3 Things People Fear About Anal Sex

Two Men After Anal Photo

There’s a lot of fear when it comes to anal play and yet, there’s still much curiosity about it. I was reminded of this idea when a young straight lad came into one of the stores this evening and asked a few questions regarding anal – despite the fear there’s still an abundance of curiosity regarding this type of play. More so, as we slowly move beyond the idea that sex is purely for reproduction and instead focus on the more sex positive attitude that sex is for pleasure as well.  This article is about breaking down the fear of anal play and we will do that by first acknowledging those fears, stripping them back and then talking about the ways to engage in anal play in a safe and comfortable way.

Anal Sex’s Ick Factor

There’s the whole shit on the dick thing. We’ve all heard the story about that one time when so and so’s friend had that awful experience when it came to that one night. This fear is fairly common, and it stems from our upbringing. The studies have shown that when a small impressionable child starts curiously playing with their genitals, and they’re told that that’s a dirty thing to do – then obviously they associate that feeling with their genitals. Some people grow out of it, some do not, and as a result whether we acknowledge it or not, our relationship with sex, sexuality and our bodies stems largely from our upbringing and the way those around us deal with issues of sex.  Our relationship with anal is largely because many individuals associate it with part of the human waste system. It’s an out not an in, is a common phrase which reinforces this idea. Let’s debunk this. Unless the body is just about to pass waste, or has recently done so – then there is actually very little chance of the dreaded shit on the dick factor. The anal cavity actually has a very thorough self-cleaning system which works really well. Yes, there are some risks if you’re playing rough, or you’re dealing with long toys or dicks, but in general the risk is actually quite small. The more you know!

Anal Sex’s Gay Factor

Butt sex, ass play, has long been considered the domain of gay men. There are countless ‘help me’ articles in magazines from concerned girlfriends who are worried that they’re beautiful boy is suddenly about to turn into a drag queen because he likes a bit of finger action. I’m not too sure where this one started, but anal play is not the domain of gay men. What might even surprise you, is that there are a lot of gay men in the world that don’t enjoy anal sex.  In an article by the Journal of sexual health and medicine, a study involving 25,000 gay and bisexual identifying men, stated that over 75% of participants responded with that their most recent sexual encounter involved the receiving or giving of oral sex. Contrast that with 36% of participants responding with their most recent sexual encounter involving anal play. In fact, mutual masturbation, kissing, genital and genital contact is a far more frequent occurrence among gay men.This is actually an issue which is fading over time. As people are becoming more in tune with their bodies, more comfortable in their sexuality and their openness about sex and sexuality – the stigma about anal play is slowly being broken down. Considering that prostate play is some of the most intense orgasmic experiences that a male can feel and massaging the prostate has benefits – then there’s a lot of people missing out on great sex because they think it’s a bit gay. The thing is, that anal play is not synonymous with a sexuality.

Anal Sex’s Ouch Factor

Anal sex can hurt. In saying that, there’s usually a few very select reasons as to why it hurts. One of the main reasons as to why it hurts, is because you think it’s going to hurt.  Consider the first time that you had sex, the awkwardness of it, the way it hurt a little and the way that it might have been over in just a few minutes. Very few first times are awesome, and what happens is they might have a bad experience which tarnishes any future experiences towards anal play. What we generally find, especially with younger partners, is they might rush through anal play for the first time, and this in turn can cause discomfort. Anal sex is not like other variation of penetrative sex. It requires patience, lubricant, and a recognition that the body might take time to adjust. There’s a myriad of different factors that need to be considered, but the main one that’s often ignored – is the fear. The anxiety. Which in turn affects the body’s ability to relax and you’ll tense up and it will hurt.

Couple In Bed After Anal Photo
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Tips for Anal Sex

Anal sex is not necessary. You’re not obligated to add it to your sexual to do list, and quite frankly, the best way to have anal sex is to want it. When you want it, when you’re curious, when you’re relaxed and able to enjoy it is the best time to have anal sex. And, if I’m being honest, when you’re horny as all hell.  This combination of things is going to make anal play so much easier.  Once you’re used to it, you’ll find it much easier to add to your routine.

