Men (and women) who have sex are always at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease; even condoms, which provide a high level of protection, are not always foolproof. Because many diseases can be transmitted from one partner to another without either of them noticing any symptoms, staying healthy means being vigilant about STD prevention - an important issue when it comes to avoiding penis problems like warts, sores, lesions and other unpleasant and embarrassing symptoms. Men who follow these guidelines for penis care may lessen their chances of contracting a life-altering infection.

1) Use condoms for every encounter - no exceptions. Even though condom use does not guarantee safety, it greatly reduces the risk, so there is no excuse for shrugging them off, ever. Latex condoms work best, but other options may be explored for those with a latex sensitivity. It is important to read package labeling carefully, because some materials, as well as certain novelty condoms, do not provide much in the way of real protection and are designed only for aesthetic purposes.

2) Make sure to use the condom correctly. Follow the instructions carefully for applying the condom, and use it throughout the entire sex act. When switching positions, orifices - or partners - always start fresh with an unused condom. Reusing condoms, or going from one partner to another or one body part to another, can easily spread infections.

3) Use only water-based lubes. Other types of lubricants may damage the integrity of the condom, causing it to rupture and expose both partners to potential infections.

4) Get tested. Making an annual - or twice-annual - trip to the doctor for a full round of testing is a must for all sexually active men and women. For those who prefer not to see their general practitioner for this purpose, an STD clinic offers anonymity and speedy results.

5) Do not have sex with a partner who has sores, a rash, warts, or any type of discharge. These symptoms do not always indicate an STD, but they certainly can; it is not worth taking a chance.

6) Keep in mind that many STDs can be present without any symptoms, and use this knowledge to reinforce the ‘always use a condom’ rule.

7) Get vaccinated for Hepatitis B and HPV.

8) Urinate immediately after intercourse. The urine stream can remove infectious agents from the urethra, thus reducing the risk of infection.

9) Wash before and after sex. Plain soap can destroy some disease-causing viruses and bacteria - and clean junk is certainly more appealing to a partner.

10) Avoid sharing towels, clothing and other personal items.

Individuals who believe they may be infected should stop having sex until they can get checked by a doctor. If any of the tests are positive, it is very important to follow all of the doctor’s instructions for treatment, including taking all medications for the full recommended course. Many STDs are easily treated with a course of antibiotics or other medications; however, others involve more lengthy treatment, and in some cases, lifelong treatment may be required. Sexual activity should not be resumed until the doctor says it is OK, even if the symptoms have disappeared.

Extra care for overall penis health

Maintaining penile health does not stop with disease prevention; men need to take proactive steps to make sure that the equipment is as healthy and responsive as it can be. Supplementing the daily hygiene ritual with a top-notch penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) is an excellent way to start. A cream like this cannot prevent STDs, but a formula enriched with disease-fighting nutrients such as vitamins C, B5 and D can support healthy immune function, while natural emollients (think Shea butter and vitamin E) soothe and smooth the surface of the skin, leaving it soft, touchable and receptive to pleasure.