“In fact, I believe that we need better sex education in our own culture, here in America, so that young folk learn about things like STDs before they encounter it.” – Piers Anthony
Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault
My dear queer children,
I feel that this may be one of the most important posts I write for you because of how inaccurate and unreliable sex education may have been for you. On top of this, if you received any sex education, it was most likely made for heterosexual people and not for people like us. Thus, I’m writing this post to in response to the lack of or inaccurate sex education that you may have had and to hopefully prepare you to practice sex safely.
First and foremost: consent. Consent is key to any and all sexual activity. Consent occurs when those who are engaged in sexual activity actively agree to the said sexual activity. They agree without coercion and with their own free will. Consent can also be taken away at any time. That’s completely okay, and that decision should be respected. Thus, sex is not sex if there is no consent; if there’s sexual activity and no consent, then that’s rape/sexual assault. Without consent, sexual activity becomes a violation of human dignity and respect. Rape and sexual assault bring about trauma and physical/psychological harm to victims. So if you and/or your partner do not consent to the sexual activity, then don’t engage in it. If you’re looking to understand consent a little more, this video describes consent really well.
Now after you and your partner have consented, you may be thinking that you are good to go! Wrong. You may have consent, but are you prepared for what you and your partner about to do? And no, I’m not talking about experience with sex or having watched how-to videos on sex or anything of that sort. I’m talking about having the tools needed for safe sex.
What are some of the tools you need for safe sex? Well, condoms are a great place to start. There are condoms for both oral and penetrative sex that will help protect you and your partner from HIV, STDs, and STIs. And please, please, do not listen to the mainstream culture that says that condoms only inhibit sexual experiences. I guarantee you that it doesn’t and that it will give you a greater peace of mind knowing that you protected yourself and your partner. If you’re worried about not being able to financially afford condoms, fear not. There may be sex education student groups on campus that provide free condoms to students. Also, you may be able to get free condoms from HIV/AIDs testing centers.
This brings me to my next point: regularly check your sexual health status. It’s important to know what your status is at all times so that you can not only treat your infection or disease, but so that you can also inform your sexual partners about the status of your sexual health. For gay men, it’s recommended to get tested for HIV every three months if they are sexually active. Personally, I would get tested for HIV two to three weeks after a sexual experience because that is usually the time frame that HIV develops. For other STDs/STIs, it’s important to be tested as soon as possible. Free HIV testing clinics are becoming common, so doing a quick Google search can tell you where the nearest center is.
Another safe sex tool is PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) medicine. While PrEP cannot prevents some STIs or pregnancy, it can reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex by ninety percent when it is taken every day and used with other safe sex practices. However, PrEP costs about $1300 a month without insurance. Most insurance plans cover part of the costs since it’s cheaper to prevent HIV than to treat it, but just be aware that his option is unfortunately expensive.
Those are some of the main tools that you should use to have safe sex. Again, I can’t say this enough, consent is key to any sexual activity. If you don’t receive consent from your partner, then you cannot engage in sexual activity because that is a violation of your partner’s free will, autonomy, and dignity. So consent is always the first step to safe sex.
That’s all for this blog post. As always, please let me know if you would like my to write on a specific topic. I am always a resource for you.
Until next time,
Love, Your Gay Godparent,