Safe Sex is Great Sex
Talks with S
The discussion that I wish to delve in today’s blog is the relationship of safe sex practices among men and women with that of variables such as family background, culture, personality traits, self-efficacy, and consumption of alcohol and other mind-altering drugs. The central question that I plan to answer is why college students may partake in risky sexual behavior knowing that it can have adverse negative affects. Some college students may indulge in sexual acts with other known or unknown persons without prior knowledge of their sexual partners “sexual script” or sexual history, and at the contingency of getting pregnant or contracting a Sexually Transmitted Disease.
All persons that have entered their lives phase characterized as the “adulthood” phase, are said to have a “sexual script” (Davidson Sr. and Moore 171). Even with the widespread awareness that all adults (exceptions: such as a-sexuals and the like) do in fact have a “sexual script”, most individuals (referring to college students in this discussion) fail to ask their partners about their sexual history. Thus, they may engage in sexual acts with a known or unknown person without knowing if they have good “sexual health” or in other words do not have a STD. This risky behavior of engaging in sex without knowledge of their partner’s sexual script is further elevated by several factors such as “[a woman’s] decreased age at first sexual intercourse, low sexual self-esteem [of an individual], 2 or more sexual partners within the past year, and consumption of alcohol beverages prior to sexual intercourse” (Davidson Sr. and Moore 173). Other reasons may include self- efficacy (confidence or morals associated with it), being caught up in the moment and “indestructible” or the feeling of being above the ability to contract any harmful counter-reaction.
Even though nobody wishes to contract an STD or be stuck with an unintended pregnancy, many individuals do not use a contraceptive while engaging in sexual intercourse. If one does not know their sex partners “sexual script”, he or she should be vary and should always use protection. One may fail to ask their sex partner about their “sexual script” due to the “the lack of an acceptable cultural language with which to negotiate disclosure of sexual histories” (Davidson Sr. and Moore 172). Until the early 1970’s the topic of sex was one that was not deemed as something concrete to be discussed openly. Such discussions were almost taboo. An example of this taboo can in some ways be witnessed in the Emory Archives at the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) located on the 10th floor of Emory University’s Woodruff Library. While going through Emory’s collection of yearly reports (Campus Report) and newspaper journals (Emory Wheel) from 1920 to present, I have noticed these differences. We can see no mention of the term “sex” in any context what so ever in 1920s till 1950’s. Then gradually terms such as “sex education”, “condom”, “ AIDS” etc. surfaced in conjunction to students practicing safe sex. Most individuals did not even receive sex education in high school or at the college level. Although this is noticeable even today in some cultures, its taboo as an acceptable societal topic was harsher back then. Even though we consider ourselves to be living in a modern society today, most individuals are still anxious to bring up this topic of past sexual encounters with their current sex partners. Then again, when is the right time to bring up this topic? Should one bring up this topic in the middle of sexual intercourse? Should one have this discussion on the first date itself? Unfortunately, there isn’t one “correct” time. This is variable and subject to the circumstance of each individual, however, a necessity.
It has been proven that college men have more lifetime sex partners than most college women (Davidson Sr. and Moore 171). This implies that women are at a greater risk of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Disease in addition to being at the constant risk of an unintended pregnancy. Women still shy away from asking their sex partners about their previous sexual histories. Davidson Sr. and Moore in Communicating with New Sex Partners, talk about society condemning women who engage in casual sexual intercourse, and society impairing the ability of women to effectively engage in rational decision making about involvement in sexual activity. Then it is only natural that a woman’s fear may overshadow her desire to know about her partner’s sexual history. It is often believed that having sex without a condom is a gesture of faith and trust in a relationship. A woman may be considered to distrust her male sex counterpart if she asks him to wear a condom. This further adds to her distress.
The reason why one may be fearful to ask another persons sexual script is apparent through various reasons mentioned above, yet I consider all the reasons to be inexcusable. I use the term “inexcusable” as I believe it to be wrong to engage in an activity that one knows can have adverse negative consequences. If there is a better way of performing a task or activity, we should adopt that method. If using a contraceptive such as a condom can possibly nullify those negative consequences, then wearing one is advisable.
Even though the knowledge to use a contraceptive for intercourse is out there, most individuals do not follow it. School children may not have access to a condom, may not have the means (money, transport etc.) to buy one or some may not even know that they should buy one or where to get one. Some individuals, particularly college students, may feel that sex is not enjoyable with a condom. Some sex partners may feel that a birth control pill is sufficient to prevent pregnancy and they may not worry about STD’s, and some may get caught up in the moment and forget to put one on. Another group of individuals could include those who may feel that wearing a condom is against gods will or against their religion as this is a way of playing against natures “side-effect” of engaging in sexual intercourse.
Statistics show us that “approximately 19 million STD infections are diagnosed annually in the United States, and almost half occur among individuals between the ages of 15 and 24” (Abbey, Buck and Parkhill and Saenz 469). This data further strengthens my point that using a contraceptive such as a condom is necessary, and perhaps should be highly encouraged or even mandated by the government; although its progress can never be monitored. Sex education should be imparted to all children in middle school, and should include strong emphasis on the use of condoms without shying away from the idea of truthfully telling their partners that, “Using a Condom is Always a Good Idea.” Abbey, Buck and Parkhill and Saenz in Condom Use with a Casual Partner talk about “the importance of feeling confident about [their] partner’s acceptance of condoms and the ability to be assertive about expressing the desire to use a condom” (470).
If one previously knows their sexual partner or not, or if it is their first sexual intercourse or not, using a contraceptive to protect oneself from STD’s is always advisable. One should take it as a necessary step in the process of engaging in sexual intercourse. Knowing their partners sexual history is an added and much- needed bonus here. One should not shy away from this question and should ask their sexual partners about their previous sexual activities. Ones safety is of utmost importance and its priority shouldn’t be negated. Furthermore, this “sexual script” is said to be “a process that dynamic, continuing to evolve throughout life in relationship with others” (Davidson Sr. and Moore 171). Therefore, it is important that we are aware of our sexual script, and are open about it with our sex partners. Davidson Sr. and Moore state,
“A heightened awareness of your own sexual script can enhance your role as director in the drama of your own development trajectory in life” (171).
One’s “sexual health” is an infusion of good physical health, stable emotions and knowledge of the means to have safe sex. This infusion can then lead to healthier sexual satisfaction, as safe sex is great sex!
Abbey, Antonia. Buck, Philip O. Parkhill, Michele R. Saenz, Christopher. “Condom Use with a Casual Partner: What Distinguishes College Students’ Use When Intoxicated?”
Davidson Sr., J. Kenneth. Moore, Nelwyn B. “Communicating with New Sex Partners: College Women and Questions That Make a Difference”
DeLamater, John D. and Friedrich, William N. “Human Sexual Development”