Communicating Sex

I’d like to preface this blog entry by saying that I am currently in an 2-3 day trek back from New York where the soccer team’s flight back to Atlanta was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc all up the east coast. I’m not trying to gain sympathy points, merely stating that the wifi access I have is very limited and painfully slow so my entry may not retain some of the reading information (and also I may not be able to make class on Tuesday morning).

They say that communication is key in a relationship. I’d like to further that and say that communication is key in a sexual relationship. Most people seem to shy away from conversations of sex especially when talking to people of opposite gender. In society, the topic of sex seems to be taboo until it comes to a political or celebrity scandal. Otherwise, sex is personal and hush hush. We’re not talking about it as kids until our parents give us the “birds and bees” talk and don’t tell me that wasn’t one of the worst conversations you’ve had with your parents. So why would we talk about it in high school, college, and in our adult lives? It’s so essential to a healthy sexual experience.

“…research suggests that women are often lacking in the training and socialization necessary to be effective communicators in sexual relationships” (Moore 172). The only way to learn is to be taught and experience it. The only way to really gain an experience is to become intimate with someone for a long period of time until the comfort level sets in. Once the comfort is there, usually the communication will follow. But what if someone never had the comfort of being in a sexual relationship early on in life? College hits, and the random hookups begin. Not a lot of freshman are going to have the confidence to openly communicate with a random hook up partner. If there’s a lack of confidence, you risk a bad sexual experience. Are you using birth control? Do you have a condom? Are you comfortable with this? These and more questions have to be communicated.

Confidence comes with experience. Experience comes with intimacy. In college, many people don’t get the gift of intimacy. Usually it’s quick, one or two night stand, and then get out. Sorry, but those frat beds are not big enough for two people. It comes down to cuddling and awkward morning chats or enjoying the comforts of your own bed… which do you prefer? There may not be a good chance for communication, especially after a sexual encounter; however, it has to happen. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that some poor girl will be walking to CVS to pick up that plan B the next morning. “College women are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety, nervousness, embarassment, and guilt during their first sexual intercourse rather than excitement and pleasure…” (Moore 172). Nervous and embarassed college girls don’t sound like the type that are about to ask if their sexual partner has a STI.

Along with prevention of sexually transmitted diseases/infections, communication helps partners discover pleasure and fun during sexual intercourse. Saying what you like, where, and asking questions can only help one’s self and partners pleasure. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it may be completely worth it. You know your body better than anyone else, so telling a partner what you like will help achieve a heightened sense of pleasure.

Communication will help prevent disease, pregnancy, and dissatisfaction.

Moore, Nelwyn, and Kenneth Davidson. Communicating with New Sex Partners. Print.

Condom Vending Machines

After reading a CDC article and comparing it to my research in the archives this past week, I am a bit astonished with Emory.  Back in 1994, The Emory Wheel wrote an article entitled the “A, B, C’s of STD’s: be smart, safe, protected.” [1]In this article, the author Christina Bell informs readers that safe sex is the only way to protect against STIs (big shock there). In the CDC’s research filed under STS in Adolescents to Young Adults, they report that “the ages 15-24 represent only 25% of the sexually expierenced population, [yet] they acquire nearly half of all new STDs.” [2] Within this same study the CDC postulates that there are a number of factors that lead to this including: behavioral, biological cultural reason AND the barriers to accessing STD prevention services. [2]

Going back to the Emory Wheel article, Bell notes several services such as Student Health Services, but what difference exists now from 1994? Condom vending machines! I find it shocking that this practice has not continued on the grounds of an institution for higher education. Admittedly, I can see the issue that Emory could potentially have on Parent’s weekend when the “folks” see these types of vending machines as they go to get a Coke in the Psychology building. But let us be realistic; this is college. Sex happens whether parents like it not, therefore it is a reality that must be taken into consideration. Would a parent not feel more comfortable about the University offering a method that would protect their “little baby?” Yes, parents can be naive and assume that would never be their child, but the University cannot be. The idea of strategically placing a condom vending machine throughout various parts of the campus is ingenious (it’s another way Emory can find a way to get more money out of the students—right along with the ridiculous parking office). Reverting back to the point, we have seen through the various articles we have read this past week that alcohol plays a serious role along with one’s personality toward having risky sex [3].

