The less-than-fun (but very important) side of sex

2 Feb

While the Yale community may be full of talented and bright individuals, this does not mean that we’re exactly as, um…healthy, as we should be. There are a couple things that you should bear in mind before you embark on any type of sexual adventure:

STI’s: they’re real, they exist and they’re on the Yale campus. (Sexually transmitted infections, for those of you bad at acronyms.) Ok, now that we’ve got that fact out of the way, we can have a more rational discussion. No one wants one, and no one wants anyone else to know that he/she has one. It is your responsibility – and maybe even your duty – to get yourself tested and to make sure that you are clean, so that when she asks you if you are, you can respond honestly. DUH offers free STI testing to all Yale students, even if they’re not part of the Yale Health Plan – so go and get yourself tested, especially if you are sexually active with a variety of people. What could be a better mood-booster during a stressful week than a negative test result? They don’t even show up on your bills, so your parents will never know. You don’t even have to go to DUH to get your test results back – they call you. What could be easier?! Best-case scenario, you know you’re clean and you now deserve to have a little extra spring in your step. Worst-case scenario, there is probably a way to treat whatever you’ve got, it’s ok and don’t be a dumbass in the future. Bacterial STI’s like chlamydia and gonorrhea can be cured while viral infections like hepatitis B and herpes can only be treated (i.e. they’re never going away). Therefore, it’s a good idea to get tested so that you don’t spread it further.

On a further STI note, before having sex with someone for the first time, it’s better to ask BEFORE and not AFTER if he/she is clean. You should also note that you can get an STI even if you don’t have sex. Not only can oral-anal and oral-genital transmission occur, but herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis B are not prevented bycondoms (they’re spread through skin contact so if your partner has a sore outside the area covered by the condom, you can be infected). Before things get R-rated, you might just want to take a breath to ask, “You’re clean, right?” and hopefully she’ll answer, “yes” without hesitation. You can also ask “Have you been tested?” This should get the message across. Similarly, she should ask if you’re clean and you MUST answer honestly. Remember, Hell hath no fury like a woman who just got herpes.

So here’s the good news. There a thing called protection – use it because it works (most of the time). There are multiple types of protection, some of which are more effective than others. Some types protect against STI’s while others protect against pregnancy (we call these contraceptives). Condoms protect against most STI’s and pregnancy, therefore, it is often a good idea to use a condom even if your partner is on birth control. This will protect against the STI’s and ensure that your partner does not end up pregnant. Good news! Condoms are easy to procure at Yale and FREE (hooray!). You can find condoms in College entryways, from Peer Health Educators and from FroCos. Don’t be embarrassed, get over it and ask for the f—ing condoms, you’ll be happy that you did. Sex is great, so what’s the big deal (just don’t be that idiot freshman boy who stockpiles condoms in his room but never uses any of them)? In addition, lubricants, dental dams, and female condoms are available for free at DUH, which means that you have to walk. Same message as before, get over it and walk to the extra 15 minutes to get your supplies: you’ll be happy that you did because those 15 minutes mean better, safer sex.

Also, you people in relationships out there, this applies to you too. Just because you’re having sex with the same person regularly, it doesn’t mean you’re invincible. Getting tested in the early stages of your relationship is a great way to put her mind at rest. If you’re cute like that, you could even make the trip to DUH together. We know that sometimes you don’t realize that you’re out of condoms until you’re “past the point of no return” but suck it up. Just once can be all it takes to turn you from care-free college boy into daddy-to-be. And in case you’re that stupid, THE PULLOUT METHOD ALONE IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE CONTRACEPTIVE.

So now that you’ve been told for probably the millionth time about protection, let’s have a cheer for happy and safe sex!

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