THE MOT (Men's Onceayear Test)

Everyone has a ‘magic number’. Come on boys, you know what I mean. Some are modest, some low (in denial) and others, like mine, are pretty spectacular!  Think 'Disney Castle' kind of spectacular. With flood lights. At Christmas. With a firework display and the parade! Am I Mickey man-whore Mouse? Absolutely not. I’ve had several long-term monogamous relationships, but the gaps in between…let’s just say time heals and so does casual, safe sex.

So have a think about your magic number.  Think about when you lost your virginity.  Say the age in your head and work out how many years ago that was.  Ok, so – in theory - you should have had IT LEAST the same amount of sexual health check-ups as the amount of years you’ve just thought of.  Do the math.  Have you?

I’m pretty certain you haven’t.  I don’t need to bore you with the latest statistics because we all know what’s out there.  Even with safe-sex protection, you can still contract certain STIs.

STIs and STDs are nothing to brag about, but people are still extremely uncomfortable with talking about them, sexual health and check-ups.  Ok, so I wouldn’t check-in a post on Facebook to declare I’m at the local GUM clinic (although I know a few people who would ‘Like’ that) but is there really a shame in being open about going there?  I was guilty of it as a 20-something – going by that place on the bus, with my judgemental eyes at the people going in and out. 

I’ve likened men’s junk to a machine before and I will again.  Think of it like a car.  Who cares at this point if it’s a fast sports car, long limousine or clapped-out ol’ banger. It’s something that needs looking after and it will, at times, need checking.  Like an MOT – if people get in the habit of having an overhaul check-up at least once a year.

Ideally, the more sexual partners you have (fellow Mickey man-whore Mice) the more you should think about more regular tests, although that said, even when I have had 0 sexual partners I have had a check-up for peace of mind.  I’ve been known to have more of an overactive imagination even in times of low libido.

A few years ago I entered into a relationship and in the initial stages I received a text from a past casual encounter informing me they had tested positive with an STI.  If you’ve had a similar experience – you will understand this pre'dick'ament.  The worst kind of guilt.  To have contracted something would have been bad, but to pass something on to someone else! Thankfully I was ok but I was honest about the situation and my partner and I went together for an MOT.

Some people will be displeased with what I’m about to bring up but tough – you’re ‘gonorrhoea’ it whether you like it or not. We are human. We have raging hormones and that thrown in with alcohol is a careless combination and mistakes can and do happen.  Bearing that statement in mind, there is damage control available. Iif you carry a condom you have my respect.  Lads, if you don’t carry one (or 5) on a night out then you’re simply sending out the message you’re happy to screw without one.  Not cool. If you want respect for yourself and others - rubber up.

Condoms never look great – let’s face it.  They always remind me of a water balloon stuck on the end of a garden tap (OK not that small, but you get the picture).  Get creative with them. There are so many varieties, so explore what feels good for you.  They even have glow-in-the-dark ones…sure way to light up anyone’s face!

Sexual health, like a driving permit, is a responsibility.  Know if your Tax ‘Dick’ is valid, up-to-date and don’t drive another vehicle without a belt, if you’re not sure of their status either.

If you haven’t tested in a while or at all - don’t wait for physical symptoms to develop because some STI/Ds won’t have any and some take time to reveal themselves, by which time is not gonna be pleasant.

I went for a test recently after a bout of medicated impotence because I intend to festive frolic in the ‘coming’ Christmas months.  Here’s hoping for a white Christmas! The waiting room at the clinic was awkward as.  Everyone was trying to avoid eye contact in case, gosh-forbid, people will know what lurid sex acts you enjoy just by a glance!?? Paraphernalia dotted around and then doubt creeps in, convincing yourself you have something.  Actually it’s not that bad, people just need to chill out a bit more, myself included

The tests themselves have seriously improved, less evasive and results via text in as little as 1 week, 2 at the very most.  If you’re single go with a mate.  If you’re in a new relationship, go together and get on a level playing field.

May I just take the opportunity to stand up and applaud (no ‘clap’ jokes here) the rapid HIV tests too, which are available and takes 60 seconds. As well as PEP medication available for up to 72 hours after exposure to the virus which can prevent the person contracting it.  Available at clinics and A&E departments. The advances in medicine are mind blowing.  To reiterate though – use a condom boys - it’s the best preventative and remember, this Christmas, wrap up boys!