Again, here is another shocking fact; college students drink. Recapping just to make sure we have this clear, college students have sex and they do drink on occasion, now consider where is Student Health Services in relation to where students spend their time? It’s roughly a 20 minute walk to go ask for some free condoms, and roughly the same to walk to CVS. Breaking this down now, the free condoms that Student Health Services gives away certainly are not good quality. In fact, they are the ones that epitomize why condoms are hated during sex, not to mention they make the guy look like he has a Jolly Rancher (not referencing D4L’s song “Laffy Taffy”). Therefore, the options laid out right now consist of a relatively short walk, but who really has time in the midst of classes and other campus events to walk to either of these places, more realistically who WANTS to make that walk?

So after all this, let’s play out a little scenario. A guy and girl just left a party on either Frat Row, or otherwise, and let’s say the guy has forgotten he ran out of condoms. What happens? One of two things they continue and end up having unsafe sex, or the night does not end quite as it should have. But wait, what if there were condom vending machines conveniently and strategically located? Well let’s leave it at, there could be a happy ending for all parties involved.


A,B,Cs of STDs (1/2)

A,B,Cs of STDs (1/2)

A,B,Cs of STDs (2/2)








Contraceptive Manipulation

Contraception is perhaps one of those things that just will never be fully accepted nor refuted. It is something that seems to always attract controversy no matter the arena in which it is introduced. In addition, abortion is even more inflammatory, creating teams that slander one another in the hopes of attracting the most supporters. The “Pro-Life” and “Pro-Choice” teams often create suggestive language implying the inferiority of the opposing team. Wendy Simonds in “From Contraception to Abortion: A Moral Continuum” summarized this in the statement “Anti-abortionists call themselves ‘pro-life,’ and refer to their enemies as ‘pro abortion,’ whereas those who support abortion rights counter with ‘pro-choice’ and refer to their opponents as ‘anti-choice,’ or more simply, as ‘antis’.” This type of suggestive language not only creates tension within society and awkwardness when discussing the subject matter, but it also places a particular pressure on women.

In a previous blog, I referred to the killings that took place at the Pensacola Abortion Clinic. John Bayard Britton was a 70 year-old doctor murdered in cold blood by “Pro-life” advocates.  The reason for his murder was the simple fact that he practiced abortion procedures. He was the replacement of the first victim, Dr. Dunn, and Britton practiced these procedures after witnessing the poverty and health problems that often lead to women needing abortions. Often times, the need for an abortion is not the direct result of the woman’s voluntary actions. Yet with there being murders of doctors practicing abortions and “Pro-Life” advocates derogatorily considering abortion right supporters “Pro-Abortion,” where is the choice in that?

A 1989 entry in the Emory Wheel introduced a new paradigm of this issue; religion. Sex is something that, these days, is hard to avoid. It is in the media, it is among our friends, and, as seen by this course, it is even in our schools. Therefore, as Lyle Anderson Caldwell put it, the “S” word is not something that we should be squeamish to say or discuss. Additionally, this article spoke about the religious obligations that forbade abortion and even offered medical financial assistance, yet should something have gone wrong, like a miscarriage, the woman was left alone in the aftermath of pro-life hypnotism.

As Caldwell put it, “there is no easy solution to the issue of abortion that is dividing our country.” This was true in 1989 and remains true today. The fact of the matter is, this is something that needs to be left to the mercy of perception and individual opinion. Killing in the name of life and religion in the name or persuasion are two roads that will exacerbate the current mayhem.  Not to say that either side is right or wrong because I will leave my pro-choice opinion out of it, yet it is not and never will be fair to force somebody else to do something in the name of your personal beliefs.

Note Oct 25, 2012


Acceptance is Peace



The Emory Lesbian and Gay Organization took part in the historic march on Washington for lesbian and gay rights in 1987. In this time period, there was a large uproar in the lesbian and gay community over the Bowers v. Hardwick court case of 1986. In this case, the Georgia sodomy law was ruled by the Supreme Court 5-4 that anal and oral sex between homosexuals was a criminal act. When the lesbian and gay community heard of this, they came together like never before in order to fight against this legislation.

