Our emotional well-being can effect whether we use preventative tools during anal sex. Issues like loneliness, depression, poor body image, and low self-esteem can mean neglecting HIV and STI prevention methods during sex for various reasons; maybe you need human contact, are trying to prove attractiveness, fear rejection or feel you don’t deserve to protect yourself. All of these issues can be addressed with counselling. Talking to a HIM Peer Support or Professional Counsellor may feel awkward at first, but it may be worth exploring your concerns around risk-taking and HIV prevention.

An unhealthy relationship can also be the source of emotional problems. Physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, social and financial abuse are all characteristics of an unhealthy relationship. A partner can use any of this abuse to force or manipulate you into anal sex without HIV/STI preventative tools, or can cause you to feel so badly about yourself that you do not protect yourself. Not only is this unacceptable, but in some cases it has led to criminal charges. If you are worried about your relationship, consider talking to a HIM Peer Support or Professional Counsellor.