Patience. Patience is necessary when it comes to anal play. The muscles are involuntary, therefore it will take time for them to adjust to having something there which is not normally so. Lubricate some, put more lubricant on, and breathe.

If you’re really worried about some mess, then you can use a douche to help prepare. But one following the instructions on a douche you will need to wait about an hour before having sex. Also, don’t use that one hour to travel to your playmates house as the water needs to dry up and could end up on your favourite underwear. Douche, wait half an hour, and then start moving.

Follow these tricks will help you in riding that pole like a pro.

About the author: Stephen is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle CentresSave

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Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

Exploring The Arms of Tentacle Porn!

Pop Culture
When it comes to Asian Popular culture – there are many things in it which the Western World finds strange. Take for example Asian game shows – a variety of which can be found with a simple search through youtube. They excel in oddity and absurdity, and this often transcends through Asian exploration of sex and sexuality. Absurdity in this instance refers to a situation or thing that is deemed to be wildly unreasonable to the point where it comes across as foolish. There are no negative connotations here as absurdity often relies on surreal humour which is a collection of bizarre juxtapositioning, and irrational situations using expressions of nonsense. For these reasons absurdity, and surreal humour are either used to point out irony, or are used to poke fun at things not meant to be taken seriously. Indeed, Asian culture uses this form of humour as entertainment, and for today’s discussion this is a crucial element in understanding Asian Culture’s relationship to sex and sexuality.
Tentacle Fetish
Tentacle Romance
I speak often of the advancements of human communication and technology and how that brings cultures, civilisations, countries and continents ever closer – but not always. When it comes to sex and sexuality, the gap between Asians and Westerners simply is not getting smaller despite profound Westernisation transforming aspects of the culture. There is little discussion about sex when it comes to Asian culture, for the most part when  it comes to discussions of sex, it is largely swept under the carpet – this dilemma is expressed by Carene Chong in her article Perceptions of Sex: East Vs West as she explains her discomfort upon arriving in Australia. She describes how she knew that the Western world was far more open to the discussion of sex – but she had underestimated just how open that the Western World was. In her article she explains how she was unable to reply to her friend when she was asked if she was having sex with her boyfriend and that her friend couldn’t understand her discomfort at the question – as she puts it, to her friend ‘sex was just as common a topic as what she had for lunch.’ Despite her understanding and already acknowledging the differences between the two cultures she was unprepared for the openness, and it is topic that she still describes as ’embarrassing subject’ that she loves to hate. But why is this so? Why is sex considered to be so taboo in Asian culture that it makes an individual so embarrassed that they are unable to illicit a response?
From my own experiences in teaching in an Asian school – there is a complete lack of sexual education at school. The idea of sex is considered to be so taboo within Asian culture that i received an extensive lecture during my induction on ensuring that my teachings and class content was completely devoid of sex. An interesting and unusual perspective as the school i was teaching in at the time had no issues with students sexuality, or the way that they performed their sex such as in drag. To many in an Asian culture sex is a sinful experience and it should not be spoken about, nor should they participate in sexual activity or expression until they have either settled down, or reached an appropriate age.
Now that we have an understanding of Asia and it’s relationship with sex – it’s easy to see why there are sexual practices in Asia which seem strange. From Robotic sex, to cuddle bars, vibrator bars, and  a variety of fetish clubs catering to all sorts of fetishes – there is often a skewed perspective when it comes to how Westerners and Asians view sex and that’s without going into the tragedy and racism of Asian Pornography. Indeed, when it comes to Japan and their relationship to sex – the assumption is often that Japanese people are sexually repressed. In a way, this is partially true and arguments can be easily made pointing to their low birthrates and, due to a preference to be productive members of society and focusing on work, a preference of a single lifestyle. In spite of this, the sex industry in Japan is considered to be the second largest industry in the country and because of a unique perspective, understanding, and a relationship to sex it has allowed the growth of unusual aspects of sex to become almost mainstream within Japanese sexual culture. Certainly, as Westerners, it is the oddities that are most often reported on, and the strange phenomena that occurs in Japanese sexual culture is often deemed as fascinating.


