How do you prevent STBBIs?

To reduce the risk of transmission as much as possible, bands are better than solo artists: combine STBBI screening with barrier protection methods and lubricant (if you like things nice and slippery).

Barrier protection methods

External condoms

The external condom, or the “traditional” condom, is the most popular method of protection against sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs). The ultimate headliner of protection! The external condom is put on the penis, dicklit (a word some transmasculine people use to refer to the outer part of the clitoris that has grown bigger with testosterone), or sex toys (like dildos or vibrators) before vaginal or anal penetration. When sharing sex toys, condoms should be changed between each use and each partner. Different sizes are available to better fit the surfaces that need to be covered, and some even come in several flavours for oral sex (but beware… flavoured condoms are best reserved for oral sex, because they can cause irritation to or provoke an allergic reaction in the anus or vagina).

External condoms can also be made into dental dams for oral sex by cutting them lengthwise. However, it requires a bit of DIY skills (#ArtAttack) and you have to be careful with the scissors so as not to damage the usable surface.

Here are our season favourites:

Essential: Lubricated condoms

You don’t change a classic. Most condoms are lubricated to minimize friction and maximize comfort. In addition, did you know that friction increases microlesions, and therefore, the risk of STBBI transmission? If you have a non-lubricated condom, you can also use it with a lubricant, but avoid oil-based ones.

Favourite: Condoms of different sizes

There are plenty of different sized condoms out there to ensure everyone’s comfort: slim fit formats, which are ideal for a tighter feel, or larger Magnums with a wider end for when you’re feeling a bit too cramped. Choosing the right size gives you more comfort and ensures that the condom stays in place.

Discovery: Flavoured condoms

To protect yourself during oral sex, flavoured condoms are more pleasant to use than basic lubricated condoms, but they shouldn’t be used for anal or vaginal penetration because the sweetness and flavour compounds can irritate the mucosa or even cause an allergic reaction.

Discovery: Latex-free condoms

Don’t think you can wear condoms because every time you do, you get the equivalent of a sunburn down there? If so, you might be allergic to latex. Instead, try using hypoallergenic, latex-free condoms to have all the safe fun you deserve.

Internal condom

Internal condoms are inserted inside the vagina or anus before penetration by a penis, dicklit (a word some transmasculine people use to refer to the outer part of the clitoris that has grown bigger with testosterone) or sex toy.

Dental dam

Dental dams are square-shaped pieces of latex or polyurethane that can be used to cover the vulva or anus during oral sex.

Latex glove or finger

As its name suggests, latex gloves are to be put on hands like ordinary gloves and can be used as protection during mutual masturbation and fistfucking. Another option, the latex finger, is placed over a single finger for digital stimulation of the anus, clitoris, or vagina. Put your gloves on. 🤙


Did you know that friction increases microlesions, and therefore, the risk of STBBI transmission? Lubricants can be used alone or with a barrier method to increase pleasure and minimize friction. There are water, silicone, and oil-based lubricants and they come in a wide selection of smells, textures, and sensations depending on your preferences. There really is something for everyone!

Remember not to use an oil-based lubricant with latex condoms because it can damage them, making them ineffective against STBBIs (so maybe use that great DIY coconut oil recipe you saw earlier online for something else)!

Silicone-based lube is a must if you want things to glide all the way into the next festival season. Don't worry, slide happy! It’s also compatible with condoms, but don’t use it with silicone toys… Otherwise, you can say goodbye to your new $250 vibrator!

Water-based lubricant is best if you want to get as close as possible to the feel of natural lubrication or if you are prone to allergic reactions, since its pH resembles that of the vagina. It’s also compatible with condoms and sex toys. In addition, it’s odorless and tasteless. It’s your friendliest partner in crime!

These are our favourites, but we have an even more detailed article for you if you want to know everything there is to know about the different types of lubricants.

PrEP and PEP

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are additional protective methods against HIV that, when combined with safer sex practices, reduce the risk of transmission to people who do not have HIV.

PEP is like the morning after pill, but for HIV. It is taken as soon as possible after a potential exposure to HIV—up to 72 hours to be most effective. It is a tritherapy (a combination of three drugs) that is commonly used to treat HIV, which aims to block the virus’s replication, and thus, to prevent a permanent infection. If you believe you have been at risk of contracting HIV, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to start treatment within 72 hours. You can go to a hospital’s emergency room or to a clinic specializing in sexual health. A pharmacist can also prescribe it for you for three days, while you wait for your consultation appointment. Treatment lasts for 28 days and is covered by Quebec’s drug insurance plan, which means that your maximum out-of-pocket contribution is approximately $95 (instead of $1,500–2,000).

PrEP is a preventive treatment. It combines two drugs used to treat HIV in one pill and aims to block the virus’s replication to prevent permanent infection. PrEP is intended for people who are at risk of contracting HIV, such as an HIV-negative person who has frequent sexual relations with one or more HIV-positive people who are not treated or whose viral loads are detectable. If you think PrEP is a good option for you, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a doctor to find out more.

The price of PrEP varies according to insurance coverage but if you are covered by the Quebec health insurance plan (RAMQ), you will have to pay a minimum amount of about $95 per month for this preventive treatment.

Mutual Masturbation

Mutual masturbation can be an effective method to prevent STBBI transmission, especially if you’re waiting for STBBI test results wink. For maximum pleasure and minimal risk, take control of your engine and let your partner(s) admire your moves. You could also treat yourself to a 2 for 1 by masturbating while watching your partner(s) do the same.

If you’re more into group masturbation or fistfucking, latex gloves and internal or external condoms should be part of your party mix.


Not having sex remains the most effective way of preventing the transmission of STBBIs. It may be undesirable for some people, but it is true nonetheless, especially if you’re waiting for test results or if you’ve tested positive and are waiting for your treatment to be complete. You might also consider temporary abstinence if you or your partner(s) have lesions (e.g., herpes sores or genital warts) that can increase the risk of transmission of certain STBBIs such as herpes, syphilis, and HPV.

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