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Loving Yourself to Love Others

By Sandra K. Trisdale, Ph.D.


Having safer sex reduces risk of HIV infection and reinfection (superinfection). Even though it can be difficult to do, some people insist on only having safer sex for this reason. They are not putting themselves or their partners at risk. And they’re having a great time. How are they doing it?

People who have safer sex tend to have a lot of characteristics in common:

So loving yourself to love others means learning to be more like this yourself and insisting on partners who share your views and concerns.

Sometimes old issues get in the way for people. People with a history of sexual abuse, especially in childhood, may have real problems feeling strong enough to negotiate safer sex. People with a history of depression seem less likely to engage in good self-care sexually. If you have problems that you feel are getting in your way, consider therapy, self-help groups, or other ways of trying to mend.

But even if you feel strong and healthy emotionally, does this mean you won’t ever be tempted? Of course not. How do you deal with the temptation to have unsafe sex?

Remember that the love you give others will be so much better when you love yourself enough to take care of you and your partner.

Sandra K. Trisdale, Ph.D., an expert in HIV and mental health, writes frequently for PositiveWords, WORLD, and other HIV-related publications. She lives in San Diego, CA.

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