This week our counselling co-ordinator Sona Barbosa has written an excerpt on why self-esteem is a safe sex issue. Please see her details below for more information on the counselling programme and the other services GMI offers:
Many gay men suffer from low self esteem and experience difficulties engaging in and maintaining relationships. To be able to be in a healthy/happy relationship it is important to feel (emotionally) healthy and happy within yourself. Are you “connecting” with yourself? Low self esteem can be detrimental to any and all relationships, dating or otherwise and attempting to attract a loving partner when suffering from low self esteem is an uphill battle, at best. One of the effects of having low self esteem is the ability to find love and affection in all the wrong ways and places, and taking risks. Low self-valuation may lead some gay men to use sex encounters as a coping strategy, without considering safer sex practices. Low self esteem is something that can be changed! – with a bit of hard work and patience. It might be helpful to get support from counselling. Counselling can help you look at your expectations and beliefs regarding relationships. It will also examine how negative beliefs became embedded in your sense of self. By addressing these negative beliefs and paying attention to evidence of your strengths, abilities and accomplishments, you can begin to feel better about yourself. Bringing these new feelings to your interactions with others leads to experiences that build positive self-esteem and positive relationships.
Sona Barbosa – Counselling Co-ordinator
The GMI Partnership provides free sexual health services for gay and bisexual men in London – including counselling, mentoring and sexual health advice. For more information on counselling please contact firstname.lastname@example.org . The views above reflect the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the GMI Partnership.