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Watching the wedding was a reflection of racing through Chennai; everywhere my attention landed, there was a vibrancy that pulled me into the present. In a red silk sari and white dhoti, heavy flower garlands weighting their necks, the bride and groom offered sacrifices of food and flowers into the holy fire.

Throughout the highs and lows of my own sexual health, getting tested was never something I wanted to bring up. I felt like asking someone about whether or not they were “clean” was passing judgement on their sexual practices and also killed the mood.

Buy yourself some lube, throw it in your bedroom drawer and apply as needed — and trust me, lube is almost always needed. You think you’re enjoying sex now? Mmm, you poor child.

That summer, sitting on a hill beside my friend who liked Twizzlers, I’d tried my tongue on it, this newfound body language. Tentatively, pulling up roots with my fists, I’d pointed out that I was fat.

A man yelled at us on one of our last walks together. He was shouting at me for holding hands on the street with a man with the softest, most electrifying skin I had ever touched.

The build-up before being sexually intimate with someone is incredibly electric: the sexual tension, the passion, the longing, the wanting. When you get to those final moments before your lips touch, before your hands brush against their skin, before you feel their warmth against your body, the air is heavy with desire.

Put a towel down. Or don’t, and just make sure you’ve got a change of sheets ready if you ever have guests over. Period blood is sterile — there’s nothing to worry about unless the sight of blood makes you faint.

Now, here we are: on our third date about to make love for the first time. It’s then that he tells me he hasn’t been with anyone since he was sick.

Often questions about sex can leave us at a loss for an answer — we draw a blank or grin with reddening faces because we simply don’t know. And in this space of uncertainty is the potential to explore new, fun, nerve-wracking and informative perspectives, allowing us to better understand ourselves on the path to honest answers.

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