Sex. The word alone can evoke a feeling of discomfort around individuals when they hear it. The topic can either be an open discussion or closed off and awkward. Yet, it is still an activity that most living creatures engage in on a daily basis, at some point throughout the day. So why is discussing this natural inclination still deemed as taboo or weird to discuss openly?
According to the CDC, as of 2017 sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have reached record highs in the United States and are continuing to rise. The increase rates are mostly prevalent in young adults between the ages of 15 and 24. The reasons behind the increase vary from ineffective sex education, increase in STD treatments, access to public health, and so forth.
However, even though there is research that provides evidence that young people have fewer partners and are waiting longer to have sex, the diseases are continuing to spread like wildfire. So, what can you do to try and stay safe?
1. Get Tested! - Whether you go alone or together, make sure you and your partner are up to date. If you happen to have a new sexual partner, do not hesitate to ask them to get tested or see their recent test results. When opening the floor for the topic of sexual history be mindful of how the other person may feel and try to ease into the conversation casually.
2. Practice more than one method of contraception – For females, taking birth control pills and emergency contraceptives are common, such as the morning after pill. However, taking these measures in efforts to prevent pregnancy is just as important as avoiding STDs. This is why birth control may not be enough, using condoms can be beneficial for prevention.
3. Talk About It- If talking about sex makes you uncomfortable, at least try to have honest and open conversations about sex with your partner. This can cultivate a safe space to discuss sexual health, history, preferences, and opinions. Talking about it can allow you to gain more knowledge about sex and everything that comes with it.
Ultimately, having the conversation about sex is about looking out for your health. As diseases continue to spread, the conversation should increase and not continue to get swept under the rug. Realistically, this topic may not be on the frontline of individuals minds; especially in the heat of the moment, but any moment can be that one moment.