Riding in a car is never 100% safe. Neither is eating a sandwich. That doesn’t mean we should never do these things. It does mean we should consider taking common-sense precautions, like wearing a seatbelt, not riding with a driver who’s been drinking, not eating baloney that’s past its expiry date, and not swallowing our food too quickly while running with scissors.
Sex with another person is never 100% safe either. That doesn’t mean we should never do it. It does mean we should consider taking some precautions. But what exactly are we trying to prevent? What are we taking precautions against? Are some precautions more effective than others? How do we talk about safer sex or contraception (birth control) with our partners? How do we talk about our safer sex or contraception needs with the people who support us? Where can we get information about this stuff? Where can we get supplies?
Everything in life involves risk. Walking out the front door of our home can be risky. Not walking out the front door of our home can be risky. Going online can be risky. Not going online can be risky.
Relationships can also be risky. Friends might disappoint us. Boyfriends, girlfriends, romantic partners might break our heart. Sex might lead to unplanned pregnancy or STIs. Consent isn’t always respected. Some people might try to rip us off. But not having relationships can also be risky. Loneliness and isolation are hazardous to our health.
How much risk should we take? How can we figure out when a risk is worth it to us, and when it isn’t? How can we improve the odds of good things happening?
As well, what are the risks of never taking risks? What are the risks of not having enough information to make our own informed choices about risk? Who are the right people to ask about these things?