It's very nice that you give people advice on methods of BC and safer sex methods.
However there are tose of us out here who CHOOSE not to practice "safer sex". There is nothing irresponsible about it. I TRUST my partners to be honest with me (maybe that's stupid on my acount) and I'm at an age where I feel I've earned the right to CHOOSE how I have sex without being made to feel guilty about it.
Choice is important, but Scarleteen believes in promoting safer sex. If that's contrary to your beliefs, that is your privelege, but if this site's message is that incompatible with yours, you might prefer to find another forum.
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Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000
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quote: I'm at an age where I feel I've earned the right to CHOOSE how I have sex without being made to feel guilty about it.
If I got that right, I'd like to add that no one here or anywhere else where safer sex is promoted, is trying to impose a certain behaviour. The purpose of promotion is just giving out information so people can then choose what's best for them, knowing all the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.
And under no means anyone wants you, or anyone who chooses not to practise safer sex, to feel guilty, after all you had all the information and chose what you best suited you and your lifestyle. (Just wanted to clear that up.)
And by the way, age has nothing to do with this kind of choices, everyone has the "right to choose how they have sex".
quote:However there are tose of us out here who CHOOSE not to practice "safer sex". There is nothing irresponsible about it. I TRUST my partners to be honest with me
You know, practising safer sex has nothing to do with "not trusting" your partners.
If you've read the information on the site, you will already know that it's perfectly possible for people to have an STD without knowing it (unless they're getting regularly tested), and that many STDs can be contracted by non-sexual means.
So just relying on someone's statement that they haven't got an STD, if that's what you mean by "trusting them to be honest with you", is really not an effective way of protecting yourself (or them).
If you want to drop safer sex precautions in a monogamous relationship, then most safer sex educators recommend that you only do so after you've both had a clear STD screen six months after the last risk behaviour (several STDs, such as HIV, can take that long to show up on tests).
Well, since this thread is about choice, I'd like to talk about mine. I practice safer sex for several reasons:
1) I currently have two partners that I'm sexual with, and a third partner who I am occasionally sexual with. In the past, and perhaps in the future, my partners have had/will have other partners. To minimize the risks for infection and pregnancy for everyone involved, it's important that we practice safer sex. I trust my partners and love them very much, and they trust me and love me; using protection for us is a way of showing our trust and love, because we're trying to keep each other from harm.
2) I don't want to get pregnant right now, and due to an underlying hormonal condition, the Pill is not terribly effective at preventing pregnancy for me. This means that I need to combine it with a back-up method, and I choose to use condoms, which also have the advantage of being effective against STDs and STIs.
3) I find many safer sex procedures (latex gloves for manual sex, for example) to be more comfortable for me and for my partners. I also derive psychological comfort from knowing that I am doing my best to reduce mine and my partners' risks as well, and this allows me to feel more relaxed and to enjoy sex more.
So, what about all of you? Why do you choose or not choose to practice safer sex?
I choose to practice safer sex, and will in all future relationships. Why? Because during my previous relationship, which was monogamous and long-term, I contracted herpes. So not only do I have an obligation to protect my current partner and all future partners, but I'm also very painfully aware (pun intended) of the consequences of unprotected sex.
During that previous relationship, my ex and I also a passed a yeast infection back and forth for over a year, because we didn't use condoms. A year-long yeast infection isn't fun, folks. It wasn't until after I'd left him and I came here that I realized what was happening. So now? I use condoms. And other forms of latex where appropriate.
Additionally, I can't use hormonal forms of birth control, and I won't use spermicide. That leaves me with... guesss what... condoms!
And has this devotion to latex hindered my sex life? Not in the slightest.
I think it's also worth mentioning that sometimes, we make choices that we know full well aren't the best ones or the most responsible ones. We still have every right in the world to make them for the most part, but it's likely that we ARE going to feel a bit guilty about them because we know that's the case. And that guilt doesn't come from other people putting it on you, it comes from yourself, and it isn't actually fair to ask others to quiet down in terms of discussing more responsible or better choices so that you don't feel so bad, especially when you feeling bad isn't even close to the worst result.
The thing with safer sex, like a lot of things in life, is that the choices one makes there don't just impact you and your partner. They really do impact everyone. My practices in my very early teens were patently unsafe. Then, in the ward my mother ran in a children's hospital, I saw the first babies and kids I'd see with HIV, years before most people did. Later in my life, my favorite high school teacher died because in the early advent of HIV, he too "trusted" his monogamous partner rather than using safer sex practices or getting tests.
