OVCSA’s wholesome talk on sane sex

“Let go of the concept of safer sex and instead embrace saner sex.”

This was what Rica Cruz, PhD said as the keynote speaker of (W)Holesome Conversations: Prioritizing Wellness in Sexual Intimacy (Wholesome Conversations), a forum the UP Diliman (UPD) Office of the Vice Chancellor for Students Affairs (OVCSA) organized.

Cruz. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO

Cruz is a known sex and relationships therapist and chief executive officer of Unprude, a sex therapy mobile app. 

Cruz said “saner sex” encourages individuals to make informed and considerate choices in their sexual interactions, leading to more satisfying and fulfilling experiences. 

Compared to safer sex where the concern is all about a person’s body or about intercourse, in saner sex, sex is about your relationship with yourself, with your partner, and with the whole world.

Cruz gave the audience important reminders when one is going to be sexually active. 

“Wear protection all the time. If anyone tells you that it doesn’t feel good when you have protection, run away. This person is not thinking of you, he/she is thinking of himself/herself,” she said. “Ask yourself, ‘Who are you having sex for?’ Is the kind of love that you have the kind that you have to prove by using your body? You have to ask yourself, ‘Who am I doing this for?’” Cruz added.

She also said one must get tested regularly when one is sexually active. 

Cruz reminded the audience that in sexual intimacy, one must be mindful of respecting oneself and others.

“Start respecting the self. What does it mean? [It means] understanding your own boundaries, your desires, your values. This could include being comfortable with your own body, knowing what you want, and not engaging in sexual activities if you are uncomfortable or go against your morals or sexual values,” she said.

Cruz added one must stick to one’s principles or sexual values. This also includes asking for help when one needs it.

“When you are confused, when you do not know what to do, ask for help. That’s why you have your mentors or teachers or adults in your life that you can run to. It is not shameful to ask for help. This also includes respecting yourself enough to know that you deserve pleasure,” Cruz said.

Meanwhile, Cruz explained that respecting the other [person] emphasizes the importance of leaving one’s partner or the other person involved in the sexual relationship with respect and dignity.

Event poster. Image from the UPD Mental Health Network Facebook page

“Iwan mo silang may dignidad before, during, and after the sexual encounter,” she said.

Cruz explained that not sharing or talking about one’s sexual encounters with others or not taking pictures of the sexual act are examples of one respecting the other in a sexual relationship.

“Saner sex gives space to everyone. Why? How we see sex profoundly impacts our society and culture. And if we can extend the care and respect that you have for yourself to your partner and then to others, imagine what we can do, imagine the kind of culture and society that you would be extending to the next generation. Iyong hindi na matatakot, hindi na mababastos, and everyone is respectful of each other. Which is what Unprude dreams. To see a society that is sexually respectful, sexually unashamed, and sexually safe. [To see people] who can embrace their sexual selves on their own terms,” Cruz said in closing.

Wholesome Conversations is part of the celebrations of the first UPD Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Advocacy Month with the theme Thriving Together: Making Waves, Nurturing Minds.

Anna Cruz of the OVCSA said Wholesome Conversations had the overarching goal of empowering students. It “endeavors to enhance participants’ understanding of sexual health and to cultivate mindfulness in their words, actions, and decisions concerning sexual intimacy.”

The forum was held on Oct. 25 at the Melchor Hall Theater.