FFS Friday: Fucking. Use. Protection.

All right, my friends. We’re going to talk about a very uncomfortable, but very important topic. That is: sexual health. I’ve already talked at length about mental health and overall physical health, so I figured I may as well just finish out the trifecta.

Look here: our generation is one of the most sexually active in history. Normalization of sex in nearly all media we consume has increased comfort with sex as a topic of discussion. Thanks to the Internet (our favorite thing ever), research into sex and pornography viewership is more prevalent than ever. People aged 15-24 consider themselves less religious today than compared to the recent decade, and an overwhelming number of young people are more sexually active than ever.

We’re talking crazy numbers here, guys. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed people between 12-24. Of those surveyed, 41% admitted to having had sexual intercourse. An amazing 30% had sexual intercourse within three months of the survey, and of those:

–          43% did not use a condom the last time they had sex

–          14% did not use any method to prevent pregnancy

–          21% had consumed alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse

Only 10% of all surveyed students had ever been tested for HIV.

The numbers are worse for lesbian, gay, and bisexual high school students.

So, it should be no surprise that 22% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States are people aged 13-24. Among that same demographic, 81% were gay and bisexual. Out of all new reports of diagnosed sexually-transmitted diseases, half of them are owned by people aged 15-24. And, 230,000 babies (nearly 10% of the total US population) were born to teenage girls aged 15-19 in 2015.

Look, I’m not saying sex is bad. Let’s be honest: it’s great. But it’s also incredibly dangerous. The average time for sex that is “desirably long” is seven to thirteen minutes. That’s an incredibly short amount of time to risk a disease, infection, or birth that you cannot control (or cure).

I won’t go into the horror stories of diseases that destroy genitalia, pose serious and even fatal health risks, and can poison other aspects of health (including mental). I won’t bother to detail how having an incurable STI/STD can lead to severe social damage and trust issues.

What I will say is: consider who you are sleeping with, and consider who they have already slept with. Assume that they are lying. Most people aren’t truthful when they talk about the number of people they’ve slept with—especially unprotected. The average number of sexual partners is 7—that’s pretty much worldwide. So, that’s seven people that the other person has either been inside of, or has had inside them. Assume that none of those encounters have been protected.

Considering that many STIs/STDs are viral, you’ve got to fractal out those numbers. You are sleeping with everyone your partner who has ever slept with, and everyone who has ever slept with them.

I know that unprotected sex feels better. I also know that it’s easier. I also, also know that buying protection over the counter or getting birth control can be embarrassing. Talking to a doctor can be very difficult (and being honest with a doctor can be even more difficult). But, it’s worth it. For those of you that want to remain happy and healthy, and for those of you who want to have families when you’re ready, I highly recommend you take your sexual health seriously.

This is especially important for people who choose not to engage in sexual activity. They, too, are at risk for infection by infected individuals. Most people that are infected often don’t even know they’re infected, and don’t show symptoms soon enough to seek proper treatment.

I recommend you use protection at all times, and combine that with birth control and disinfecting lubricant for additional protection. I also recommend you visit a sexual health clinic and get tested every three months, OR every time you have a change in sexual partners.

If you must have sex without physical protection, at least consider birth control and disinfecting lubricant. If you’re older, consider getting your tubes tied or a vasectomy. Both of these procedures can now even be reversed! And remember, birth control does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases or infections. It is also not 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.

For those of you who are religious or don’t believe in using contraceptives: that’s totally fine. As always, abstinence is the best medicine. (Also, masturbation. I’m just saying.) There are also a number of alternatives for you, but I don’t want to speak on them because I don’t have the experience. I suggest you visit a doctor or a clinic and get some information from a professional. You can also speak with your religious leadership on what options you may have.

If you’re looking to get freaky and try some… new things, do your research. You can avoid injury and infections by some precursory reading, and for having a thorough conversation with your partner on your wishes. In many cases, women and gay men are subjected to anal intrusion in the heat of the moment. This often means they weren’t prepared, or that they don’t know how to say no. That can mean fecal-based infections for the intruder (gross) and possible rectal injury for the victim. Let’s not do that to each other, y’all.

As a quick addition: it’s always best not to drink or consume drugs prior to having intercourse. Obviously, not everyone is planning to have intercourse (but there are some… you know who you are), so it can be difficult to tell when it’s going to happen. In that case, use a simple rule: if you aren’t sober, don’t have sex. A vast majority of sexual assaults and sexual injuries—as well as sex leading to infections, diseases, and pregnancies—occurs while one or more parties involved are inebriated. This is because drinks and drugs reduce self-control, y’all. That’s how bad shit happens.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be promiscuous. Or adventurous! We all go through that phase. That said, it is especially important to be safe and honest with your partners. Make your intentions clear, and make your activity level clear. If you aren’t comfortable telling the person that you’re a very sexually active person, you probably shouldn’t be having relations with them. (Or, more accurately, they probably shouldn’t be having relations with you.) Remember—being careful is the best way to remain safe.

This isn’t the Fifties. It isn’t even the Nineties. Times have changed, and people are different. Sex is totally okay, and it’s fun, and it’s one of humanity’s greatest pastimes. You might even say it’s our greatest skill.

I love you all, and I want you to have fun and be careful. It might not always be the most fun thing to talk about, but it is important. Especially when 1 out of 4 people are currently walking around with a sexually transmitted disease or infection.

If you’re loving each other, do it respectfully. Yeah? For your partner(s), and for you.

— R.

Is there something you’d like to share with your peers on protected sex? What are your experiences? Help others by providing your wisdom! Leave your comments here or feel free to re-blog! Share this post. The more we can spread a positive protection message, the more we can help protect each other! Remember, this blog does not tolerate hatred, bigotry, or discrimination of any kind.

Ronin knows how to have a good time and how to be safe while doing it. (Ha!) You can read his fun-filled words on InstagramFacebookTumblrTwitter, and WordPress. Subscribe to his YouTube channel for neat videos every last Friday of the month!

Like, comment, and share to support this page!

Teach peace.

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