Patient Education

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High-Risk Sexual Behavior


High-risk sexual behavior is sex that puts you at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy, and being in a sexual relationship before you're mature enough to know what makes a healthy relationship. Teens and young adults are at higher risk than adults.

Examples of high-risk sexual behavior include:

  • Unprotected intercourse without male or female condom use, except in a long-term single-partner (monogamous) relationship.
  • Unprotected mouth-to-genital contact, except in a long-term single-partner relationship.
  • Early sexual activity, especially before age 18.
  • Having more than one sex partner.
  • Having a high-risk partner. (This is a partner who has more than one sex partner or other risk factors.)
  • Having anal sex or a partner who does, except in a long-term, single-partner relationship.
  • Having sex with a partner who injects or has ever injected drugs.
  • Exchange of sex (sex work) for drugs or money.

Related Information


    Current as of: November 22, 2021

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review:
    William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
    Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
    H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine

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