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Safer sex

Safer sex means taking care of yourself and having the kind of sex you want when you are ready. The four C’s: consent, contraception, condoms and checks can help make sex safer for you and your partner.


Safer sex means taking care of yourself physically and emotionally. You and your partner need to feel right about the decision to have sex and understand how to make it as safe as possible - right from the very first time.

If you're in any doubt about your decision to have sex, you might not be ready.

Safer sex means:

  • having the kind of sex you want - not being pressured or forced into doing anything you don't want to do
  • being emotionally ready to have sex
  • having sex in a way that avoids getting or passing on sexually transmissible infections (STIs)
  • not getting pregnant, or getting someone pregnant, until you want to.

Taking risks with sex or making decisions based on bad information, can lead to situations that might change the rest of your life.

The only way to be absolutely sure you won’t/don’t get pregnant is not to have (opposite sex) sex but, if you do decide to, then you need to make sure you’re as safe as possible. That means you’re protected against pregnancy when you don’t want to or becoming infected with an STI.


Think about the four C’s:

  • consent
  • contraception
  • condoms
  • checks (STI).


Both people have to agree to any kind of sexual activity. Consent once does not mean consent for everything, every time.


Use contraception to make sure you’re as safe as possible when having sex.

Contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy. When you go to see a nurse or doctor about contraception, they will ask you questions about you and your family’s health so they know which contraception will be safest for you.

There are different methods of contraception. Some methods of contraception are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Talk to your nurse or doctor about how to make sure your contraception is as effective as possible – for instance, taking the contraceptive pill at the same time each day.


Condoms are the only method of contraception that protect against both pregnancy and most STIs.


  • are easy to get
  • are easy to use
  • have no side effects (unless you’re allergic to rubber)
  • help prevent cancer of the cervix If you use condoms (with lubricant) correctly every time you have sexual intercourse, condoms provide very good protection from pregnancy and infection.


Regular sexual health checks are important once you become sexually active. Many STIs don’t have any symptoms so you won’t know that you, or your partner, may be infected.

STIs can be passed on through any type of sex, and in some cases just skin to skin contact.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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