About Staying Negative

Staying Negative aims to emotionally engage, inspire and facilitate imagination in sexual health practices. The campaign profiles the real life stories of gay, bisexual and trans men who have sex with men (MSM). Men talk about all aspects of their life from coming out, relationships, sexuality and a broad range of other topics. While HIV and safe sex is an important part of all stories, it is not the exclusive focus.

Prior HIV prevention campaigns have traditionally focused on providing gay men with information that will encourage them to adopt safe sex behaviours. In reality, safe sex practices are influenced by a whole range of environmental and cultural factors. The campaign also provides an opportunity for HIV positive men to talk about their lives and discuss how their strategies to staying HIV negative were not successful. We understand that there is more than one way practice safe sex and adopt healthcare seeking behaviours, so let's be creative about it!

There are no real criteria for participants other than that they are MSM and happy to have their stories appear as part of the campaign. In addition to the personal stories, the website provides information on HIV/AIDS, sexual health, relationships and broad of the other relevant topics including domestic violence, drugs and alcohol and depression.

Erections, Condoms & Lube

Erectile Dysfunction 

Sex is awesome, not many people would disagree. However, there are a few situations that we may face from time to time where the sex isn’t as great as it could be. Men may occasionally experience the inability to get or maintain an erection. This is completely normal and can happen to anyone at any age, although the likelihood of it occurring does increase with age. In Australia, around 1 in 5 men aged over 40 and 2 out of 3 men aged over 70 experience erectile problems so it’s not uncommon. Difficulties may be caused by lots of different things, some physical, some psychological. The best way to understand how things might go wrong is to understand the basics of an erection. It’s pretty much all to do with an increase in blood flow to the penis (through arousal) and the ability to keep it there. When everything works as it should, the erection is maintained until you cum or play time is over.

Don’t get libido mixed up with erectile problems. Libido is the desire to have sex and varies a lot between each person. Some people naturally have a high sex drive and others don’t feel the need to have sex as often. This is a completely different issue but if you feel like you’ve lost your sex drive recently, it’s possibly due to things going on in your life so you may want to talk to someone about it. As we said before, the inability to get or maintain an erection from time to time is normal, don’t get too worried about it. If it has become an ongoing issue and you are concerned about it, speak to a doctor. However, outlined below are a few things which can affect your erection.

Psychological problems include fairly simple reasons which usually don’t indicate an ongoing issue such as relationship problems. Your mind can play an important role in feeling sexy and getting aroused, so if you are going through a tough time, your mind may be too distracted and your body may put up a protest so to speak. You may be going through a tough time and your body can put up its own protest. Generally though, once what is going on in your life is sorted out, everything should go back to normal, so it’s a good reason to resolve any arguments or deal with any issues which may be overwhelming you.

Mental health issues such as depression and psychiatric disorders can also affect your ability to get aroused; this can be further affected by the use of medication so it’s good to talk to your doctor if you think this may be a problem for you. Upbringing and your own attitude towards sex (or certain kinds of sex) can also affect your mental state, for some issues you may want to talk them through with a counsellor.

Physical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also linked to the likelihood of experiencing erection difficulties. It’s a good reason to keep yourself healthy – eating well and regular exercise will help reduce most of these risks, however, diabetes isn’t always lifestyle related, so again, speak to your doctor. Other factors to be aware of are smoking, drinking too much alcohol and some medications. Trauma to certain areas of your body, such as the spinal cord, can affect nerve function in the groin area. Genetic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s can also affect the ability to maintain an erection.

If you are concerned about your ability to get or maintain an erection, talking to your doctor may be uncomfortable, but it is the best option.

Condoms

Sometimes men have found that they struggle to maintain an erection when using a condom.. One of the main reasons that men can find it difficult to maintain an erection when using a condom is because it is the wrong size. Try experimenting with different sized condoms to see which ones feel and fit the best.

So how do you choose the right one for you? Well first of all, this is where size does matter. Don’t let your ego get in the way of a good time, you may want to take the packet of extra large condoms to the hot guy at the counter but do you really want to risk it slipping off when you’re getting into it? Size varies between brands and a regular condom can be anything from 178mm – 200mm in length and 49mm – 54mm wide, while a large condom can be up to 251mm in length and nearly 60mm wide.... and they’re stretchy! It is important to read the information on the packaging to figure out what is going to fit your dimensions – so that you can be comfortable with the fit and feel, and confident that it will stay on during sex.. It may take trying a few different brands to find one you like. Once you’ve figured that out, just have fun playing with different textures and flavours, it’s good to mix it up!

Tips for using condoms correctly:

       1) Getting Condoms

  • Buy condoms made to Australian standards
    Check the outside of the pack for the Australian Standards logo. There are many places you can buy condoms, and with the self-checkout option in many supermarkets there’s no need to feel embarrassed (not that you should, at all!).
  • Find a brand that suits you
    There are lots of different brands out there with different flavours and textures, so experiment and find one you enjoy.
  • Ultra-thin condoms are made for vaginal sex
    Anal sex puts more stress on condoms than vaginal sex so ultra-thin condoms are more likely to break.
  • Find the correct condom size
    Remember that the size of a condom mostly refers to the thickness of your cock, not how long it is. Make sure that the condom has a snug fit and doesn’t slip off, but also make sure they are not too tight or uncomfortable. A certain number of condom breakages occur because of people wearing the wrong sized condom and condoms that are too big or too small can lead to tearing. At least one condom brand (Glyde) produces condoms that come in three sizes, based on the diameter of the unrolled condoms.

