Top 5 sexual health tips for men
There’s nothing sexier than a confident man, and confidence comes from knowing you’re free from infections and practicing responsible sexual behaviour.
If you’re like most other guys, you want to maintain optimal sexual health – which means that STIs are definitely not on the cards. Here are the top five things you can do to enjoy an exciting and vibrant love life without any nasty infections.
1. Abstain from sexual activity
We know this probably isn’t what you want to hear, but abstaining from sex is the most effective way to protect yourself against STIs and HIV. That means no vaginal, anal or oral sex, all of which can transfer STIs from one person to another. This also means you’ll need to practice loads of willpower, and we get that it isn’t always easy to resist. If you really can’t abstain, that brings us to our next few points…
2. Get circumcised
If you’re a sexually active guy, it’s a really wise idea to get circumcised. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), male circumcision can reduce the risk of heterosexually-acquired HIV infection in men by up to 60%, provided the circumcision is performed by trained professionals in a safe and hygienic environment. Remember though that circumcision cannot fully protect you against STIs and HIV, which means that even if you’re circumcised, you must still use condoms, or be faithful to one sexual partner (who is also STI-free), or practice abstinence.
3.Practice responsible sex
This takes three simple steps: First, talk to your partner about STIs and using condoms before you start having sex. If s/he doesn’t respect your need to protect yourself, that’s a huge red flag, and you should seriously re-consider getting down ‘n dirty with them. Second, use condoms every time you have sex – no excuses! Make sure you both have condoms on hand at all times so you can be spontaneous without risking your health. Make sure that you’re using them correctly and never use a condom more than once. Third, stay faithful to one sexual partner. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of spreading STIs.
Understand the difference between birth control and STI protection
Birth control protects against pregnancy but it cannot protect against STI and HIV infection. If your partner is using any form of birth control (i.e., the pill, the injection, the loop, the patch, etc), you still need to use a condom every time you have sex to prevent STI infection.
Knowing your status means you can stay healthy and make more responsible decisions about your sex life. Get tested on your own or, if you have a partner, go together. Trust us, knowing the results is a huge load off your mind and it will empower you to have a safer and more fulfilling sex life.
Remember guys: most of the time, men don’t experience any visible signs of STIs, when men’s STI symptoms start showing, that STI would have been left untreated for a long time; which is why it’s so important to get tested regularly. Guys it’s not enough for you to rely on your partners STI diagnosis, be responsible and get yourself tested too. Marie Stopes centres across SA offer confidential HIV and STI testing, and some of our branches offer medical male circumcision and vasectomies. It’s the best place to go for all your sexual healthcare needs.