Emory students that attended seemed to be the largest group of students from a school in the southeast. Even during this time period, to the outside world, Emory was a school of tolerance and acceptance. What was interesting in the article, however, was how students felt at the march as well as after. Students felt very comfortable and accepted at the march in Washington. One student said, “There were so many gay people that I felt like we were the norm and not the outcast.” After returning to Atlanta, the same student said “upon returning to Atlanta I felt really empty and sad because it was like crawling back into a closet.” When we think of Atlanta we do not think about the time period that Atlanta was not the hub of LGBT acceptance. On the same campus that we walk everyday, the same buildings we walk into, are full of a history of suppressed sexuality and non acceptance. For those students that did not attend the march, it was because of fear. Fear of not being accepted by their peers and being typecasted and outcasted. It is worth taking a moment to wonder, do we still have this issue today?

Undoubtedly, we still have talks about men on the “down low” and how this affects women and relationships. The fact that this is an issue that the nation has been dealing says a lot about how we perceive some males. As Keith Boykin says in “10 Things You Should Know About the DL,” “the DL is not simply a gay thing,” and it is a “distraction from the real issues.” If all we want to do is stigmatize and say how it affects others how do we expect for people to come out of the “closet”?

Truth is, Emory is not as evolved as it claims to the public. There are still stigmas placed on those part of LGBT. The LGBT office has been putting on the annual drag show for the past 7 years. The fact that it took that long for this type of event to come on campus says something about Emory’s readiness to be this accepting students who possess sexuality outside the “norm.” The Hardwick Decision was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003, and LGBT at Emory had their first drag show the following year. Regardless of how Emory is as a campus, the politics of the nation determine a lot of the atmosphere and comfortability for students.

The economics of a college campus

Economic theory has been recognized and applied to our behavior since Darwin first discovered the works of Thomas Malthus. In order for there to be evolution, there must be a limited supply of resources and consequently some competition for those resources. In every species, a mate is a resource. Our biological fitness relies on our ability to find a mate and pass on our genes. The current sex situation in our society is a result of the influence of two things on this innate behavior. First of all, many people have figured out that sex can be enjoyable (thus we want it despite having no current aspirations for reproduction) and second, as a general rule humans have developed into a dual gender courtship species, thereby requiring displays of affection, charms, and expressions of interest from both men and women.

A change occurred in the 1960s and 1970s in American society that has liberated women from the stigma of sex before marriage. It’s certainly not gone, but with the increasing education of women, the delay of marriage in favor of furthering careers, and the general acceptance that marriage is simply not the road for everyone, women are increasingly likely to engage in pre-marital sex and to be comfortable with it. This on it’s own can be a very good thing. As Windsor and Burgess advocate, having a sex-positive outlook is much healthier because it makes knowledge and education accessible and leads to healthier, happier people. 

The problem however, is that women in our age group (18-23) are not happier. This freedom they have been granted has not promoted sex-positivity and openness. It has lead instead to the economizing of sexual acts,discouraging some individuals and decreasing the frequency of healthy sexual relationships.

In 2011, sociologists Regnerus and Uecker, of University of Texas and University of North Carolina respectively, published a book about the way young Americans engage in relationships and decide how they will progress. After a decade of study they reported that women who have had multiple sex partners are ten times more likely to experience elevated symptoms of depression. These results occurred after the onset of sexual behavior. Proof of a causal relationship was not proven but a definite correlation was seen. Some men and many women reported feeling disrespected after engaging in casual sex.

The researchers also found that “men are typically in control of when dating begins, but women are in control of when sex begins—and it often begins earlier than they want.” This is a slightly different argument than Kathleen Bogle’s (Hooking Up) who portrayed the struggle of developing relationships in a hook up culture, yet it follows the same logic. Television, movies, and our parents (or fathers) frequently reinforce the stereotypes. Men want sex and women either give it to them or they don’t. The problem comes from the different points at which women find it appropriate to allow sexual activity. Regnerus and Uecker went on to report that “women are increasingly competing with each other for the affections of increasingly rare high-quality men who are willing to commit.” In a world where sex is easier to acquire, more men are less enticed by the idea of committing to just one mate. Women don’t necessarily see the difference so they end up moving faster sexually than they would otherwise choose in a non-competitive environment for fear of losing the man to someone who moves faster than them.

College is probably the best time and place to see how these changes effect women. In the past, there were always far more men on campuses than women and consequently, men had to work harder to secure a date. Now that most colleges enroll an equal or greater proportion of women than men, the opportunities abound for men looking to find a new partner. As evident in Bogle’s book, women “hook up” with men often believing that it will lead to something more. This pretty much jumps the starting point that Uecker and Regnerus assume comes first. The point where a man initiates a date doesn’t have to arise on the timeline at all, let alone first. Women are basically doing this to ourselves. We hear it constantly. We even spout advice to our friends that we then ignore ourselves. Hook ups could have potential. There’s always the exception, right?

