Dear Di,

I have a pretty hectic schedule, so any romances I have are pretty brief if you catch my drift. That being said, as a gay man I find it pretty awkward bringing up things like using protection and sexual history when having a steamy one-night stand. Do you have any tips on how to be safe in casual relationships?

—Protecting and Erecting

Dear PE,

You bring up a really great issuethat when we discuss protection in Canada, we often mean birth control. While preventing unwanted pregnancies is extremely important to the wellbeing of young people, so is protecting against infection and disease. This is something that often comes up in the LGBTQ+ community as well. According to Ottawa Public Health, cases of gonorrhea have more than doubled in 2017 (with 446 cases so far) versus 2016 (270). Rates of other infections like syphilis and chlamydia have also risen dramatically in the past few years.

Condoms are in fact the only type of birth control that also protects against STIs. Make sure to always have an emergency stash, whether it’s in your naughty drawer, or car glove compartment. Wherever you keep them, make sure it’s cool, because heat can wear down condoms. Also check the expiration, and double check there are no rips or tears even if it’s not expired. If you need a refresher on putting on condoms, here are some good tips from Laci Green.

Make sure to also clean off any sex toys between partners, and use a condom for strap-ons or dildos.

For women, you can also use female condoms in either the vagina or anus, depending on what turns you on of course! Here’s a guide from Planned Parenthood on how to insert female condoms.

It’s important to note that infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can be contracted from both oral and anal sex, in addition to vaginal intercourse.

Now let’s be real, most people don’t think to put condoms on when having oral sex. This brings up the need to discuss your sexual history with your partner, and make sure to get tested frequently. While the conversation can get awkward it’s important, considering in Canada you have a legal duty to disclose whether you have HIV to a partner before sex, and on occasion, other STIs as well.

You should also keep in mind that if you’re treated for an STI, you can get it again if you’re exposed again. In addition, many STIs are asymptomatic, so you might not be able to tell if you have it.

Now before I completely scare you off sex, just think how much more fun sex will be if you don’t have to worry about contracting infections!

Love,

Di

Horny Homework: Yoga Fanatic

You’ve been diligently attending yoga classes, so why not show off that new found flexibility? To start, lay on your back with your legs open, wide open, like a sexy little butterfly. Then, have your partner get in between your thighs and see just how high your legs will go.

Dishing with Di: Paying lip service

A woman is suing the makeup giant Sephora because she allegedly contracted herpes from one of their lipsticks. The case still hasn’t played out, and there hasn’t been evidence yet that the woman contracted herpes from the particular lipstick she tried on. However, our verdict is that you should definitely make sure you always sanitize the testers at makeup stores!