Trans Sexual Health
Read our sexual health advice and information for people who are a different gender to the gender they were labelled as at birth.
Condoms are your best defence against STIs
If you’re having sex with someone condoms are your best defence against sexually transmitted infections. External condoms (for penises) and internal condoms (for vaginas or bums) are both available from our groups and local sexual health clinics. An internal and external condom should not be used at the same time. To use internal condoms in the anus the top ring of the condom needs to be removed.
Lube is important!
Lube not only makes sex more enjoyable, but it also reduces the risk of a condom breaking. Some people with vaginas can find the hormones they are taking as part of their transition may reduce the natural lubrication the vagina makes, so lube is good to ensure sex is comfortable in these situations.
Avoid oil-based lube as this can erode condoms and make them break. Silicone-based lube is good for anal sex as it lasts quite a while, but it shouldn’t be used with sex toys which have silicone in them as this can damage the toy. Water-based lube is good to use with condoms and sex toys so it’s a great all-rounder! You can get this from our groups, C-Card packs and sexual health clinics.
Lower surgery and condoms
Condoms for penises come in different sizes, shapes and materials (including latex-allergy free) so you should be able to find one suitable for you to ensure you’re being as safe as possible.
If you’ve had a metoidioplasty (a type of genital surgery that creates a small penis) or enough testosterone-enhanced clitoral growth for penetration, an internal condom is the safest barrier method for you to use with your partner.
Not all trans women can use internal condoms – it will depend upon the depth of your vagina.
Dental dams are a latex sheet that can be used for oral sex on a vagina or anus (rimming) to protect against STIs. Remember to only use one side of the barrier; don’t flip it around and use the other side.
Sharing sex toys (including strap-ons)
STIs and other bacterial infections can be passed on through sharing sex toys, so you should use a condom on any sex toys you may be sharing. If a condom can’t be used on the toy you should wash thoroughly between each use.
Lower surgery and HIV
If you've recently had lower surgery and have unhealed skin, this could make it easier for you to acquire or pass on HIV, as bleeding can provide a route into or out of your body. Avoid sex if you have any open wounds or sores, but if you do have sex, use a condom and try to make sure it’s not too rough to reduce your risk.
Reducing risk of HIV transmission after sex
If a condom breaks, you may be able to take post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment to reduce the risk of HIV infection. You can access this from a sexual health clinic or from A&E and this must be started within 72 hours.
Don’t forget about consent!
It can be exciting to discover your new gender identity and try different things with regards to sex, but one thing should never change and that is consent. Consent must be given for each sexual act by everyone involved. You shouldn’t feel pressured to do something you’re not comfortable with because someone assumes that’s what you should be into because of your gender identity.
Visiting a sexual health clinic
When you visit one of our sexual health clinics, you will be asked to fill in a registration form. We ask for your gender at birth as well as your gender identity. It’s important to ask both of these questions as gender at birth can help us determine which tests to run, and gender identity can help us identify which pronouns you’d like us to use.
We can help support you to attend the clinic if you’re worried, get in touch with us to discuss this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generally speaking, to test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea we will ask people with a penis to provide a urine sample and people with a vagina to provide a swab sample, which you may be able to do yourself. If you tell the clinician you see about any genital surgeries you’ve had this can help them determine the best way to collect your sample.
Testing for HIV and syphilis is a blood test so this is the same for everyone.