Sure there’s a double standard, but basically we as a group are creating it. By not voicing what we want and giving in, we make it less and less about men competing for sex, and more about women competing for relationships.

Evolution is all about promotion of the most fit behaviors. The number of men accustomed to not having to work for sex will likely increase until something changes in women’s behavior. It’s simple economics, “when women compete for men, men win: the price of sex goes down.”


Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species. John Murray Publishing. 1859

Bogle, Kathleen. “Hooking Up: Men, Women, and the Sexual Double Standard.” NYU Press. 2008

Windsor, Elroi and Elisabeth Burgess. “Sex Matters: Future Visions for a Sex-Positive Society.” Allyn and Bacon. 2003

Premarital Sex in America. How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About Marrying. Mark Regnerus, Jeremy Uecker. Oxford University Press, 2011

A Man’s World. “The sexual economics of college campuses empower men at the expense of women.” World Magazine. Marvin Olasky. May 20, 2011

Factors that Shape One’s Sexuality

 Talks with S


We have been discussing about giving one the “freedom” or “choice” to choose ones own sexuality. The question that I plan to answer in today’s blog is: How does one choose this sexuality? What were the experiences that one may have encountered that ultimately formed or shaped their sexuality?

An individual’s gender and sexual identity, the attributes related to it, and their behavior are shaped by experiences encountered by them their entire life. The phrase “entire life” includes their childhood, pre-adolescence, adolescence, later-adolescence,
adulthood, and even their later life. This includes their interactions with their families, friends and intimate relationships with their partners (DeLamater and Friedrich 63). It is believed that ones sexual interests and desires begin the moment one is born into the world, and continue to formulate until we die. DeLamater and Friedrich in Human Sexual Development, talk about “childhood” as the time in ones life where one establishes certain kind of preferences for certain kind of stimulations, which then persist throughout ones lifetime. The simple act of a child sucking on his or her toes and fingers is seen as a “natural form of sexual expression” (DeLamater and Friedrich 64).

An essential element of any kind of mature relationship with a partner is based on “attachment” -emotional and physical. This attribute is said to blossom during ones childhood. The physical contact of a child with his or her parents that brings out warmth, security, and a comforting feeling helps shape this attachment in a positive spectrum. If this physical contact is negative, it leads to insecurities with oneself, discomfort at the idea or actual sensation of someone else’s touch and even identifying others as always having bad motives. Sometimes these all possibilities may be valid, if a child has encountered a traumatic experience of being raped or assaulted as a child. This “childhood” phase of ones life is often regarded as a stage when one is not sexual or has no quantitative idea of what sexuality really is. This has been therefore proven as a myth in Human Sexual Development. 


The next stage in an individual’s life is the pre- adolescence phase when he or she gains experiences with masturbation, and experiences sexual attractions with other individuals. When an individual reaches the actual adolescence stage, he or she is deemed as having become “sexually mature” in terms of sexual interest, emotional compatibility and physical viability. In the later stages of adolescence, between ages 16 to 19 years, an individual establishes his or her gender identity. Establishing this gender identity is an essential component of establishing their identity as a whole. DeLamater and Friedrich state,

Early childhood is also [in addition to several other important experiences that a child may witness during this stage] a period during which each child forms a gender identity, a sense of maleness or femaleness (64).

In today’s society, a parent or a guardian will expect, or rather want a child (set to be in his or her “childhood” stage) to be inclined towards playing with dolls as a symbolism of her “femaleness” or play with gun toys or ninja figures as a symbolism of his “maleness”. It is, however, in the “later adolescence” stage that ones sexual identity truly emerges. Individuals entering this “later adolescence” stage may choose their identity as either homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual or the like. In my opinion, this is the most critical stage in ones lifetime. This is so because- at this “later adolescence” stage one chooses his or her identity, after which only can he or she move towards establishing a stable lifestyle with self-confidence and maturity.