Budding adolescents when fumbling around the internet for their introduction into pornography will search for ‘weird’ things. They are often seen as a staple of the human psyche – anything that sounds absurd we are curious with – we may only look at it once, or be horrified by it, but there is always some kind of morbid fascination with oddities. With the internet, there are no longer walls to accessing this and virtually anyone could share their thoughts, fetishes, fantasies anonymously from behind a screen safely at home. Inevitably someone, somewhere will discover tentacle porn and it will be viewed with disdain and confusion. Tentacle porn is pretty much exactly what it sounds – individuals having sex with tentacles either from an anthropomorphised animal, or some mutant/science fiction being. It is usually portrayed through in cartoon or anime style, though other portrayals do exist, albeit they are rare. Whilst many people will look at tentacle porn with a sense of mockery, it is actually far older than many people realise. The first instance of tentacle porn is often credited to Katsushika Hokusai, a japanese artist that lived in the late 19th and early 19th century. Whilst Hokusai is most widely remembered for his piece ‘Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji’ he is also responsible for the artwork titled ‘The Dream of the Fishermans wife’. The first known example of tentacle porn, it depicts a female engaging in sexual intercourse with two octopi, one which is kissing her and the other which is performing cunnilingus. The artwork is actually responsible for influencing a number of artists later on an impressive list which include;  Félicien Rops, Auguste Rodin, Louis Aucoc, Fernand Khnopff, and Pablo Picasso. Indeed, Picasso painted his own version in 1903 as well as a series of other pieces all of which were inspired by Japanese Erotica and which have been showcased at musuems around the world.
Modern tentacle porn is considered to be a little different. Whereas Hokusai depicts a consensual relationship between the woman and the Cephalopods, modern tentacle porn is often shrouded with forced acts, and rape. This was in part due to Toshio Maeda who is the creator of Urotsukidoji. Credited as being the creator of modern tentacle pornography, Urotsukidoji was developed in 1986 and contained a unique and edgy mix of erotica, dark humour and an exploration of the supernatural. Maeda was commissioned by a pornographic manga magazine and used his artwork to evade the strict censorship laws of Japan. Interestingly, Why is sex considered to be so taboo in Asian culture that it makes an individual so embarrassed that they are unable to illicit a response? the laws do not allow any representation of penis, but does not forbid viewing penetration by any other object, such as in this case tentacles.  Many people are often confused by tentacle porn, and struggle to understand it. In part, it exists as an ode to Japanese culture – fishing is an important past time of Japan and even today despite it being 20 times smaller in land mass than Australia, it has over 3,000 fishing ports. During the Meija Era of Japans history, roughly 100 years ago, roughly 1 in 20 people were considered to be fisherman , that number is dwindling, the remnants of a 10,000 year old fishing culture. As an island nation which relies on fish as a primary source of food, it is little wonder why there has been a keen interest with tentacle porn, fishing is an intrinsic part of their life in a way that many western countries (with far less reliance on fishing) could not understand. The fetish in a modern sense has shifted away from being about the relationship with fishing culture and has become valued largely due to pop culture and for those who find pleasure in the humiliation and subjugation of women by an entity that is not human.
It also somewhat escapes the stereotypes normally associated with Asian porn – a genre of sex toys and porn that is often deemed degrading and racist. Whilst many may view it as something as an oddity, tentacle porn is actually rich in japanese history and culture. Though the question is often asked, why is tentacle porn so popular? Aside from the cultural references it insinuates, tentacle porn is so popular because it bypasses the censorship laws that are in place in Japan.  Thought tentacle pornography preceded the censorship laws, it became far more popular afterwards. Combine that with the geeky context, supernatural and often horror films in a pornographic depiction which reinforces western porn cliches (think degrading women, forced sexual acts and the pleasure of the active participant a opposed to the submissive) then it’s really no different to anything else out there.
Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

An Educational Primer on Pet Play

Men Dressed In Dog Mask Photo

Pet play is an incredibly unique and increasingly known sub culture within the BDSM, D/s and Kink lifestyle. To put it simply, and before we get into the complexity of animal play, it simply refers to one or more people acting or roleplaying as a particular animal. You are pretending to be a particular animal, and you are taking on the qualities of that animal with animal like tendencies. Typically, the animal will play a submissive role within a D/s relationship with the dominant being a human trainer or master, but there are variations of this. Most notably within situations where an animal is lacking a trainer, and ‘plays’ with other animals or by themselves. This is very common within puppy play, where a group of puppies will form a ‘pack’ and play together with or without a human trainer.

