy to stick in place, you can add things to flavor the side that the person giving the oral is using, and you can see what you're doing because saran wrap is CLEAR! Plus, the convenience factor: you likely already have some in your kitchen!