Let’s Talk About Sex (YoungStar article, July 5, 2013)

** I was rummaging through my things and found a newspaper dated July 5 and I was wondering why I had kept the newspaper until I looked through the pages and saw an article I had written. It was an article I wrote for YoungStar on safe sex that I was asked to write.

I read it again and I was shocked at what I had written. It’s actually quite good, if I may say so myself, and I want to share it again. It still applies until now. A whole year later, and it still rings true and it is still relevant to this day, I think.

Read the original article here: Let’s Talk About Sex (Young Star, July 5, 2013)

***

Let’s Talk About Sex

by Wanggo Gallaga

Original artwork from Young Star by Peewee Bisnon

Original artwork from Young Star by Peewee Bisnon

MANILA, Philippines – Let’s not kid ourselves people are doing it. They are having sex. We can’t protect our kids from getting exposed to sex at an early age anymore; you can’t go down the highway without seeing someone in their half-naked glory selling underwear. Their tween pop stars have abs and girlfriends by age 12. They aren’t even going to wait for puberty anymore.

I’m not against it, though it does scare me a bit. But being a liberal, I think people should have a healthy sex life. Yet a healthy sex life comes with a lot of conditions. It has to be consensual. It has to be emotionally and spiritually enjoyable. If at any point you feel guilty or empty then it isn’t healthy and probably something you shouldn’t be doing. Sex has a habit of making you very vulnerable. And you know what they say about being vulnerable? It means you can get seriously hurt.

So when we talk about a healthy sex life, you can’t jump into it if you aren’t being safe. And there are so many kinds of safe. It’s not just putting on a condom and protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies. That’s just one aspect of safety. It’s a major one in the country right now, as we are experiencing a dramatic increase in HIV infections this year alone. Over 200 new infections every month since the year started. There’s no question now: people are having sex and they are not being safe about it.

But the other kind of safe is the kind that protects you emotionally and spiritually. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable and supposed to mean something and it isn’t really safe sex if you feel empty or broken after the act. That can happen with casual affairs and one-night stands. Sometimes, you don’t even notice the effects until after weeks or months have passed. It can hit you when you least expect it, when you find the one, and you realize that you’ve been around the block and that your milkshake brought all the boys and the girl in the yard and some people end up feeling cheap.

No judgments, though; we all have different value systems but what I’ve noticed is that these values change over time as we get older. What was okay with us when we were younger we eventually outgrow and we see the world and life differently. You have to be aware of that before you decide to get into something as big and as huge a concept as sex. Because, sure it’s a lot of fun, but it’s not a walk in the park. You’ve got to be safe — not just for your body, which you need to keep healthy and free of disease — but you have to protect your heart and your soul. They’ve got medicine and treatment now to help with what sickness you can catch from sex but nothing is going to help you face yourself in the mirror 20 years down the line if you made some really poor choices.

Safe sex isn’t just using protection like condoms, though that is a major part and everyone with an active sex life should practice safe sex; but it is also about choice and foresight. It’s about discernment. Will I have any regrets from this sexual act? It’s an important question to ask yourself. We have medicine and treatment for gonorrhea and syphilis and HIV but there’s none for disappointment and regret.

Stay safe in every sense of the word. Take it from someone who never was in his youthful, wild days. That’s something I have to live with — HIV and regret — for the rest of my days.

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