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.
Side Fun with Carlos
Carlos (not his real name) is in his forties and says that in most of his adult life he’s been sexually active. Using different gay dating apps, meeting guys in bars or through friends, participating in orgies, etc. Carlos says he’s experienced it all.
But even so, Carlos makes an effort in knowing different risks in engaging in sex, and has his own strategy to avoid such risks.
“I stay informed with current news about HIV in the Philippines and I also read a lot about practicing a healthy sex life” Carlos said.
Being informed and having knowledge about safe sex has made Carlos find his ways to avoid the risks of sex. He says his strategy is that most of the time he would just be a “Side” when it’s just regular horny night.
“When it’s just a regular horny night and I go to Grindr, I would just be looking for blowjobs, mutual masturbation, or video calls. Typical “side” activities. I save penetrative sex for when I’m really craving for it. But even then I do it safe” Carlos said.
He says he’s not a side out of fear of HIV but rather it’s just his way of practicing a healthy sex life. He said since he knows that most health risks in sex comes from unprotected anal sex so he searched for other ways to satisfy him, and for Carlos, side activities do the job well.
At times where Carlos would engage in anal sex, with someone he really likes, a romantic partner, or when he participates in an orgy Carlos would always use condoms.
“When I do anal sex I don’t think there’s any other way for us gay men to protect our health but through condoms. That’s why when I do anal sex, condoms are my best friend that hopefully don’t let me down” Carlos said.
This second step of the TSC, knowledge helps a person choose their own strategy on how to have safer sex that satisfy their sexual needs. It’s about being aware of the potential risks of sex such as HIV or other STI’s and how to reduce risk of its transmission.
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. Carlos loved himself more by choosing the way he had sex, and empowered himself to speaking about it to his partner. LoveYourself offers free and confidential HIV testing, pre and post test counseling, and treatment for all regardless of sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. Moreover, LoveYourself Anglo offers life coaching services for newly diagnosed PLHIV clients enrolled in its treatment program to guide them in their journey towards acceptance of self and proper health management.
Text by Jacob