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Prevention

How to Have Safer Sex While You're Home for the Holidays

How to Have Safer Sex When You're Stuck at Home for the Holidays
Having trouble getting private time during the holidays?

You're at home, not in Las Vegas — what happens there doesn't necessarily stay there! 

Going home for the holidays is always going to be a mixed bag — how drunk will your Uncle so-and-so be this year? But hey, regardless of the family and friends you love to hate, there's no excuse for letting your  safer sex skills rust through disuse.

When it's cold outside and there's eggnog, toasty fires, warm beds, and various cubby holes to explore in the house, who's to say what will ensue? As Plus previously reported gay and bi men have been having more and more condomless sex since 2008. In fact, by 2014 over 40 percent of both HIV-negative and HIV-positive gay and bi men reported having sex without condoms. And, according to one survey, one in five women were predicted to have unprotected drunken sex during the summer holiday.  Your holiday break may be shorter, but there will still be plenty of opportunity to hook up.

While there are ways to have safer sex without using a condom (read more about that HERE), when it comes to the winter holidays, there are plenty of rules to consider.It's never too late! Let's start with the basics: 

Take your meds

You're on medication for a reason, so make sure you pack all of them to go with you.  Think about investing in a small conspicuous pill bottle where you can always store a dose, so you'll never miss it. Drug resistance can form when you miss a dose. More importantly, when it comes to preventing transmission, staying on your medication schedule is how you'll become virally suppressed and hopefully undetectable. As we know now, being undetectable means being unable to transmit HIV. Sure they won't prevent STIs, but your meds are the stars in your safer sex lineup.

Hand jobs come in handy and oral sex is the bomb, so bring them on!

Oral sex is more intimate than penetration in my opinion. You’re putting your mouth (arguably the most vulnerable thing on you at the moment) on their private parts, which goes without saying is the most sensitive area on their body that you can see. If that isn’t more intimate than penetration, I don’t know what is. 

Guys can practice giving hand jobs on themselves, but trying that with oral can be a little tricky (unless you are very flexible). So, mastering the art of oral sex often starts with a little research. Before heading down town (and out of town), watch a little porn, have someone give you a demonstration, and/or practice on a banana focusing on providing quality with subtlety ( with as little noise as possible). And always remember to spit or swallow, but don’t let it wallow — stomach acid and enzymes in the esophagus kills the virus. Didn't know that? Read more about that HERE

Dry humping

Worried about getting naked in a room next to your parents? Try dry humping with your clothes on (or off). It’s safe, unless (or until) you let it turn into something more. It also builds tension so high that orgasms are edged to the point of almost no return. While your parents are sleeping, you’d be surprised at how quickly you pick up the nuances of humping. 

Don’t be afraid to work your hands down their pants, skirt, or pajamas (it’s the holidays, let’s face it we're all in PJs). Own your hand, own your movements, and more importantly, don’t go full throttle until the very end. The best part is you don't have to worry about getting fluids on the sheets. 

Pack a “prevention” bag. 

Before you head out in the car or on a plane, pack a bag of condoms, lube, and any other preventative tools you like to use. Nothing sucks more than getting to your destination and discovering you have none of your safety gear with you. Trust me, you don't want to visit your hometown drug store to pick up condoms when the cashier is close friends with your mom. Keep some supplies close at hand so you'll be ready to go.

But for your own sanity, please don't keep your sexy items in a bag that could be mistaken as something else. For example, don’t pack your tools in a makeup bag you leave in the bathroom or something that looks like a handbag, otherwise friends or random family members might accidently get an eyeful when looking for keys or toothpaste. It’s best to make it discreet, and keep it hidden in your bag somewhere no one else is likely to find it.

Don’t sit next to the Debbie Downer at the table. 

Studies have shown that people dealing with mental health issues like anxiety or depression are more likely to practice riskier sex. That being said, if you’re at home for the holidays, make it merry! Steer away from the Debbie Downers — I get it, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid them. But at least you have a good excuse to turn the other cheek. Never put yourself in a place to relive bad memories or get down on yourself, otherwise you’ll find a quick way to relieve that pain that isn’t safe.

Treat Grindr with caution. 

Logging onto Grindr at home is fun on many levels: a) it’s great to see the homophobic idiots from high school cruise your street as if no one recognizes that stupid tattoo they had done ten years ago; and b) like you, you’re likely to find other guys from out of town eager to get away from the parents for a couple hours. 

But always be honest. More importantly, be in control of your own safety by depending on yourself (not him). Don’t assume he’ll have condoms — bring them yourself! Own your own measures so you can relieve a little anxiety within yourself. Also, if he says any of these 10 things to you on Grindr, he's an asshole and should be blocked immediately. 

If you don't know your status it's time to get tested.  

Before you head out of town, consider it a present to yourself to get tested and know your status before you go. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting tested every three months if you are sexually active. Taking control of your own health and safety is something to be proud of — plus it's totally hot. 

With a little pre-planning you too can have safer sex on your trip home for the holidays.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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David Artavia

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