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Gay Man With Question About Safer Anal Sex

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I'm a 18 year old gay man, and I am really worried about something, so I need your help! MY boyfriend and I are both virgins, and we had never had anal sex, although we plan to, but there's one thing we're scared of. as we're both clean and free of STDs, I was wondering, if we have unprotected anal sex, is it there still a chance that one of us catches Hepatitis? This question is driving us crazy and we'd love to have an answer before doing something we'd regret of Thank you very much, in advance
Signed: Gay Man With Question About Safer Anal Sex

Dear Gay Man With Question About Safer Anal Sex,

 

Unprotected anal sex is considered to be a high-risk sexual activity when it comes to sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, HIV, Chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, HPV, and hepatitis. The only way to be 100% safe from the transmission of STIs is to abstain from sexual activity. If you choose to have anal sex, the use of condoms each and every time you have anal sex will decrease the risk of STIs.

If neither you nor your partner is currently infected with an STI, then it would be impossible to pass one onto the other. However, keep the following in mind:

·         People can be infected with an STI and not even know it because they have not yet become symptomatic. What this means is that they can then pass on an STI without even being aware of it.

·         Not everyone is completely honest about their sexual histories. They may claim to be virgins, or they may not be honest about the total number of people they have had sex with, when reporting sexual histories to new partners for a variety of reasons. When your significant other says that he is a virgin and free of STIs, do you really, truly know that to be a fact?

·         There are people in the world who are not faithful to their significant others. Some may be chronically unfaithfully, others may have a one-night stand that they might even regret and vow never to repeat. But all it takes is one quick moment for a significant other to transmit an STI in a moment of being unfaithful – an STI that can then be transmitted onto you. Is it worth taking the chance of having unprotected sex when it is your physical well-being at risk?

All that said, FX does recommend that you use a condom each and every time you have anal sex (some men even prefer to use a female condom when having anal sex). To learn more about how to do this safely, consider the following:

1.      Read the Planned Parenthood article Guys Who Sleep With Guys: Things To Know About Safer Sex .

2.      Speak with your doctor prior to having anal sex to discuss safer sex methods. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

3.      Keep the following in mind:

 

·         Lubrication: Liberal amounts of lubrication are necessary because the rectal wall can be quite sticky and is subject to tearing and lesions if not kept lubricated. In addition, the anus and rectum are narrow, so a water-based lubricant is needed to press inside smoothly.

·         Condoms: Enemas, douches and other cleaners will not be able to get all the germs and bacteria out of the rectum. Not only can anal sex facilitate the transmission of STDs more than any other form of sex, it can also cause urinary tract infections and other bacterial diseases. Latex protection is therefore essential to protect against both bacterial diseases and STDs, and can offer additional slickness.

·         Common Sense: Because the rectal wall curves and is thin, long and hard objects can easily tear your insides. Avoid penetration with fingers or a fist if there are abrasions or cuts on the hands or arm – and wear a latex glove and used a water-based lubricant to be safe. And do not share penetrative sex toys such as dildos – consider having separate collections, covering them with a new condom each time they are used, or washing them thoroughly with warm, soapy water between partners. Overall, respect your body – do not push the limits and go only as far as you feel comfortable with any type of sexual activity.

·         Communication is generally important when it comes to sex, but is particularly important when it comes to anal sex. If you do not feel ready to try anal sex, then it is important to be clear about that with your partner. Know that it is okay to not be ready for anal sex (maybe you will be eventually and maybe you won’t), and do not let yourself get pressured into having anal sex if it is not something you want to do. If you decide to try anal sex and you feel any physical pain or emotional discomfort, speak up to your partner right away – don’t wait until you are done. And if your partner reports any pain or discomfort during anal sex, then stop what you are doing.  Depending on how you both feel you can either try again or you may need to hold off trying this type of sexual activity with one another.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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