Sex is often still spoken about in very negative terms, particularly when it comes to discussing STIs like HIV. So shouldn’t the International HIV/AIDS Alliance be dissuading people from having sex?
Not at all. Sex is life affirming. It brings people together, both physically and emotionally. It’s about wonderful moments of intimacy with your partner. And, ultimately, it’s a completely natural part of being human. Sex is something to be celebrated.
Sex should be talked about openly – not whispered about in hushed euphemisms. After all, that’s the kind of repressive and negative attitude that promotes ignorance about sex – and that can lead to the spread of STIs like HIV.
Here at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, we pride ourselves on promoting a positive attitude to sexuality.
Positive Sexuality is the holistic belief that, as long as you experience sex in a consensual, open and safe way, you should be free to explore your sexuality and indulge your sexual desires, even if some parts of society might judge you for them. By not just focusing on the physical, but on intimacy, communication and mutual respect – and by removing prejudice and discrimination – Positive Sexuality allows you to have healthier, safer and more enjoyable sex. So take judgement out of the equation, challenge your inhibitions – and have fun!
As long as you’re safe, there’s no limit to what you can explore together. Safe sex is not just about using contraceptives – it’s also about respecting your sexual partner and caring for their well-being.
Below are a few do’s and don’ts as a start to help you celebrate each other in an open, sensuous and – most importantly – safe way.
You and your partner might think you’ve been tested for everything. However, different doctors test for different STIs so it’s worth making sure you’ve been screened for all of them, including HIV – even if you’re not considered “at risk”.
Be honest with each other and share details from your sex life, particularly if you’re in an open relationship. Initially it might be awkward but eventually it will give you both peace of mind and bring you closer together.
Oil-based lubricants degrade latex condoms, putting you at risk from STIs including HIV. So you might be surprised to hear that Vaseline, baby oil, olive oil, hand and body lotions, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and butter (yes, butter) do not make very good lubes. Instead, opt for water-based products specifically designed for condom use.
While you might think you’re being extra careful, wearing two condoms at once makes them much more likely to rip or slip off. Stick with one for a safer, more sensitive experience.
Knowing you’re protected means you can relax and focus on having magnificent, mind-blowing and safe sex. Just try not to wake the neighbours!