For the most part, it's easy to have safe sex—use protection and a method of birth control that works for you, and talk about your sexual histories—but there are also a lot of ways that you might think you're protected but aren't. Cosmopolitan.com spoke with Iffath Hoskins, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center, to find out all the secret ways you're not protected during sex.
1. Yes, you can get an STD from oral sex. Viruses like HPV and herpes also live inside the mouth and can easily be transmitted to your genital areas because the lining of the vagina is very similar to the lining of the mouth. So dental dams and condoms are actually necessary. Sucks, I know.
2. And you can get an STD if he comes on your face and it gets in your eye. Yes, sadly you can HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis B and C via come-in-eye. So basically everything is scary and keep your wits about you. Or just ask if he's been tested recently before he gives you a facial.
3. Even if he's wearing a condom, you can still get HPV if your crotch skin touches his crotch skin. Any skin-to-skin contact can transmit viruses like HPV through tiny breaks in the skin (like a little cut from shaving) on either of you.
4. You can still totally get pregnant while on your period. Taking out your tampon and having sex while thinking, Ah, yes I am safe, is actually not a foolproof plan because your ovulation timing is variable and may not coincide with the timing of your menses. Your chances of getting pregnant during your period are very small (less than 1 percent), but it's still not zero, so better to use protection anyway.
5. There's no guarantee your birth control will keep you from getting pregnant. Yes, you can get pregnant while diligently using birth control. Your chances of getting knocked up are less than 1 percent if you use the implant, an IUD, the patch, birth control pills, the shot, or NuvaRing, and about 2 to 3 percent if you just use a diaphragm or condoms. That said, most women don't use their birth control perfectly every time, so with every missed pill or late NuvaRing insertion, your chances go up. Use a backup method—like condoms in addition to your pills, or a diaphragm even though you're on the patch—to be extra safe.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.