HAVING sex is a personal choice, but it can have dire consequences, which can leave you with health or emotional problems. Having multiple sexual relationships also has consequences. Move! speaks to sexologist, Dr Jireh Serfontein, about the consequences of being promiscuous.
A PERSONAL CHOICE
There are various reasons people choose to have multiple partners. This choice will normally depend on what you are comfortable with. For instance, people in polygamous relationships have multiple partners and it is acceptable to those involved. Dr Jireh says in her experience, a lot of patients she meets often show signs of ignorance when it comes to promiscuity. “A lot of my patients have multiple partners, not understanding the health implications of unsafe sex. Having multiple partners is not the issue, but having unsafe sex is,” says Dr Jireh.
She adds that if you have multiple partners, you not should not only be thinking about your physical health, but your mental health as well. “A lot of women are bullied into having sex,
which might result in emotional problems. Be safe and always use protection,” she says. “Your partner doesn’t care about his or your health if he is not willing to use protection. I
recommend getting a full STI screen if you had multiple sexual partners over the festive season.”
Dr Jireh advises that you should prioritise your health at all times. It is important to always take precautions whether you have multiple partners or not. She says for some people, choosing to have multiple sex partners may be because of emotional or physiological factors related to risky behaviour such as alcohol abuse or the use of illicit drugs. “Having multiple partners obviously increases your chances of contracting any Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), a lot of which there are no cures for. If you are in a long-term relationship and you have other sexual partners without your partner's consent, it can lead to a lot of relationship problems,” she says.
FACTS TO REMEMBER
Avert, an international organisation that focuses on HIV/Aids education gives the following tips if you are sexually active:
- Unprotected vaginal or anal sex puts you at risk of contracting HIV and other STIs.
- During unprotected sex, HIV can be transmitted via bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal
- fluid, pre-cum or anal mucus.
- There is a higher risk of HIV infection during anal sex because the lining of the anus is more delicate than the lining of the vagina. It is more easily damaged, providing entry points for HIV.
- The risk of HIV transmission during unprotected oral sex is very low, but there is a risk of STIs.
- Using condoms is the most effective way to prevent the transmission of HIV and STIs.
- People living with HIV are more likely to pass the virus on to others in the first few months after infection as there are high levels of the virus in their bodily fluids at this point.