When one enters the “adulthood” stage he or she is regarded as having the full emotional and physical maturity to “make informed decisions about reproduction and prevention of sexually transmitted infection, including HIV infection” (DeLamater and Friedrich 66). It is in the “adulthood” stage when concepts such as “marriage”, “living together” and “getting pregnant” are common notions. DeLamater and Friedrich state,

Some adults engage in sexual activities that involve risks to their physical health, such as STI’s ad HIV infection. Examples of such activities include engaging in vaginal or anal intercourse without using condoms, engaging in sexual activity with casual partners and engaging in sex with multiple partners (67).

The use of condoms and other contraceptives is now witnessed as coherent with “sexual health”. Many believe that these measures are ideal; and can be viewed an integral step towards protection of oneself against unwanted diseases, that one may get from an unknown or unfaithful partner. In some peoples view, mainly the individuals belonging to a societal group that call themselves “pro-life”, “to be prepared” equates being “loose” (Simonds 428).

Having sex before marriage is one concept, however, having sex before marriage and getting pregnant with or without use of contraceptives is another ball game all together. It is only recently, since the late 20th century that the use of “contraception has not shared the social stigma as abortion” (Simonds 428). Based on the decisions one makes during “adulthood”, one may or may not use contraceptives to avoid getting pregnant. The “pro- choice” deem it their right to abort a baby after getting pregnant had they used a contraceptive measure or not. They wish to regard this process only as a “chosen activity” (Simonds 428). On the other hand, “pro-life” or anti-abortionists state, “the aborting woman is selfish and self indulgent” (Simonds 428) and regard these aborting women, profit-making doctors and clinic workers as “baby killers” (Simonds 427 & 428). They even predict the collapse of patriarchal heterosexual family unit as a result of continued abortions. This typical “heterosexual family unit” includes a man and woman married with a child. Even DeLamater and Friedrich state,

Marriage is the most common sexual lifestyle in the United States. Marriage is the social context in which sexual expression is thought to be most legitimate (66).

The question that then comes to mind is: What about a woman getting pregnant when she isn’t married? Is she now required to get married, because she is pregnant, or should she be allowed to abort the child because she isn’t and doesn’t want to get married? According to the poll data mentioned in From Contraception to Abortion: A Moral Continuum, “a large majority [public data collected] supports abortion when a pregnant woman’s life is endangered by the pregnancy, when her pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, or when the fetus is ‘defective’ (Simonds 428). This data is said to have smaller support if the woman may want to abort the child due to reasons such as interference with work or education or affordability. The entire article talks about a “woman” not wanting or aborting a baby. The question that arises to my mind is what about “men” wanting the woman to abort the baby? What about the woman wanting to keep the baby but not being able to keep the baby as she alone cannot after to raise a child without financial support from the biological father of the child? What about a situation where the husband is now deceased and the woman not wanting to raise a child that reminds her of her deceased husband? There are so many situations that need to be considered before taking a stance.

The “pro-choice” identify motherhood as a choice that is personal to them, and since its their body that will have to bare the child, they should have the “choice” to abort the fetus if they consider themselves unworthy of being a mother. Although this seemed justifiable to me at first, I soon changed my thoughts when I related it to another concept all together: suicide. If we are “not allowed” by law to harm our own bodies even though it is ultimately our own body, then the government is right in a way to make the practice of abortion “illegal” in some aspects.

Issues of having sex before marriage, the elderly having sex, abortion, assault, etc. are topics that do not have one single justifiable answer, as each individual’s story pertaining to each one of these topics is different and cannot be pinned down to one correct solution. Various “cultural attitudes” (Simonds 429) suffice in society that may diverge one to take a particular decision. These decisions that one may take as an adult (most countries acknowledging this as 18 years and older) and the experiences one may encounter throughout ones lifetime- covering all phases of life from birth to death- help to shape ones sexuality. Since “human beings are sexual beings throughout their entire lives” (DeLamater and Friedrich 64), changes in ones sexuality during the course of their lives may also occur after “developing greater understanding of oneself or [their] partner” (DeLamater and Friedrich 67).




DeLamater, John D. and Friedrich, William N. “Human Sexual Development”

Simonds Wendy. “From Contraception to Abortion: A Moral Continuum”


Let’s Be Supportive

Are we too extreme? That is the question that can be debated in multiple ways. In an article in the Emory Report entitled “White male heterosexual wants freedom of speech,” a student on campus discusses the freedom to support as well as criticize those that deal with different issues in society. Being a heterosexual, he felt he should be able to speak on homosexual issues without backlash. Many find problems with those that support an issue that does not directly have to do with them. They label those who support LGBT as being “a little gay” or in the past, those that supported the Civil Rights Movement as “colored lovers.” Can we not be supportive of those trying to have the same rights as “normal” people?