The common animals that you will see within animal play are ponies, puppies, pigs, and kittens – though there are variations of this and anyone can play a particular animal that they associate with. Bunnies, cows are less often seen within animal play, but still exist.

Why Do People Enjoy Animal Play?

Again, there are several reasons for this but we will explore the two most common reasons here.

Firstly, the idea of role playing an animal is seen as a form of escape. You can escape the role of being a human, escape the daily struggles and simply revert back to the mentality of a particular animal. Take for example a typical puppy. The only concerns that they have is food, play time, and enjoying time with their owner and these are the attributes that will be carried through when role playing a puppy. If you are seen as a cute and snuggly puppy or kitten, you don’t have to make sure that the bills are paid, or be responsible for cleaning the house. You can focus and relax on the responsibility of being a ‘mindless’ pet.

Secondly, an animal is seen as being less than human and in some cases it can reinforce the relationship between a dominant and submissive. Non-human pets are owned and are completely dependent on their owner. The owner decides when they are fed, the owner will buy their toys, and the owner will decide if they need to wear those adorable little outfits from the pet store or not. A non-human dog can’t drive themselves to the veterinarian when they need medical treatment, and they must rely on their human owners to do such things for them. The same can apply to human role playing pets and animals. It is the dominant, or the master which decides for them. There is also an aspect of humiliation within this type of play – being something less than human and being forced to potentially eat from a bowl and be led around on a leash can be humiliating for some and there might be some arousal in that.

Of course these two reasons can be separated, or they can be united. A person which views puppy play as a form of escape from the world might not be keen on the idea of a dominant and submissive lifestyle and only view it as a form of play and escape. It might not even be sexual in nature. However a person that enjoys the Dominant and Submissive aspect might play once a weekend, every once in a while of they might be more regular in their play. From there, they might be required to eat like a pet, or they may be allowed to sit at the table as a human. The possibilities, the engagement and level of being an animal varies. As it is with any form of activity within kink and BDSM – the level of engagement varies between individuals, couples and the community.

 

Person Dressed In Horse Costume Photo
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How To Get Started On The Adventure Of Being A Pet

Firstly, in order to get started on the adventure of being a pet within pet play, is the most important step. You need to let your partner, significant other know that you’re interested in the idea of pet play. We’ve just read about about kink and introducing kink to your partner, so you might be able to get some ideas from that – but to do that, you’re going to need to work out precisely why you want to engage in this type of play. Do you need it as a form of escape, or are you really turned on by the idea of being dominated or having your partner submit to you? You need to have a lengthy conversation on what that’s going to entail and how you’re going to negotiate through that. This will be very helpful if you’ve already played with kink and the idea of bondage and submission, as Pet Play is only a short, hop skip and a jump to the next aspect. However, if you have never engaged with kink before, then you might have a little trouble introducing it to your partner – this is why it’s important to identify the exact aspect of pet play that you’re interested in and then build stepping stones to that. For example, if you’re looking at it for the domination then you might want to consider you or your partner becoming dominating within the bedroom without the aspect of pet play. Allowing your partner to become accustomed to that role before moving on to the next step of maybe introducing some pet play toys, or by introducing a pet play character that you can both play around with in the bedroom. This will make the transition much easier to handle than anything else.

For the most part pet play will involve someone playing the pet, and the other person playing the master and dominant. There are variations within this, especially when there are multiple pets (specifically puppies), but this might mean that you’re not going to have a very successful time. It’s dependent on your community, friends and network. Once you have reached the point where you want to discuss pet play, take it slow. One of the main things that you want to come out of the discussion is the expectations of what you both want out of play time. Does the animal/pet want to lounge around and be pet-like, or do they want to be active and annoying like an over excited pet all the time. Do they want to be ignored and left alone for the most part or do they want all your attention and devotion on them?

