YOUR SEX

An ex­pert ex­plains the con­se­quences of hav­ing un­pro­tected sex with more than one part­ner

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Bonolo Sekudu

HAV­ING sex is a per­sonal choice, but it can have dire con­se­quences, which can leave you with health or emo­tional prob­lems. Hav­ing mul­ti­ple sex­ual re­la­tion­ships also has con­se­quences. Move! speaks to sex­ol­o­gist, Dr Jireh Ser­fontein, about the con­se­quences of be­ing pro­mis­cu­ous.

A PER­SONAL CHOICE

There are var­i­ous rea­sons peo­ple choose to have mul­ti­ple part­ners.

This choice will nor­mally de­pend on what you are com­fort­able with. For in­stance, peo­ple in polyg­a­mous re­la­tion­ships have mul­ti­ple part­ners and it is ac­cept­able to those in­volved.

Dr Jireh says in her ex­pe­ri­ence, a lot of pa­tients she meets of­ten show signs of ig­no­rance when it comes to promis­cu­ity.

“A lot of my pa­tients have mul­ti­ple part­ners, not un­der­stand­ing the health im­pli­ca­tions of un­safe sex. Hav­ing mul­ti­ple part­ners is not the is­sue, but hav­ing un­safe sex is,” says Dr Jireh.

She adds that if you have mul­ti­ple part­ners, you not should not only be think­ing about your phys­i­cal health, but your men­tal health as well.

“A lot of women are bul­lied into hav­ing sex, which might re­sult in emo­tional prob­lems. Be safe and al­ways use pro­tec­tion,” she says.

“Your part­ner doesn’t care about his or your health if he is not will­ing to use pro­tec­tion. I rec­om­mend get­ting a full STI screen if you had mul­ti­ple sex­ual part­ners over the fes­tive sea­son.”

RISKY BE­HAV­IOUR

Dr Jireh ad­vises that you should prioritise your health at all times.

It is im­por­tant to al­ways take pre­cau­tions whether you have mul­ti­ple part­ners or not.

She says for some peo­ple, choos­ing to have mul­ti­ple sex part­ners may be be­cause of emo­tional or phys­i­o­log­i­cal fac­tors re­lated to risky be­hav­iour such as al­co­hol abuse or the use of il­licit drugs.

“Hav­ing mul­ti­ple part­ners ob­vi­ously in­creases your chances of con­tract­ing any Sex­u­ally Trans­mit­ted In­fec­tions (STI), a lot of which there are no cures for. If you are in a long-term re­la­tion­ship and you have other sex­ual part­ners with­out your part­ner's con­sent, it can lead to a lot of re­la­tion­ship prob­lems,” she says.

FACTS TO RE­MEM­BER

Avert, an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion that fo­cuses on HIV/Aids ed­u­ca­tion gives the fol­low­ing tips if you are sex­u­ally ac­tive: ■ Un­pro­tected vagi­nal or anal sex puts you at risk of con­tract­ing HIV and other STIs. ■ Dur­ing un­pro­tected sex, HIV can be trans­mit­ted via bod­ily flu­ids such as blood, se­men, vagi­nal fluid, pre-cum or anal mu­cus. ■ There is a higher risk of HIV in­fec­tion dur­ing anal sex be­cause the lin­ing of the anus is more del­i­cate than the lin­ing of the vagina. It is more eas­ily dam­aged, pro­vid­ing en­try points for HIV. ■ The risk of HIV trans­mis­sion dur­ing un­pro­tected oral sex is very low, but there is a risk of STIs. ■ Us­ing con­doms is the most ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent the trans­mis­sion of HIV and STIs. ■ Peo­ple liv­ing with HIV are more likely to pass the virus on to oth­ers in the first few months af­ter in­fec­tion as there are high lev­els of the virus in their bod­ily flu­ids at this point.

YOU SHOULD PRIORITISE YOUR HEALTH AT ALL TIMES

Move! en­cour­ages the use of con­doms dur­ing sex.

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