"Even though I use condoms I've noticed a discharge. Am I protected or should I have a check-up?"
If you wear a condom, are you protected against everything? I faithfully use condoms but have noticed a discharge and am wondering if I should get a check-up.
Any discharge should always be checked out by your doctor – but not all discharges are caused by STIs. It could be a simple yeast infection, for instance. The good news is by always using condoms, you are reducing your chances of contracting an STI dramatically. The bad news is a condom won't protect you against all sexually transmitted infections. You can't just 'catch' things from unprotected vaginal or anal sex.
The risk might be much lower but you're also at risk through:
- skin to skin contact: HPV (genital warts) or herpes, if they're at the base of the penis, labia, or groin, can be contagious.
- by sharing sex toys: HPV, HIV, herpes – take your pick.
- by someone simply touching you: Herpes can be spread by your partner accidentally touching a cold sore on their lip, then touching your genitals.
- oral sex: Herpes, Hepatitis – and that's just the 'h's.
- tongue-kissing: there's a slim chance but still a chance of Herpes, Hepatitis and others.
- dry humping naked: rubbing your genitals against each other minus penetration (genital frottage) puts you at risk of things like gonorrhea or chlamydia where exchange of bodily fluids isn't a requirement.
You have several options on how to cope with this alarming information: never have sex again, have sex without performing any risky activities (that'll be phone sex then) or protect yourselves as best you can within a relationship.
While the only real protection against STIs is celibacy, the second best is having a monogamous relationship, when both of you have been tested for STIs and given the all clear. In that situation you're very, very safe using condoms and it's relatively safe to ditch the condoms, but this, of course, only applies if both of you are faithful.