It’s A Fascinating Journey

It’s absolutely fascinating to discover this journey, because once you strip away the human responsibilities of an individual, you will be surprised at what lies beneath. Their personality will change when they assume the role – a serious and proper girlfriend might become rambunctious and over the top as playing a kitten, and a quiet and tame boyfriend might become the life of the party when he’s playing in a puppy. The journey itself is amazing and varies between people – however it’s important to note that the lines of communication are left open as the role will change overtime, your engagement to the role will change over time and there’s going to be moments in life where you will both need to take a break from role playing because there’s just too much going on in life. It is recommended to join a fetish community like FetiLife to find like minded individuals who are interested in the same types of interests and desires as you are.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtWbJ4btI2E

About the author: Stephen is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle CentresSave

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Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

How Do You Know If Your Gay?

I'm the Princess Photo

A question I’m sure most people have thought of or have considered at least once in their lives is “am I gay?” Or, “does this make me gay?”

Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t – unfortunately, there is no real checklist or online test that you can take that will give you an easy yes or no answer. Some people in their early teens feel inklings that they may be gay, and then later find that they’re not. Some people go years, get married, have children and then say “shit, I’m actually gay“. Some people come out of the womb blanketed in the rainbow flag singing *insert gayest song you can think of*. And that is the beauty of it. We’re all different!

So, there are straight people and there are gay people…or so we are told. If you prefer your sexual dilemmas served with a facebook analogy, let me tell you – “it’s complicated”.

I wish it were as black and white as that, but alas, ’tis not. You may find yourself uncomfortable with the word lesbian, or gay and to be truthful, I am too. Try not to force yourself into a box! Many people from the LGBT community prefer to be known as queer – a much broader term for those who do not want to umbrella themselves under gay, lesbian, cisgender or any other ‘label’ for that matter.
A great book I flicked through at the Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centre – Kogarah store one day was “The Gay Guide”. It goes through LGBT history, safe sex, STI’s and a whole bunch of other good, important stuff. What struck out most for me was the section on bisexuality. For the sake of not being able to paraphrase or rewrite in my own words without changing the meaning… here is the direct quote:
“We’re all essentially bisexual, we just repress the side we’re least comfortable with. We’re led to believe that sexuality is a one-way street. Of course, this is bullshit of the worst kind, but the media insist that the world is black and white, even though we know it is lived out in glorious colour” – Sigmund Freud. 
I could not have said it better myself.
To be truthful, I think there are grey areas for everybody. NO ONE is 100% anything and you’d be lying to yourself if you thought you were. Even the butchest of butch could swing for Justin Bieber, so don’t tell me you never thought that cute girl in PE wasn’t smokin.

But how do you know if you’re gay?

Here are a few things that could definitely mean you are…

  • Do you find yourself pointing at things with two fingers instead of one?
  • Is your hair is shorter than your brothers and you’re better at soccer than he is?
  • Do you constantly see rainbows?
  • Do you slut drop on the dancefloor as soon as a Beyonce banger comes on?
Im a homosexual Photo
Photo: Im a homosexual
Kidding!
The easiest way to differentiate between a fantasy and whether you’re actually gay is separating whether you’re only sexually/physically attracted to someone or whether you’re both sexually/physically and emotionally attracted to someone. Can you see yourself kissing them? Holding hands walking down the street with them? Or, unfortunately, putting up with shit from intolerant strangers for them?
Think about whether you’re emotionally attracted to that individual, then think about whether you’re sexually attracted to them.
Take stereotypes out of the question. Ignore my humorous list earlier. The way you look is not the tell tale on whether you are gay or not, despite what everyone tries to tell you. Take this for all stereotypes. Stereotypes are not an indication of your sexuality.
Get involved with the community.
If you’re still questioning your sexuality, it might be a good idea to involve yourself in the LGBT community! Gather some friends, or go by yourself, whatever you’re most comfortable with, and hit up some gay clubs. In the past two years, I’ve made some of my closest and dearest friends to date at queer events and I can honestly tell you I had never felt as much at home as I did the first night I walked into my first gay club.
Yas Queen Photo
Photo: Yas Queen
All I know is, there’s no harm in experimenting and trying things out to find out.
If you are queer, what’s stopping you?! We’ll welcome you with open arms! And if you’re not, well we’ll still love you anyway.