How the Double Standard is Here to Stay

Throughout the years, the term “hooking-up” has had an extremely fluid definition that could imply that society is becoming both more sexually active and sexually acceptable. In both our class discussion and my personal experience, “hooking-up” tends to be inclusive of having sexual intercourse.  I would assume there has been a generational shift, as my parents have told me that when they were teenagers “hooking-up” did not go hand in hand with sexual intercourse. Due to the fact that these were all based on personal assumptions, I decided to check out the facts.  Paula England, a professor of sociology at NYU, researched the hook-up culture at Stanford University.  Her findings were that only thirty to forty percent of students responded that hook-ups involved sexual intercourse, and one third of the respondents said that it only involved making out and some touching (England, 1). England’s study also resulted in the same findings as Bogle’s study, in that there was a clear double standard amongst females and males when it came to hooking up.

It is clear that there is a double standard amongst genders that if women hook-up too often they are perceived as sluts where males are patted on the back, but what constantly comes up is that men cannot define how much is “too much.”  In Bogle’s study, the male student she interviews gives a convoluted and then an almost ludicrous response that “females who hook up with twelve males in a short period of time or five guys a week are considered sluts” (Bogle, 136).

One of the main things that has contributed to the double standard is that relational orientation is gendered.  Women have a stronger desire, especially in college, to be in a committed relationship than men.  Although we often would like to place the blame of this double standard on male judgment, a lot of it is caused by females feeling as if they are going to be judged by their sexual partners and peers.  Having the stigma of being a slut often taints you as damaged goods. In both Bogle’s and England’s studies boys talk and it is generally made known which girls are sleeping around.  England offers the anecdote of her mother saying to her when she was 19 that she needed to be a virgin at marriage because otherwise, if you have had sex and it does not work out, you do not marry that man, and then no other man will marry you.  Because in our current culture almost everyone has premarital sex, excluding Evangelical Christians, there needs to be a definition of how much is “too much” (England, 7).

The reason why “too much” exists is due to the fact that there is an underlying fear of being judged by one’s peers.  England asks the question “Have you ever hooked up with someone and then respected your hookup partner less because they hooked up with you?”  There was a minority of both men and women who answered yes, but slightly more men did. On the other hand, when England posed the question “Have you ever hooked up with someone and then felt that your hookup partner respected you less?” almost half of the female respondents answered yes in comparison to only 20% of males. What this shows is that although many times we fear that males will label us as “sluts”, women are more worried of this happening and think those guys have thought this more than it has actually happened (England, 8).  This gendered script that females hold themselves to only acts to reinforce the stigma that males attach to them.  It is evident that there has yet to be a definition on what “too much” is but the there is a commonly held belief that the notion does exist, and it exists in such a way that it will take a while to get rid of.

Bogle, Kathleen. “Hooking Up: Men, Women, and the Sexual Double Standard.” Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus. New York: New York University Press. 2008.

England, Paula. “Understanding Hookup Culture: What’s Really Happening on College Campuses.” Media Education Fund. 2011.

