In our culture, understanding and teaching the concept of "safer sex" is often challenging due to its association with contraception, which faces resistance due to traditional and religious beliefs. Moreso, the primary emphasis on physical protection, such as preventing sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies, may perpetuate the stigma around discussing sex. This narrow focus can overshadow the significance of emotional well-being, communication, and respect in sexual relationships.
So it made me think - how can I introduce the concept of taking care of the sexual self while protecting others to students? And that’s when the concept of Saner Sex came in. In my keynote last October, I challenged the students of UP to let go of the concept of “safer sex” and instead embrace the concept of “Saner Sex.” Because technically, I don’t want them to just be safe, but I also want them to be sane.
Unlike the conventional notion that centers on physical well-being, Saner Sex is a thoughtful and more considerate approach to our sexual interactions and relationships. It means making informed choices that prioritize not only our physical well-being but also our emotional and societal considerations. In Saner Sex, we recognize our own boundaries, desires, and values, and we ensure that our actions are always respectful of ourselves and our partners.
Saner Sex goes deeper.
What does safe sex mean? At its core, safe sex is about protecting oneself from sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancies. But this definition only scratches the surface. Sex is a multidimensional experience that extends beyond the physical act. It encompasses your relationship with yourself, your partner, and the entire world. Saner sex prompts us to look beyond the body and consider the self, the other, and society as a whole.
Saner sex is not stupid.
Before engaging in any sexual activity, you must be well-informed and prepared for potential consequences. These risks include physical health, parenthood, emotional well-being, and societal consequences. So, how do we mitigate these risks?
Wear protection, always.
Regardless of what anyone tells you, your well-being should never be compromised. If someone resists using protection or claims it diminishes pleasure, consider it a red flag and stop and re-evaluate. Even in monogamous relationships, remember that infidelity is a reality. Trust, but verify.
Ask yourself who you're having sex for—is it for you or your partner? If you're ever pressured into it with claims like "if you truly love me, you will have sex with me" it's crucial to step back and evaluate the nature of that love. A healthy relationship should never make you feel coerced or used as a pawn. Reflect on the kind of love you want for yourself.
Being sexually active comes with responsibilities, including regular testing for sexually transmitted infections. Having yourself regularly tested will not only protect you in the long run, but your partner as well.
Saner Sex is about respecting the self and the other.
Respecting oneself involves acknowledging personal boundaries, desires, and values. It means embracing comfort with your own body, understanding your wants and limits, and avoiding activities that compromise your comfort or principles. This also means being open to seeking assistance when necessary. Crucially, it entails recognizing that you deserve pleasure and satisfaction just as much as anyone else does.
Respecting the other person underscores the importance of treating your partner or anyone involved in a sexual relationship with respect and dignity. It involves prioritizing their comfort, ensuring that consent is consistently present, and recognizing their desire for satisfaction.
Saner Sex gives space to everyone
Recognizing the importance of giving space for each other’s sexual selves is crucial. Our collective attitude toward sex exerts a significant impact on our culture and society. By extending the same care and respect we hold for ourselves to our partners and to others, we actively contribute to the creation of a society and culture characterized by openness, respect, and a healthy perspective on sex.
This is what Saner Sex advocates for—a world where individuals are sexually unashamed to safeguard, nurture, and embrace their unique sexual selves on their own terms.