 

About the Author: Chloe is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

What You Need To Know About HIV and AIDS

HIV Red Ribbon Photo

I have just returned from an intensive week of university completing my post graduate studies in Sexology and have so many things to share, I don’t know where to start!! Throughout the week, we explored a range of topics ranging from gender and sexual identity to paraphilia’s and BDSM. The intention for the intensive week was to explore our personal assumptions, judgements and beliefs regarding sexual health and human sexual expression. For someone who thought she was already educated in this field, it was invaluable experience to know there is so much more out there to know!

As I write this, I am listening to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen which reminds me of one topic in particular which I find so important to share. The lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, died on the 24th of November, 1991, due to complications associated with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). According to The World Health Organisation, his death was just one of over 35 million deaths associated with this illness since the early 1980’s outbreak, with 70 million people having contracted Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in this time.

So much has changed since the early days of HIV. Being infected with HIV used to be a death sentence, now thanks to advancements in treatment options, HIV positive individuals can live a long and healthy life. I wish to share some information that I believe is so important for all people to understand. It is obvious to me that in our society, there still exists a strong stigma and lack of education regarding HIV and AIDS. This lack of education can lead to wrong assumptions and unhealthy judgements for people living with HIV so I hope this article can shed some light on the reality of HIV and AIDS.

HIV is a blood borne virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If a person contracts HIV and does not seek treatment, the virus can develop into AIDS, which is the later stage of HIV infection and leaves an individual susceptible to opportunistic infections. Developing AIDS leads to a significantly lower life expectancy. Luckily treatment for HIV in Australia is readily available and the large majority of people who have contracted HIV will not develop AIDS.

 

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Photo: PrEP – What You Need To Know About HIV/AIDS

 

HIV can be contracted from semen, pre-ejaculate, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, breast milk or blood. If any of these bodily fluids of a HIV positive individual enter the blood stream of another, there is a varied risk of contracting the virus depending on their viral loading (Viral loading being the level of HIV detectable in the blood).

This virus can be spread in many ways, the most common ways include anal sex, vaginal sex and intravenous drug use. Just to be clear, you can not contract HIV from the following: Air, water, mosquitoes, ticks, insects, saliva, tears, sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a HIV-positive person, shaking hands, hugging, sharing toilets, sharing dishes/drinking glasses, closed-mouth or “social” kissing with someone who is HIV-positive, drinking fountains and other sexual activities that don’t involve the exchange of body fluids (For example, touching).

As is with all sexually transmitted infections and BBV’s, abstinence is the only 100% effective way to avoid contracting HIV. I am a realist and understand that with many people, abstinence from sexual activity is not a healthy option. Luckily there are many extremely effective precautions that can be implemented into your sexual experiences so that your chance of contracting HIV is diminished.

Taking precautions such as using condoms with oral, vaginal and anal sex, getting tested regularly and avoiding contact with bodily fluids are some effective ways to avoid contracting HIV including the use of PrEP and PEP.

PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an antiretroviral drug taken by HIV negative people to prevent HIV infection. It is becoming more readily available to certain demographics in Australia who are at greater risk of HIV, in particular for men who have sex with men. Talk to you doctor or discuss with a health care professional at a sexual health clinic for more information.

PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis) is a 4-week course of an antiretroviral drug taken after potential exposure to HIV. It must be taken within 72 hours of exposure for it to be effective and is best taken as soon as possible within this time frame. It can be prescribed from Emergency Departments and sexual health clinics across Australia.

For those diagnosed with HIV, antiretroviral drugs are the most common treatment option. These drugs work by keeping the viral loading of the drug (viral loading being the level of HIV in the blood) down. These drugs are so advanced that the viral load of individuals taking them as prescribed can be undetectable. This means that the chance of these people transmitting HIV to another person is extremely low.

HIV is not a death sentence like it used to be. Despite being a virus that will stay with an individual for life, there is extremely effective treatment available in Australia which means a person with HIV can be undetectable and completely healthy.

Have safe sex to avoid being infected with an STI or BBV is extremely important for all sexually active individuals.  For more information, I highly recommend checking out the Ending HIV website and the Family Planning NSW website. There can be so much misleading information out there, it is important to learn from reputable sources.

 

 

About the Author: Stephanie is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.