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What You Should Know About STDs

March 27, 2012
If your parents or guardians haven't taught you anything about men, they've probably also neglected to teach you about your sexual health. Whether you are planning to whore yourself out, sleep with a few men you love, or only have sex with your husband, it makes sense to learn about STDs. Some are serious enough to pose a real threat to your well-being and others have enough of a social stigma that they are worth taking precautions to avoid. Over the years I've had a couple scares and near-misses with STDs, and have done a lot of research because of it. There is really no reason not to know the following:

1. In the U.S., you can safely assume that every sexually active guy you are having sex with has some strain of HPV. The CDC states that "At least 50% of sexually active people will have genital HPV at some time in their lives." A lot of these strains don't have symptoms, but some are linked to cervical cancer, others to genital warts. There is an immunization for women that protects against some of the common strains. If you are considering sleeping with a guy who has been sexually active, but haven't gotten this immunization, you are an either an idiot, reckless, or uneducated. Hopefully this post precludes the latter.

2. Any skin-to-skin contact in the genital region can transmit STDs - Herpes, HPV, probably some other shit too. A condom only prevents the contact of the outside of his shaft with the inside of your vagina. The rest of your genital area ends up touching your partner's, unless you are having really boring sex.

3. Bodily fluids do not need to be exchanged inside the vagina or mouth to transmit an STD. If he has an STD and his hand touches his penis, then moves down to fondle your clitoris or finger you - guess what? If you are having a threesome and he fingers the other girl (who has an STD), then puts on a condom with his unwashed hands, and bangs you while wearing it - guess what? You get the idea.

4. The term "STDs" collects into a single category several things that are hugely different. If you have until now thought of HIV and Gonorrhea, or HPV and Syphilis as the same general type of thing (i.e. something nasty you get from fucking around too much), you are hugely mistaken. Some can kill you, others are merely embarrassing. See #5.

5. A lot of STDs aren't a big deal. I got Chlamydia from the girl I lost my virginity to. In fact, it was transmitted the first time I ever had sex. This was because until shortly before then, I wasn't really planning on being sexually active, so I'd never bothered to educate myself. I freaked the fuck out when I started getting symptoms, only to learn very soon afterwards that it is completely curable, minimally annoying and has next to no health effects, as long as it is treated within a reasonable amount of time. I'd rather get it again than the flu. Other STDs are similarly mild, even if they aren't curable. The pictures you see when you search for information on STDs on the internet depict the extreme, atypical cases.

6. Men will fuck you even if they know they have STDs. I know guys who have done this. While to some it is abhorrent and unthinkable behavior, to others it isn't a big deal. While a lot of people could benefit from understanding just how minor many STDs really are, it is always easier not to get any if you can avoid them, and to do so, you have to look out for yourself. By not fucking random guys, you will eliminate the vast majority of men who are indifferent to your sexual health.

7. No one ever asks guys if they have STDs. Only one woman has ever asked me this before having sex, ever. She was older than me, and therefore probably more confident than other women. You aren't the only one who wants to avoid the awkwardness of asking, though there is probably some prescience in keeping quiet too, since the guys who have STDs but are still trying to bang you would probably lie about it anyway.

8. Women are more affected by STDs than men. The symptoms are often harder to detect, the effects are more severe, and the male-to-female transmission rates are higher than female-to-male. If you apply the same nonchalance to STDs as your male counterparts, don't be surprised when the effects hit you harder.

9. In the U.S., blacks have disproportionately higher STD rates compared to other races. This might be partially because blacks recognize the point I made in #5, and therefore take fewer precautions - I really don't know. Whatever the case, the statistics are unequivocal. Although it is unquestionably discrimination to judge a person based on the color of their skin, you can dramatically reduce your chances of contracting something if you do so. This point is not just directed at white people or Asians. Even if you are black it applies - by sleeping around within your own race, you will significantly increasing your odds of contracting an STD.

10. Men are less likely to date you if they know you have STDs. This sort of goes without saying, but you are far more likely to get sympathy or understanding from a guy who has slept around than from a guy who has not. Finding a guy who is (or was) a player might be your best bet. Although then you might need to be just as understanding about his STDs...

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