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SEXUAL HEALTH: How to live with no regrets



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Shirley’s New Year resolution is to divorce her husband and concentrate on her work and caring for her three children. “I have only two options,” she says, “to quit the marriage or to die, but death would disadvantage my children so the better option is to quit the marriage.” She has an elaborate plan to exit in three months. “By April I will be in my own house with my children in new schools,” she concludes.

Shirley is 38 years old and has been married for the last 10 years. She calls her marriage a sexual accident and that turned her life upside down. “It was at a party and we were all high and dancing,” she explains. “I still can’t remember how I finally ended up in bed with this man.”

The result was an unplanned pregnancy and HIV infection. To console herself, she went ahead to marry a man she knew little about.

The relationship deteriorated from a state of co-existence to hate and finally violence. The man had turned into a womaniser and an alcoholic. He got violent after drinking. Shirley feared for her life and that of her children.


Shirley’s story is a reminder of the complexities around sex. Sex can build or destroy your life. To avoid accidents like Shirley’s, you should have some principles and boundaries around sex. Let us call it sex planning. Each year is different from another and so should have its own sex plans. Aim to limit if not abolish sexual accidents completely.

There are a number of pointers to sexual accidents which should alert you that better planning is needed. The first is when you have to buy the emergency contraceptive pill. While this pill has saved many women from even more dire consequences, its routine use is a sign of poor planning, so step back and reorganise your sex plan if you are fond of running for the morning after pill.

The second pointer that you are in danger is when you feel psychologically tortured after a sexual encounter. Healthy sexuality leads to peace of mind and a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction, not stress and depression.

Listen to your sixth sense; follow your heart rather than the heat of your body in sexual matters. Regrets come when the heart and the mind are not together. You should be very worried if your sexual actions are contrary to your personal values.

There are other gross situations that result from sexual accidents. Unwanted pregnancy, whether carried to term or aborted, is one such situation. Wrong timing of pregnancy or the occurrence of pregnancy in people who already have the number of children that they desire is a common problem. We can learn from others who have been victims of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies and choose to use contraceptives.

If your values do not allow for use of contraceptives you can abstain but also remember that sexual satisfaction is a natural need for you and your partner and should be taken care of. Some good planning is necessary.

Occurrence of infections including HIV is an unfortunate result of sexual accidents. It is a good practice to know your HIV status as part of sex planning. If you are negative, ensure that your sex plan helps you to remain negative.

In the event that you are positive take it easy; seek healthcare and plan not to infect the people you love. The good news is that there are medicines to enable you live a normal life. Do have a sexually planned and satisfying 2019 with no regrets.