Str8Curious: What Gay Men Could Teach Straight Men About Sexual Health

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Str8Curious: What Gay Men Could Teach Straight Men About Sexual Health

Str8Curious: What Gay Men Could Teach Straight Men About Sexual Health

Str8Curious: What Gay Men Could Teach Straight Men About Sexual Health

Str8Curious is a monthly AskMen column where out and proud lifestyle expert Joey Skladany answers burning questions from heterosexual men about sex, dating, and the LGBTQ+ community. No topic is off limits as he candidly lends advice, debunks stereotypes, and gives it to you straight — err — gay. Should you be interested in submitting a question for editorial consideration (and we will respect anonymity), feel free to ping Joey directly on Instagram or email him at [email protected]).

The Question

My gay friends seem to get tested quite frequently for STIs and I’m wondering if this is a common practice within the LGTBQ+ community. Are gay men still paranoid about contracting something like HIV or are they just really good about being proactive about their health? Should I be just as diligent as a straight man? – Paul, Orlando, FL

The Answer

It’s no secret that most people don’t enjoy going to the doctor. Unless you have some sort of medical fetish (and I’m not here to kink shame!), a gloved finger up the ass followed by a urine test and blood work is never a good time. That said, it does seem like gay men are particularly proactive when it comes to their sexual health. In my own analysis, this can be attributed to three reasons:

1) Recognition of Risk

Gay men like sex. And they like to have a lot of it. While this certainly doesn’t apply to every member of the community, it’s broadly accepted as fact (and has the data to back it up).

Generally, it’s easier to prevent an STI than treat one, so it’s better to take all of the necessary precautions than suffer from a case of chlamydia or gonorrhea that will have you out of the saddle for a couple of weeks. Using your hand is never as fun, or so I’m told. (I’m one of the weird ones who doesn’t have tons of sex.)

2) Caring for Their Bodies

Homos put a lot of time and effort into their appearance. Just think about what they do to their bodies in the gym, the expensive clothes they put on these chiseled bodies, and the skincare regimens that keep them looking at least five years younger than their actual age.

Call it vanity or call it being body-conscious, but an STI doesn’t pair well with a perfectly manicured ball sac. And something like herpes has the potential to scar if the sores break open while healing. If a typical gay compares a pesky forehead pimple to Armageddon, you can only imagine what an STIs physical symptoms will do to the psyche.

3) A Community-Driven Approach to Personal Health

Medical professionals have made unbelievable advancements in the treatment of HIV and AIDS, but it would be a disservice to those we lost in the ‘80s to not put sexual health at the forefront of our minds.

While HIV is preventable through medications like PReP and managed through ART, it is still important to be consistently tested, especially if you partake in unprotected or risky sex.

This is likely why the monkeypox outbreak was essentially stopped in its tracks before it became a full-fledged national crisis. Gay men don’t want to take any chances in a country that notoriously stigmatizes infections and diseases, so they take the appropriate steps to protect themselves and those around them.

In fact, it’s almost like an unspoken promise to each other that we’re up to date on vaccines, pills, and testing — though it never hurts to ask and confirm before engaging in a night of romping.

So what’s the takeaway? The best thing you can do, as a straight man, is talk to your primary care physician about how often you should draw blood, pee in a cup, or get swabbed to look for common STIs. This is where you can divulge that laundry list of sexual activities, history, and whether or not you’ve been using protection so that you can come up with an appropriate plan of action.

If you harbor any sense of reluctancy, I promise you that doctors have heard (and probably seen) everything. Now is not the time to pretend you were Mother Teresa last weekend, when the reality is that you went down on three chicks at a bar and then banged a fourth in the back of your Ford Mustang (do str8s do this?).

Doctors are not here to judge — they’re here to help, discuss when you should make that trip to the clinic, and prescribe Xanax. They’re also here to explain the risks you may be imposing on current and future partners if you don’t take certain measures in advance. Take full advantage of their expertise and, if you feel like your needs aren’t being met, look for someone else you can trust.

But, no matter what, always remember that you only get one life to live. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Preventative healthcare is self-care and gives you the peace of mind so you can finger bang, motorboat, eat out, bang and everything else you hetero dudes do without worry.

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Source: AskMen


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