Condoms, Alcohol & Sexual Health

“Approximately 19 million STD infections are diagnosed annually in the United States” [1]. This shocking number took my attention. I did not realize that these many infections were diagnosed each year and 9.5 million of them happen among people at such a young age between 15 and 24. The spread of these STD infections can be caused by poor knowledge of condom use and other sexual contraceptives. About “80% of college students have engaged in sexual intercourse”, but only one-third of them use condoms [1]. I believe that knowledge about these issues should be addressed in a required class in the first year of college because the spread of STD diseases can be preventable if people are educated. Emory used to have PE 101 required our freshmen year that taught us some basics about sexual health, which was a good attempt. But I feel most people did not really care and realize the gravity of the issues.
People also seem to take part in riskier sexual activities when heavily intoxicated [1]. This may seem obvious, but should actually be taken seriously. In a journal article published in American Psychology titled “Substance use and risky sexual behavior for exposure to HIV: Issues in methodology, interpretation, and prevention”, it is stated that “people who are heavier drinkers or drug users tend to have more sexual partners and to use condoms less consistently” [2]. This may be due to the fact of alcohol’s effect on decision making and false confidence. Even recently, there have been some reports supporting these claims [1]. However, alcohol’s effect does vary amongst different individuals and the sexual situation. Sample size needs to be taken account for and I feel there would be varying results based on different environments.
On the other hand, some studies show quite the opposite, supporting the idea that there is no relationship of alcohol consumption and condom use, but a “positive relationship of overall frequency of drinking with sex and overall frequency of condom use” [2]. These two results are polar opposites and goes with the claim that alcohol affects people differently. One study takes this idea one step further and observes alcohol and condom use by various type of sexual encounters. In a study published in Sexual Transmitted Diseases titled “Alcohol and condom use: a meta-analysis of event-level studies”, it was stated that drinking during the first intercourse had a correlation with lower condom usage, but afterwards during recent sexual encounters alcohol was not correlated with condom use [3]. This study make the claim that alcohol does not always link to unprotected sex, but the relationship between the two depends on “content and sexual experience of the partner” [3].
The two differing views both hold their validity but I have to agree with the one that says alcohol’s effect on condom use varies among individuals. Each person is different and has varying backgrounds and knowledge. Some people maybe have started learning about sexual health as early as middle school, whereas maybe some people just became aware of it in college. Maybe condom use is second nature to certain people and they can just perform the necessary precautions before intercourse without even thinking. Family background also has a lot to do with it as well: some families may be more conservative and traditional not speaking about sex, whereas other families can be more open about the topic of sex. Even though individual’s knowledge can vary before coming to college, I feel everyone should be on the same page at least during the first year of college about education in STDs, contraceptives and sexual health in general.

[1] Condom Use with a Casual Partner: What Distinguishes College Students’ Use When Intoxicated? by Antonia Abbey, Michele R. Parkhill, Philip O. Buck, and Christopher Saenz.
[2] Leigh, B., Stall, R. (1993) Substance use and risky sexual behavior for exposure to HIV: Issues in methodology, interpretation, and prevention. Am Psychol 48(10): 1035-1045.
[3] Leigh, B.C. (2002) Alcohol and condom use: a meta-analysis of event-level studies. Sex Transm Dis 29(8):476-82.

A 1983 yearbook and its portrayal of sexual identity

Last week in the archives I looked through a yearbook from 1983. Needless to say, being a yearbook, I captured many images that clue into that times sexual identity. The first thing I noticed is that most all pictures of men together they were standing in an extremely masculine accord. This is either a popular consensus of social etiquette at the time, or a direct effect of the editor’s bias.

As we can see in      Note Oct 11, 2012 (11) the two men in the bottom picture are standing arm in arm, drink in hand, and with adequate pelvic distance. This is crucial for the picture to both paint the masculinity of the men and implied heterosexuality of the men. In the picture on the top right, the gentlemen on the left is clearly more sexually interested in the women he is standing next to compared to these gentlemen; arm in arm, drinks in hand, but notice how much less space exists between the sexual organs of the two women and the man. Notice how much more fluid this picture is compared to the squared up picture of the two men on the bottom. To contrast, look at the picture on the top. Women tend to lean in closer from pictures and “friend moments” but even they maintain a distance, shown by the girl on the far left. If the girl on the far left was sexually interested in the girl she stood next to, then she would have been closer. Plus looking at the fact they all have drinks implies they are drunk, and alcohol being drunk is one of the most frequent preludes to sex there is.

Note Oct 11, 2012 (5) gives incite into the sexual identity of popular culture of the time. In the picture we see a criminal in bars from a great movie, a Disney heterosexual love story, many famous celebrities, another heterosexual romance, a few more celebrities, a half dressed ( and I am assuming gay due to his stance) standing with two other men and a woman (sexual preference still to be determined), Modena, and a Governor/Actor. Aside from Michael Jackson’s sexuality (which in my opinion is up for debate { I nether view him as gay or straight, more like a musical idol}) there is only one “gay” thing that I can see in this picture with my  “straight” eyes. This to me shows that America was moving closer to a society that accepts homosexuality. Times were still hard for the homosexual community but socially there has been some progress.

Gay sexual identity is present, it is just hidden and slightly eluded to. This point brings me back to the picture above; maybe the men on the bottom picture were gay, and maybe they were trying to hide the fact that they were homosexuals, The sexuality might only be seen in the undertone. This of course, can be applied to any of the pictures seen and captured. Is what they portray heterosexual, or is it just how we perceive it to be?