    Average: 49mm (Distributed for free by VAC/GMHC)
    Large: 53mm (For sale by VAC at a cost of $3 for 20)
    Extra Large: 56mm (For sale by VAC at a cost of $3 for 20)
  • Have a play
    Experiment with your condoms and get used to how they feel by wanking with them on.


       2) Before sex

  • Put the condom on before you start to fuck, not just before you’re about to cum.
  • Do the "pillow test", meaning that you gently squeeze the closed package to be sure that there is a pocket of air in it and that the package has not been punctured. It’s probably a good idea to do this regularly rather than trying to do it in the frantic moments before you get it on and put it in. While you’re at it, maybe check the expiry date too.
  • Try not to use your teeth to open the condom packet and remove the condom carefully so you don’t tear it. This is much easier to do before you have lube all over your hands.
  • Before you unroll the condom make sure it’s the right way round and not inside out, or you will have trouble trying to unroll it. To check if it’s the right way, set it on your palm. If it looks like a sombrero you’ve got it the right way; if it looks like a beanie it’s the wrong way!
  • If you put it on the wrong way, you’ll have to throw it away, as it has touched the end of the penis, which may have pre-cum fluid on it (which is a risk factor for STI transmission).
  • Squeeze the air out of the tip of the condom (by holding it between two fingers) as you roll it on your cock. This leaves room for cum, minimising the risk of breakages.
  • Do not unroll the condom before putting it on. Unrolling it may damage it and make it harder to put it on.
  • Unroll the condom right down to the base of the cock (erect).
  • Use water-based lube such as KY jelly, Wet Stuff, Glyde or Lubafax on the condom and in the arse. Oil-based lubes (like Vaseline, Baby Oil, hand creams, Intensive Care etc) weaken the latex of the condom and can cause it to break. Saliva (spit) is not sufficient lubricant and should NOT be used.
  • Lube can also be applied to your cock, before putting a condom on. Don’t use someone else's cum as a lubricant on your cock. It can allow HIV to enter the tip of the cock, or through small abrasions. Just remember that a small amount of lube applied to the cock before putting the condom on may make it easier, but a large amount makes it easier for the condom to slip off during sex.


      3) During sex

  • Stop occasionally to re-lubricate and check the condom hasn’t broken.
  • If the condom breaks or slips off during intercourse, do not cum inside your partner and withdraw immediately. Take the condom off and dispose of it properly. Put on a new condom before continuing and be careful not to get any pre-cum or cum on the outside of the condom.
  • If you use sex toys (e.g. dildos, butt plugs), putting a latex condom on them and replacing the condom with a new one for each partner will help reduce the risk of STIs. Also, be sure to wash sex toys thoroughly with soap and hot water before sharing. Sex toys that are shared and not cleaned can transmit some STIs.

 
      4) After Sex

  • When you pull out, hold onto the base of the condom so it doesn’t slip off
  • Never re-use a condom and dispose of used condoms by wrapping it up and putting it in the bin - don’t flush it down the toilet! This is where a box of tissues near the bed comes in handy.

 
      5) General

  • Avoid using out-of date condoms - always and check the expiry date and dispose of condoms that have been in your wallet for a prolonged period of time (i.e., 6 months or more).
  • Don’t store your condoms near extreme heat, such as a window sill that gets direct sunlight or in your car glove box, and don’t store them in cold places, such as the fridge.
  • Also, don’t store them near any sharp objects that might damage them.
  • Some people have adverse reactions to latex which range from irritant dermatitis to immediate-type latex allergies. Symptoms include itching and lesions, which worsen in the presence of sweat and friction. See your doctor for more information and testing. In the meantime you might find latex-free condoms less irritating; these can be found in supermarkets and retail stores, pharmacists and online.

Condoms help prevent the transmission of STIs. To find out more visit the How To Protect Myself myself page.

Lube

Not all lubes are created equal. There are just as many brands of lube as there are condoms so again you may need to try a few before you find one you really like. There are two main types you should look out for, water and silicone based. Water based lube has a good texture and comes off easily in water (which is good news for your sheets), however as the water part tends to be absorbed by the body it may become sticky and may need to be reapplied if you’re having a long session. Water based lube is good as it won’t degrade latex condoms or silicon toys.

Silicone based lube has more of an oily texture and is very slippery. As it does not contain water, it isn’t absorbed by the body and therefore does not need to be reapplied as often (if at all). Silicon doesn’t come off as easily in water, so if you like to get it on in the shower then this one will probably work best. To remove silicon lube, just give it a hard wash with soap and water.

There are some lubes designed specifically for anal sex and some contain benzocaine, a product that has a slight numbing effect on the anus which can sometimes make sex a bit easier (good for beginners). Good ones to try are Durex Play Longer, Anal-ease or Pjur Analize Me. When using condoms, avoid using oil based lubricants such as Vaseline or baby oil at all costs! These guys are completely unsuitable for latex and will cause damage to the condom and likely lead to the condom breaking.

Contacts

Peter Knight Centre

Health promotion, counselling & operations

6 Claremont Street
South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: (03) 9865 6700
Fax: (03) 9826 2700
Toll Free: 1800 134 840

Opening hours:

Monday 9.00am – 7.00pm
Tuesday 9.00am – 9.00pm
Wednesday 9.00am – 9.00pm
Thursday 9.00am – 9.00pm
Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm

Tell us your story

Tell us your story

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Come and tell us your story! We would love to hear from you! If you want to find out a little more about how it all works, give Jessie a call at VAC on (03) 9865 6700, or email staying.negative@vac.org.au