The fun stuff
NSW Government
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Technology has changed every part of the world we live in; from the way we listen to music to the way we date. But we want to know; can technology help us have safer sex too?

It turns out the answer is yes, sometimes. From mobile apps to data tracking, there’s plenty going on in the world of safe sex. Here, we share our thoughts on some of them.

STI text messaging

One of our favourite technological inventions when it comes to safer sex is the text message/email platforms that let you tell people anonymously if you’ve tested positive for an STI. These services are a fantastic way for young people to communicate with their past sexual partners, if they’re too nervous to do it in person. 

In Australia, Better to Know  and Let them Know are two of the most popular. With most STIs having no symptoms, this could end up being one of the most important texts you (or they) ever receive.

Youtube, Youtube, Youtube

It’s no surprise that young people often prefer to learn about sex from their peers rather than teachers or parents. That’s where YouTube and other video streaming sites become really important. There’s lots of good content out there about everything from sex and sexual health, to relationships, body positivity and everything in-between. There’s no doubt about it. YouTube has changed the narrative when it comes to sex. Check out some of our favourite sex and relationship YouTubers here.

Birth control mobile apps

There’s been a big rise in recent years for mobile apps that monitor a woman’s period cycle, temperature and other aspects of their body and health, advising them on when it is safe to have sex. It’s easy to see why this is appealing: a form of contraceptive that doesn’t require hormones or invasive implants. While in some countries they have been approved as contraceptive forms (although later received complaints due to unwanted pregnancies), in Australia they are not considered a reliable method of contraception and are not recommended. That’s because, even when you follow all the tracking required exactly, they’re still only 75-99% effective. In other words, 1-25 out of every 100 women using this method will become pregnant over the year. As well as being unreliable when it comes to unwanted pregnancies, they also don’t protect against STIs. For that, condoms are the best method. Hands down.

Google tracking STI data

Back in 2015, Google announced that it had given four universities in the US access to anonymous search data (such as ‘groin pain’ and other keywords associated with STIs) so that they could see trends in how and where the infections were spreading. There’s no doubt that having access to data (as long as it’s anonymous) could really help public health services to target geographical areas that need help the most. What do you think?

Have you seen any new technologies aimed at making sex safer? We’d love to hear about them. Why not let us know over in the Play Safe forum.