Sex is a natural and enjoyable thing. Once you are of age and participating with other consenting adults, sex can be pleasurable, intimate, and most of all, fun. However, you do have to mind your sexual health. There is a taboo involved with having multiple partners, as well as with how often you indulge in these interactions, but we’re here to say that whatever your preference, just make sure that you’re using protection, and getting tested after each sexual interaction. This is for the sake of both you and your partners.

If you and your chosen partner engaged in unprotected sex, then you both could be at risk of contracting an STD. There also could be a risk of an unplanned pregnancy if you and your partner were engaging in vaginal sex. While you might have gotten caught up in the moment, it’s not too late to take control of what happens next. Your sexual health is more important than you may think.

Before you are inundated with stressors about the possibilities in the aftermath, take a deep breath, and focus on what you can prevent or rectify. It’s a matter of taking care of your sexual health every time you have unprotected sex. Everyone makes mistakes, but taking accountability for those mistakes can keep you and your partner or partners sexually healthy. Not to mention, it can protect you from a host of worse health problems.

Get Tested as Soon as You Can

If you’ve never been tested before, or if you haven’t been tested in quite some time, (after engaging with multiple partners) and you’ve just had unprotected sex with a new partner, then you’ll want to get tested right away, before you potentially spread an STD to many people if your prior partner also continues to engage in unprotected sex with other partners. You must remember that engaging with a new partner is also like engaging with all of their previous partners, too. STDs can spread rapidly from person to person if they aren’t getting tested and neither are their partners.

If you don’t know of a testing center near you, or even how to go about getting tested, then you can always look up where there is a center near you that is quick and discreet through a simple internet search. However, if you’d like to test yourself at home, you also have that option, with many websites offering this service safely and efficiently, like  SelfCollect.com for example. This will ensure that only you know your status, but be careful to follow all instructions very carefully, so you’re sure to get the correct results.

Weigh Your Options on Emergency Contraception

Are you and your partner considering having a child together? Is that something you would be prepared to do as a couple or on your own? If the answer is a resounding no, then you’ll want to look at your options for emergency contraception.

Nowadays, emergency contraception can be purchased at most local pharmacies, and doesn’t even have to be purchased over the counter as it previously had to be. There is some stigma surrounding emergency contraception, but we’re here to set the record straight. Emergency contraception does not induce any type of abortion. In fact, the pill simply tries to prevent a pregnancy happening before it can.

Emergency contraception is a pill taken once. It should be taken with food in case it induces any nausea. Its effects and likelihood of working depends on the time frame within it’s taken. Emergency contraception works best when taken within a 24-hour time frame, though it can be effective if taken within 72-hours. The sooner you take it, the better if you want to prevent a pregnancy.

Wait for Your Results

Once you’ve gotten tested, you’ll feel a lot better. You’ll just need to wait for the outcome of the results and move forward from there. Even if you do test positive for an STD, it’s not a big deal as you think it will be. Many STDs are easily treatable, and go away easily. Make sure that if you do test positive for an STD, that you tell your previous partners of your status, otherwise you risk them passing on the STD to their partners as well.

When your results of the STD test come back, you will either be relieved that you haven’t contracted anything, or you’ll need to visit a doctor to be treated. Find a doctor that you trust. Most likely they will give you information that you will need to keep yourself healthy from then on. This info is vital for taking your sexual health seriously after an STD scare or diagnosis.

Plan Ahead Next Time

Unless you are in a mutually monogamous relationship, in which you’ve both been tested, and are using another birth control method (besides condoms) to prevent pregnancy, then you should be using protection every time you engage sexually with a partner. That includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Therefore, you should be thinking ahead about your sexual health so you can maintain yourself and your partner’s sexual health.

If you find yourself without condoms, buy a pack so you’ll have some for when you need them. If you’re often finding new partners when you’re out socially, then carry one or two in your wallet or purse just in case.

If you do find yourself in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner, and are no longer using condoms, then you can gift whatever you bought before to your friends. It’s always a good idea to help a friend in need.

Regardless of if you’re sexually active at the moment or not, you should be prepared to keep you and your partner protected against STDs. While many STDs are not life-threatening or lifelong, some are. By keeping yourself protected as much as possible, you drastically reduce your risk of contracting one of these STDs.