Healthy, safe sex

Photo of raspberries

Enjoy sex more

Sex is one of life's greatest pleasures — and you can keep things lively and safe by trying these tips.

Master the art of communication

Photo of a couple walking on the beach togetherGreat sex starts before you hit the bedroom. You don't read minds, and neither does your partner.

Sometimes the best way to improve your sex life is to talk more about what you want. Asking for what you want — and asking what your partner wants — can help you both get satisfaction.

Play it safe

Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are high among teens and young women. Use condoms and practice safer sex to protect yourself from HIV and other STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

If you think you’ve been exposed to an STI, you and your partner should get tested right away — even if you don’t have any symptoms — so that both of you can begin treatment.

For example, human papillomavirus (HPV)Kaiser Permanente is not responsible for the content or policies of external Internet sites, or mobile apps. is the most common STI in the U.S. and can increase the risk of cervical cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer, and cancer of the throat. Most people do not have any symptoms from this virus, and there is no cure, but early vaccination with the HPV vaccine can reduce your risk of certain types of HPV. HPV vaccinationKaiser Permanente is not responsible for the content or policies of external Internet sites, or mobile apps. is now available to everyone between age 9 and 45.

Chlamydia is the second most common STI in the U.S., and 75 percent of women with the disease have no symptoms. Early treatment can:

  • Prevent the spread of STIs to others
  • Lower the chance of reinfecting your partner
  • Reduce your risk of becoming infertile

Read up about STIs and other common conditions that can affect your sex life.

Heat up your midlife

Menopause doesn't have to be all hot flashes and no romance. Though some women experience changes during menopause that can make having sex less comfortable, you can keep your sex life lively during midlife. If your menopause symptoms are interfering with your sex life, talk to your practitioner about treating your symptoms.

Reviewed by: Juanita Watts, MD, April 2016

Additional Kaiser Permanente Reviewers

© 2016 Kaiser Permanente

Reviewed by: Jennifer Seidel, MD, and Amsa Sarah, MD, December 2018.