Safer Sex

Safe sex

Do you practice having safer sex?  I am pro-choice but I have never had abortion.  I have always chosen to have safer sex.  Yet, I’ve had people with unwanted children judge me for having periods in my adult life where I have chosen to have more than one intimate partner.  I can’t help but think, wait, you have a child you didn’t plan.  That means, in many cases, that you had unprotected sex.  Don’t judge me!  It boggles my brain how many women I hear say, “Well, he’s my man so we don’t use protection… or Oh, We’ve been dating/known each other  xyz amount of time.”  Last I checked, the number of years we’ve known someone has no bearing on HIV/AIDS status.  I could be wrong but I don’t believe it to be an indicator of the status of any other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) either.

I prefer know.  I prefer know for sure.  Therefore, in addition to barrier methods, knowing the status of my partner is a huge part of practicing safer sex.  When we initially meet someone there are numerous bits and pieces of new information about them that we learn.  We know little about them so learning a great deal of new information is par for the course.  There are also an intense collection of  “feelings” (also know as endorphins) that are released when we first fall for someone.  So many of us mistake these “feelings” for love.  It is not love.  It is chemical.  Love is an action verb not a feeling (but that’s an entire other blog post).  Love would lead to the action of protecting oneself and one’s partner.  I refuse to be led by chemicals.   I must have cold hard facts.  I actually have a rule of not sleeping with someone until I see paperwork of HIV/AIDS status.  I often suggest going to get tested together.

AIDS Awareness

This practice does wonders for sobering the effects of the chemical “feelings”.  I’ve experienced many reactions that have blown me away.  I had people get upset with me for wanting them to get tested.  Did I think they were dirty?  I had people accuse Me of having an STI.  That MUST be why I wanted us to be tested before having sex.  I had one person bluntly tell me they just did NOT want to know.  This person had been trying to convince me to have unprotected sex with them just only moments before.

HIV Testing AD2

Do you trust this new sexual partner with your life?  Remember that the accuracy of testing also depends on honesty.  When was the last time your new partner had unprotected sex?  It can take 3-6 months for HIV to show up in an infected person.  Different STIs have different rates of when they show up in tests.  We no longer only have unwanted pregnancy or STIs that can be healed with antibiotics as potentialities to manage.  Sex and so many topics around sexuality have been so stigmatized in our world, that people rather forego the awkwardness that they project will arise from bringing up safer sex or knowing a partner’s status.  It also prevents people from wanting to disclose if they even have an STI for fear of being stigmatized.  Some people say it will kill the mood.  Better the mood killed than you killed, I say.  Besides, these conversations are better had way before the mood is in full effect, right?  While living with STIs and even HIV/AIDS has come a long way, I vote that avoiding transmission is still the best way to go.  In fact, because some people may not see living with HIV/AIDS as a death sentence anymore, we must protect ourselves even more.

HIV Particle

HIV Particle (Photo credit: AJC1)

There is freedom in knowing the status of one’s partner and vice-versa.  Partners can become closer and sex can become hotter with this knowledge.  While many people who I told about my “test before sex” rule balked at the idea, most admitted to feeling relief and having an added respect for me because of my demand to know for sure.  I won’t put the HIV/AIDS/STI stats in this post.  Get thee to Google to see stats and numbers galore.  What I will tell you is that it is sexy and speaks to our high level of self-love to demand a test and at the very least the consistent use of safer sex methods.  Let’s start a trend where is it not at all awkward to have these discussions and take these actions.

HIV Swine Flu mask

Here in NY you can get tested for free!  Here is a link for National HIV and STI testing resources.  Here is one more link to an organization called Test Together.  Here’s to getting some and being safer  about it 😉

2 thoughts on “Safer Sex

  1. Gigi Praline says:

    Thank you for a really important post. As a health education teacher and a sex. counselor to be (graduating next March) this is a subject that can not be talked enuf of. Here in Finland we have mandatory sex. health as a part of the health ed. given in high school (13-15 year-olds) and with the statistics to prove it there have been a decrease in STD´s among young people ever since health education was taken up as a subject of it´s own (after a ca 10 year break). STD´s are such democratic buggers: they will make you sick no matter how good looking you are or despite what brand of jeans you wear. A lot of them are impossible to see and can be symptom free for years. So what´s the big deal? some ask. Well, even the symptom free can be transmitted forward and can give serious consequences like problems in conceiving or even make it impossible to have biological kids, kidney infections, testicular problems, urinating problems and cancer.
    There is a very easy way to avoid this. Firstly: proper, age appropriate information. A lot of people seem to forget that sexuality is something we humans are blessed with from cradle to grave. One of the biggest taboos in our society is still children´s and seniors sexuality. Yes, old & wrinkly people do it. Yes, kids masturbate while napping (for comfort, curiosity) Masturbation is by the way is the safest kind of sex (and no need to take anyone else in consideration either) and healthiest way of getting to know your body and how it works. Yes, handicapped people have sex. Sexuality is an ever changing and evolving thing that during a persons lifetime can take many different forms and have different meanings. It´s not just about the act. Not talking about it (“abstinence only” I think some call it) is a nice thought but doesn´t work in practice. Just check out the statistics of e.g teenage pregnancies in the Bible belt area. Young people are curious, they try things. And if they won´t get the right info, they´ll STILL try it only with very sad consequenses.
    Then, as Essence said: communication. Our most powerful sexual organ is the brain. The penis is the most light thing in the world: just a thought can lift it. We get aroused by using all our senses. Be curious. Talk to your partner. And if you don´t know them well get tested. Both of you, why not. Most of us come with a sexual history and few of us will be open about whom we had sex with before especially to someone we just met at the bar. And if you find it something to be ashamed of or awkward maybe, -just maybe, that person isn´t the one you want to hump after all? Might save you from some regrets and that oh-so-nice-“walk-of-shame” from the hotel with your heels in your hand as well the next day… 😉
    And if you still do well… then there´s that little thing that has been around for over a hundred years, way before the HI-virus ever blasted on the scene: the condom. There are even condoms for women (femidom) though often more expensive and a bit trickier to use. For oral sex for women there is what we lovingly here call “a licking tag”, a piece of rubber the same as condoms used for vaginal or anal petting and orals activity. They are very easy to make out of regular condoms as well, all you need is a pair of scissors and just cut the condom up on the long side.
    STD´s transmit via mucous membrane (penis, vagina, mouth), vaginal fluids, sperm and blood. So yes, giving someone a hand job and then touching yourself might put you at risk. Herpes from your lip might transmit to a vagina/penis/anus. And as much as I hate to tell you, the only way of keeping yourself (and your partner) safe is NOT hiding your head in the bush (no un intended here 😉 but be a grown up and deal with these things. Sex is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and hopefully something you can enjoy 30 years from now. As with most things also sex has that “other” side of fun – it´s called responsability.
    Ok, end of rant 🙂 Have a good night and Essence: lots of love your way ❤

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