The wet season has finally come and as it pours isn’t it nice to stay indoors, relax with the person we’re comfortable with and just Netflix and chill?. But it’s important to keep in mind that sex is not just about pleasure, but also health. That’s why practicing a healthy sexual lifestyle  is in your best interest as it keeps you and your partner safe.

LoveYourself created a healthy sexual lifestyle guide called the “Triangle of Self-Care” or TSC. It’s comprised of three easy steps: (1) Timely testing and treatment, (2) Safe and satisfying sex, and (3) Correct and consistent use of condoms. It’s simple, effective, and will take you a long way in your sexual conquest.

For most it’s not easy to get themselves tested for HIV  because of the stigma attached to it. But we need to know our status so we can do what we need to move on. We can get tested again after the window period and continue safer sex options if negative, or pursue treatment and aim to be undetectable if positive.

David’s Change of Heart

“Stealthing” is a trick used by some men where they remove the condom during intercourse to engage in unprotected sex without the knowledge or consent of his partner. David (Not his real name), a 27-year-old salesman used to stealth all the time with the men he meets on dating apps.

He preffered bareback sex back then because he says that the “friction” feels much better. Plus the added excitement of doing it secretly was like the cherry on the top for him. 

But all this change during December last year when he first got tested after two years of engaging in non consensual unprotected sex. He says that while he was in the waiting room he panicking deep inside. 

“It took a lot of courage to get myself tested. And it really scared me at that moment because I thought of all the possible times where I could’ve been exposed. Not to mention how I tricked my partners. I just realized just how much risk I exposed myself into for pleasure!” David said. 

He then go on to say that he realized that all the pleasure that he got from his unprotected sex was not worth the paranoia. 

When he got his result he couldn’t breathe and cried out of happiness because he was non-reactive. Since then David did not only promised to regularly get tested but also to change his ways for his safety and that of his partner. 

“That experience (getting tested for the first time) was like a slap to my face because it made me realized so much and it really did change me” David said. 

For most people, practicing a healthy sexual life is brought about realizing it’s importance ourselves. David’s own experience led him to finally get tested and learned the importance of doing it regularly. He realized the high risk he was putting himself and his partners, so he chose to walk a different path that would still satisfy his cravings and put his mental and physical health on guard – with condoms.

Putting It All Together

All these people went through their own journey that made them realize their own reasons to take care of themselves more than they used to. Safe Spaces is a project of LoveYourself with partner establishments to provide free condoms to anyone who needs them. Launched in 2017, the app-based program aims to make safer sex more accessible in judgement-free spaces. Download the Safe Spaces PH app is available on Google Play store and App Store for download. For more information, one may also visit the Safe Spaces PH website.

Text and photos by Jacob