Safe-Sex Stupidity

Dear Dategirl,

I'm a single woman who became sexually active before HIV/AIDS. All you needed was birth control, and it was a free-for-all. Some minor STDs would make the rounds occasionally, but there wasn't much shame attached to them. Then I married and divorced and started dating again (post-AIDS). Condoms were easy to do when the sex was average, but during affairs where sex was insane, I'd get slippery in the safe-sex department.

At first I thought it was a generational thing, because all my younger friends talked as if they always had safe sex. Then I started to realize that guys I dated rarely carried condoms or even broached the topic. The women I knew were having abortions, and the pull-out seemed to be everyone's preference. Yet this mask of a safe-sex society persists. What's the real deal? Shame and self-deception?

—Safe-ish Sexer

Or maybe just stupidity.

Even more than catching any kind of cooter cooties, I've always been so shit-scared of getting pregnant that I've always used birth control vigilantly. I could never understand people who threw caution to the wind and just barebacked freely. So even if there weren't potentially fatal diseases or incurable sores to worry about, my vagina was covered by my pregnancy paranoia, and I wasn't going on the pill unless I knew your junk was free from funk.

Now that you know too much about the state of my ovaries, let's talk shit about others, shall we?

A few months ago I read a piece on Jane Pratt's newish site, XOJane.com, in which the writer talked about using Plan B as her birth control of choice. Um, what? Because the birth-control pill wasn't a "fun" drug, the writer would never remember to take it, and besides, it might make her fat. As for condoms? Her thoughts on them were even more dismissive: "Nope! As if." Don't even get me started on her beliefs about abortion, because my head will full-on explode.

Did I mention this bitch is their health editor? Note to Jane: If you're looking for a similarly qualified physics editor, I'm your gal.

Sadly, this vapid twit is not the only one risking her health via her lady bits. Gonorrhea is making a comeback, despite the fact that painful discharge is so 40 years ago. Chlamydia and syphilis are on the rise too, and honey, nobody looks good in a chancre. One in six of us is rocking the herp. The deadliest of them all, HIV, has remained stable, but still, according to the CDC, 1.2 million Americans have it, and only one in five of them are aware of it.

The reasons why so many people are taking so many risks are legion, but lack of education is definitely a biggie. According to a recent article in The New York Times, "Only 13 states specify that the medical components of the [sex ed] programs must be accurate." So in the other 37 it's OK if it's all lies? Is it any wonder we have more teen pregnancies than nearly any other developed nation?

So, yes. Shame and self-deception, perhaps. But mostly just plain old stupidity.

dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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