Have a safe ‘sex-mas’!

It is said that the child who has boils in-between his thighs must learn to spread his legs to avoid the pinching pain. Christmases,  New Years and birthdays seem like the perfect moments to shower presents on our loved ones.

There are times, for example, that we cannot escape the thought of giving that mother the cloth she’s been wishing for; that brother the game he never stops talking about; and that friend the one thing we’d held back for so long—sex! Unfortunately, we are compelled to give away everything, including ourselves.

While it is true that man is a sexual being, and that the need to seek sexual pleasure is as essential as it is natural, it is equally true that the desire for sex can be controlled. It is important to understand that this article does not seek to glorify indiscreet, indiscriminate or premarital sex, but to emphasize the need to practice safe sex; especially in festive periods like Christmas, where one can easily get carried away by the celebration and lose touch with self-control.

In advocating for safe sexual practices among teenagers and single, young adults alike, I would have loved to focus on abstinence from sex.

But you and I know that I wouldn’t be doing any good to many of you. My point is that society is changing, and barely are the cultural and religious limitations on sex restraining the curious and desperate minds of some of our young men and women these days. As the moral decay worms around us, therefore, there is the need to hold the pieces together. So, let’s cut the pretence, leave the abstinence part to the pastors and Imams, and talk about safe sex!

Sex Workers

To give you a head start—for those who find yourselves in that tempting situation—always anticipate sex, and have a condom on you. Don’t start anything you don’t want to finish. Say ‘No’ if you are not interested. If it has to done, play safely; choose the safest option. Know what you’re licking. Finally, know where you’re entering.

Having said that, when those ‘butterflies’ fill you up to your head, and the ‘maggots’ begin to crawl over your sensitive skin and tickle you up, what do you do? When you have gotten to that ‘point-of-no-return’—when you know for sure that it must happen—how do you avoid the risks that accompany sex? On the spur of the moment, a lot can happen and many end up making the mistakes of their lives.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B are still very common these days. This reality makes the need for sex education and protection now more relevant than ever. These diseases aside, the risk of unwanted pregnancy could be equally traumatizing. For some people, the act of sex itself could even be disastrous, especially for females who are forced into it.

In fact, the guilt of engaging in premarital or unwanted sex, coupled with the thought of uncertain consequences like infections or pregnancy is enough to break some people down psychologically.

These consequences could be likened to disasters or crises that one may need to deal with. So then, if sex itself could be a disaster, then like all disasters, there must be an emergency plan for it.

Having said that, when those ‘butterflies’ fill you up to your head, and the ‘maggots’ begin to crawl over your sensitive skin and tickle you up, what do you do? When you have gotten to that ‘point-of-no-return’—when you know for sure that it must happen—how do you avoid the risks that accompany sex? On the spur of the moment, a lot can happen and many end up making the mistakes of their lives.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B are still very common these days. This reality makes the need for sex education and protection now more relevant than ever. These diseases aside, the risk of unwanted pregnancy could be equally traumatizing. For some people, the act of sex itself could even be disastrous, especially for females who are forced into it.

In fact, the guilt of engaging in premarital or unwanted sex, coupled with the thought of uncertain consequences like infections or pregnancy is enough to break some people down psychologically.

These consequences could be likened to disasters or crises that one may need to deal with. So then, if sex itself could be a disaster, then like all disasters, there must be an emergency plan for it.

What then must be the emergency plan? The plan is to expect and therefore prepare for sex at all times. It is as simple as that! Very few girls visit their friends or partners with the intention of having sex, yet many end up having sex on such visits anyway.

It, therefore, becomes safer to take precautions in advance. It is just like keeping extra sanitary pads in your purse for menstrual emergencies.You do so because you anticipate that you will have your period. But most importantly, you do so because you don’t want to mess yourself up. Likewise, sex can be a big mess. To prepare for sex doesn’t mean to have sex at all cost. It is only a safety precaution; and here is what you can do.

If you are the one visiting, put some condoms in your purse or wallet. If he or she is coming to you instead, make sure you have some condoms before your visitor comes. If you both plan to go out on a date, have condoms on you because sex can happen anywhere. At this point, it is important to understand the need for condoms. Condoms can protect you from STIs and unwanted pregnancies at the same time.

Besides abstinence, condom use is one of the few safest sex precautions to take. If you do not know how to use it, ask a trusted parent or guardian to teach you. If for some reasons you cannot ask them, go to the nearest clinic; they will be glad to help you in confidence and with respect and dignity. You don’t have to be embarrassed or shy about carrying condoms on you, even as a woman.

In fact, when it comes to sex, nothing should prevent a woman from taking any initiative. It is part of taking charge of your life—a rather bold and wise decision—and any mature man should respect you for taking the step.

The societal expectation of modesty should not hold you back from walking into any pharmacy or clinic to grab a condom.

They are usually very cheap or free of charge in many clinics.  You should also know that there are other birth control methods, but none offers real protection against STIs besides abstinence and condoms.

If you don’t want sex and you feel you cannot control yourself around someone, don’t be alone with him or her. Sometimes, it helps if you have a friend or sibling around when you are with the person. Or spend time in a public place instead.

Remember not to start anything you don’t want to finish. Know that when a man gets in the mood for sex, it is nearly impossible to get him out of it. He usually would not rest until ‘something comes out of him’. Yet, say ‘No’ and insist on it if you are not interested or ready for sex, even as you reassure him of your love; supposing you indeed love him. Anyone who really loves you would respect your decisions.

But, let’s assume that one thing had led to another—you didn’t intend to get there, but you are there anyway—and you know sex is inevitable. Perhaps, you don’t even have a condom around, and neither does your partner. Deep down, you also know it’s not safe to do it without protection, but you don’t want to leave him or her aroused and disappointed. It may be wise to consider other options. At this point, I would like to pretend you didn’t know what I’m about to say.

Some men have tried going in-between the woman’s closed thighs. Here, you apply any gentle body cream or lubricant between her thighs first; and reports suggest it feels just like entering the vagina. Others have also tried stroking or rubbing the man’s penis with the hand to get him to ejaculate.To get a woman to climax, some men have tried stroking or rubbing the clitoris and by penetrating the vagina at the same time with two or three fingers.

Usually, when a man is aroused sexually, it takes ejaculation to settle it. The means to ejaculation, for some, does not really matter, so long as he gets it out of his system. If you give him a satisfactory alternative to vaginal penetration, he is likely to accept it. But first, be sure it is what you also want.

Finally, take a caution about oral and anal sex: Licking the penis, vagina, or anus puts you at nearly the same risk for STIs as vaginal or anal sex. You can’t finish doing any of these and put a condom on to protect yourself from infection. You would have been exposed to the risk already. Again, anal sex without condoms puts you at risk for STIs. I say ‘anus’ and ‘anal sex’ with no specific connotation to sexual orientations.

If you just had unprotected sex, report to the nearest clinic for counselling on emergency contraceptives and STIs. As you celebrate this festive season, don’t forget to take charge of your life. Know what you are licking! Know where you are entering! Merry Christmas!

 

 

Source: Tetteh J. Zutah | Health Blogger Clinician | Health Educator (Ghana Health Service)

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