As a gay man, my sexual health knowledge is quite strong thanks to years of media saturation and stigma. But I find this is not the case for many straight people. Sure, heterosexuals wear condoms too, but protecting yourself from unwanted pregnancies is a little different than protecting yourself from STIs.
As every mother has said to their gay son: I don’t want you catching anything bad, darling. And so, I feel it’s my duty to bring the most important sexual health facts for my straight allies.
Sometimes you won't get any symptoms
Popular STIs like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the most likely to share no symptoms, especially if they are caught in the throat. However, if you hold onto them long enough without getting treated, they will begin to stir up the body. In fact, nearly all STIs have the chance of being asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms). This includes HIV. So if you are regularly getting some action from a variety of fans, I recommend regularly getting tested. The usual rate is every six months, but you can up it to every three months if you’re overly deviant.
HIV + effective treatment = 0% risk of transmission
Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, most people living with HIV (PLHIV) have no risk of transmitting their infection if they are on effective treatment. This is because their level of infection is undetectable in their bodily fluids. In fact, you have less chance of contracting HIV from condomless sex with a successfully treated PLHIV, than if you randomly slept with someone who doesn’t get tested at all. Personally, I’d rather have copious amounts of sex with a PLHIV and on effective treatment than someone who refuses to get tested regularly. It’s the power of knowledge that keeps us safe. Indeed, I’d still use a condom in either scenario, but I’d feel safer sleeping with the first guy.
Interestingly, the power of an undetectable viral load (UVL) is so strong in the medical community that New Zealand has opened a sperm bank that collects sperm from PLHIV and who have a UVL.
You can catch HIV from oral sex
HIV is a blood-borne virus, meaning it is predominately transferred via blood-to-blood contact. However, it is also traceable in sperm and pre-seminal fluid (or pre-cum for short), as well as vaginal fluids and poop. Thankfully it’s not traceable in saliva, which is why there’s a common misconception that you can’t catch HIV via oral sex and kissing. The truth is that in certain circumstances, your risk is increased. If you’re about to perform an eclectic tongue-wagging dance on a woman’s lady parts, be sure your mouth is free of sores and abrasions. There is even a chance of catching HIV via rigorous kissing if both you and your lover have mouths with open wounds. This is also why there’s a common point of not brushing your teeth before sex. If you’re a meticulous brusher who is prone to causing bleeding between gums — or if you have gingivitis — perhaps just swish around some mouthwash before doing the deed instead.
Anal sex can sometimes get a little messy
Listen up, ladies (and gents too, if you don’t mind a little ass play from your woman), anal sex can sometimes get a little messy. Thankfully, there are important things you can do to make sure it goes smoothly. First things first: have a shower! But before you have a shower, make sure to douche yourself to free your rectum from unwanted guests. Here’s a great handy guide that will run you through all you need to know about douching.
Of course, I have to say that even after douching you can still have that unwanted bit of poop make an appearance. Don’t be alarmed, it’s just poop. Everybody does it. No need to go crazy and sentimental. If it happens, simply slip to the bathroom and rinse it off. Conversely, to save the hassle of leaving the room and disrupting the sexual tension, keep yourself a towel nearby.
Every man has a g-spot in their anus
I couldn’t leave the anal cavity behind without discussing the greatest thing about it. Every man around the world has a g-spot in their anus. But some are more sensitive to pleasure than others. It’s a common misconception when it comes to anal sex. We can’t just let the guy who’s topping have all the fun. Am I right, ladies? Damn right! Which is why god was gracious enough to put a g-spot in every man’s arsehole.
According to Durex, the world’s leading contraceptive brand, the g-spot is located “a few inches inside the anus on the upper wall.”
“Not every man enjoys prostate stimulation,” the Durex article reads, “but it’s certainly worth considering regardless of your sexuality.
“Many men explore it during self-pleasure and it can also add pleasure to other sexual play if taken in a slow and lubricated way.”
So ladies, next time your man asks to play with your ass, why not ask them to return the favour? Be careful with those long nails, though…
Catching an STI is not the end of the world
According to the World Health Organisation, over 1 million people contract an STI every day. The good thing is that most of them are curable and preventable. So no need to worry yourself sick if one of your previous booty calls tells you they’ve got Chlamydia. If you’ve got the clap, it’s simply a dose of antibiotics. In one week, you’ll be all cured! For Gonorrhea, it’s a jab in the butt which leaves you with a limp for 2–3 hours. For genital warts, it’s a few sprays of liquid nitrogen on your naughty bits.
But even if you do catch the so-called serious one — namely HIV — it’s not the end of the world. Things have changed since the initial outbreak in the 1980s. Treatment options are becoming numerous and we are on the verge of a cure and even a vaccine. Most importantly, those living with HIV are living long and happy lives — which still includes copious amounts of sex! Of course, this is not to say you shouldn’t be cautious. You gotta do what you have to to keep yourself safe. Wear a condom, don a dental dam, don’t give blowjobs if you’ve got an ulcer. But don’t fall into the trap of ignorance. Because ignorance is not friends with safety.