Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Gay Sex Ed: A Guide to Fun and Worry-Free Anal Sex

A Gay Man's Guide to Fun and Worry-Free Sex

There is a glaring absence of comprehensive sex education in the United States. And when it comes to men and women who are same-sex inclined, the curriculum is nonexistent. As our society becomes more and more conducive for youth to feel comfortable with their sexuality, there has never been more of a need for gay sex ed than for today’s queer generation. In fact, HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men, ages 13-24, are up by 132.5 percent since the beginning of the century. Recent studies have also found that teens who get comprehensive sex education make better choices about sex. 

So get out your pens and crack those notebooks — it’s time to take some notes.

anal sex 101

Anal Sex 101

When it comes to anal sex, there are three main topics that you should study: Cleanliness, Comfort, and Consent.

Cleanliness — Anal sex can be great, but the last thing you want to ruin your sexy moment is an unappealing smell. Sometimes, all you need is a good push and some sani-wipes to be sex-ready. Other times — depending on your diet or your digestive system — you may need to douche. Douching, however, can damage the mucous membrane of the anal wall, so be careful.

Comfort — Lube is one of the most important components to a healthy gay man's sex life. Lube not only makes anal sex feel better, but it can also reduce your risk of tearing the anal wall. Lube makes for cleaner, safer, and more pleasurable sex for both partners. So when in doubt, always opt for more lube. There are general two types of lube to choose from.

Water-based lube: This type of lube is easy to clean and safe to use with toys as well as during anal sex. This kind of lube rinses off with just water and is 100 percent latex condom–compatible. However, this lube is not as long-lasting as silicone because it absorbs into the body and it is not waterproof.

Silicone-based lube: This type of lube is smooth, long-lasting, and less likely to feel sticky or tacky during use. Since this lube doesn’t absorb into the body, a little goes a long way, and it works in the shower, bathtub, pool, or hot tub. Silicone-based lube, however, is not as easy as water-based to clean off. It requires soap and water to remove. It is also not compatible with silicone-based sex toys.

Consent — Consent is hardly ever discussed when it comes to gay sex, but it is an integral part of being a healthy gay man. The duality of men being men and same-sex intimacy far too often can blur the lines of sexual abuse. You have the right to say no. Your partner has the right to say no. If you or your partner is too inebriated for one reason or another, not being able to say no is not a yes. Do not compromise your emotional and sexual health by being pressured into doing things you aren’t comfortable with just because you are too afraid to speak up. Use the power of consent and make sure your sexual partners feel comfortable with using theirs.

hiv 101

HIV 101

HIV isn’t just a gay issue, but the importance of HIV is entrenched in gay history, gay culture, and gay sex. Although HIV is very much a manageable disease today, it can still cause mental, emotional, and physical trauma without the proper information and support. And with HIV infection on the rise among young gay and bisexual men, it is imperative to arm yourself with the right information in order to stay safe and enjoy your sex life without fear.

Transmission — HIV is transmitted through certain body fluids – blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV does not live in saliva. The highest-risk sexual behavior among gay men is anal sex, with receptive anal sex (bottoming) riskier than insertive anal sex (topping). Anal sex, especially sex without lube, can cause damaged tissue in the anal mucous membrane, or the lining of the anal wall. When HIV-infected seminal fluid or pre-seminal fluid comes into contact with the damaged tissue, transmission occurs. It is far less likely for transmission to occur from oral sex, but it is not impossible. If a person has open sores on the inside of their mouth and their HIV-positive sexual partner ejaculates in their mouth, transmission can happen. However, most types of oral sex carry little to no risk.

protection

Protection — If you have any fear regarding HIV, you can relax. The good news is you are free to enjoy sex without ever having to worry about being diagnosed with HIV as long as you choose a protection method that works for you.

Condoms: The gold standard of safe sex. Condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV transmission when used correctly. Condoms are a simple and easy protection method that will keep you and your partner safe.

PrEP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the daily dose of an anti-HIV medication, is 99 percent effective at preventing HIV transmission when used correctly. Truvada is the only drug approved so far for use in prevention. According to recent reports, the vast majority of gay men do not wear condoms 100 percent of the time. PrEP is an excellent tool to keep you safe if you and your partner do not wear a condom for whatever reason. Although PrEP does not prevent against other STDs, a prescription for PrEP does require regular doctor’s visits, which include routine lab work, so it allows for the user to take control of their sex life and stay engaged in their sexual health.

PEP: This prevention method, known as post-exposure prophylaxis, is meant for use only when someone believes that they have been exposed to HIV with risk of transmission. This is not an active prevention strategy, but a reactive precaution that is available to you if you need it.

TasP: Treatment as prevention, known as TasP, is when an HIV-positive person is on antiretroviral treatment and achieves an undetectable viral load. When a person reaches an undetectable status, they reduce their risk of transmission by 96 percent. To date, there have been zero confirmed cases of HIV transmission by an undetectable person.

Disclosure — The single most important subject to master when it comes to your sexual health is disclosure. Everyone has an HIV status, and an HIV-negative person has just as much of a responsibility to disclose his or her status as an HIV-positive person. Always inquire about your partner’s HIV status, but never assume that he or she is HIV-negative or undetectable just because they say so. People who are unaware of their HIV-positive status or have yet to begin treatment account for 91 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S. Unless they have just been tested and have not been with anyone since, you cannot be sure just by taking their word. By disclosing, however, you open the conversation about HIV and STDs between you and your partner. These conversations are vital to establishing trust and fostering healthy communication with your sexual partner.

Testing — There are more than just two HIV statuses. There is HIV-negative, HIV-positive, HIV-positive and undetectable, and HIV-unaware. If you have had even one unprotected sexual encounter since your last HIV test, then you are HIV-unaware. And the same goes for your partner. By getting tested regularly and using the prevention method that works for you, you can always be sure what your HIV-status is. For a list of free testing locations in your area, visit here.

Worry-Free Sex — When you disclose your own status and take precautions to protect yourself from transmission, your sex life will be amazing because you have the knowledge that you are protected, no matter what. With this information, you can have sex with, date, or even marry the person who’s right for you, regardless of his or her status.

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