For me, at this point in my life, given I'm in a very long-term monogamous marriage, I'm well past the safety curve for disease transmission, ad we've both had tests annually for well over a decade. But I still practice safer sex for most activities for a multitude of reasons. However, the biggest reason for me at this point is because working in the field I do, I see what a huge worldwide problem it is, and how interconnected we all really are in terms of it, and I want to contribute to eradicating that problem, not furthering it. My partner and I may not always be partners; we may take others later on in our lives. And since we do leave the house and have contact with other people, our sexual health can impact others even if we stay together as sole partners for the rest of our lives.
And for the early years when I didn't make these kinds of choices, do I feel guilty? Sure I do, because I wasn't making the most responsible choices and the only real reason I wasn't was out of apathy or laziness or because safer sex tools (given, this was in the early to mid-eighties) intimidated or embrassed me (which I had more of an excuse for given the info on how to use them wasn't out there -- now that excuse wouldn't be available). Was that my right? It was, and it still is. But that sort of behaviour just doesn't fit my own ethics anymore, nor does it mesh with how I want to live my life and the sort of world I want to live in.
And you know, I'm beyond grateful to the people that told me I should do otherwise then, and who perhaps I defensively (but mistakenly, and out of my own arrogance) felt were "guilt-tripping" me. Because without them, I or any of my partners or theirs could be less healthy, less sound, or even dead right now. The most recent study I flipped through the other day was showing that not only do one in four teenaged girls with ONE partner end up with HPV in the US right now within three years, a quarter of those end up with it in three months. So, there you go. Not irresponsible? Malarkey. Yes, you get to make your choices regardless, but denial isn't a good place to make any choices from.
If you don't want to hear about safer sex, or aren't ready to know that whatever choices you make right now, that IS the soundest thing to do for you, your partners, and the world you live in, that's your right, and you get to tune it out, though I'd by lying if I said that was the healthiest thing to do because we have all the evidence in the world to make clear it isn't.
But harping about people giving those messages in a venue whose mission is to do just that is flatly just not sensible. If this isn't what you want to see right now or it doesn't mesh with your life, no one is forcing you to participate.
I don't technically agree with you on the guilt thing, but that's okay.
I was just saying that sometimes this site gets a little...well pushy...about "safer sex". If that's the whole point, then great for you. If you choose to practice, then great for you.
However, I don't see the point in acting like those of us that don't do that are being irresponsible. Some of us for personal reasons, or otherwise choose not to and there is nothing morally, socially, or any otherway WRONG with it.
In a word, if you are comfortable with your own choices, you really shouldn't feel the need to defend them when no one has even brought them into question.
But what I'm not going to okay here is saying that unsafe sex is a responsible choice, because essentially, without the standard safeguards in play (two sets of tests, six months of safer sex and mmonogamy at a minimum), it is putting a person, their partner or partners and others at high risk, based on all the current public health informmation we have.
So again, you and yours want to take that risk, that is, indeed, your choice. You want to be absolved of it here? Not going to happen. Not only are we not in the business of absolution, we're in the business of showing people how to decrease their risks as much as possible.
If you want this thread to continue for numerous people to discuss their own choices -- whatever they are -- in regard to safer sex and birth control, that's cool. But if it ends up being a devotional, madrigal, to defending your own choices ad nauseum, it'll be closed. That just doesn't really stand to serve anyone but you, and a forum is a community discussion.
Angelic Madrigal, here's the thing: this is a safer sex site.
Now, obviously you get to make your own choices on whether you want to practice safer sex or not. But people cannot MAKE choices unless they know what their choices are. So we are here to educate about safer sex. That is what this site does.
You will find that we are passionate about this subject because it is what draws all of us together. All of the people in this thread have remarkably diverse backrounds, and everyone of us volunteer hours and hours here each week to answer questions and help young people make smart choices. Heather in particular compromises the quality and financial stability of her real, offline life to pay for this site.
Now, you've just made your 50th post in this thread and you have become a Scarleteen Activist. Which makes me sad, actually; you've been here long enough and you're a literate and intelligent person, and yet we've failed to deliver the message in a way that is personally meaningful to you. Clearly, in your case, we have failed.
But out of respect for the people who give of their time and money to make ST the unique and important safer sex resource that it is, if you want to be an Activist for unsafe sex and incorrect information, this is not an appropriate place for you to do so.
You want us to respect your choices; we will not. We respect -- and, through education, advocate for -- your right to make them, but that doesn't change the reality that your choices are poor ones.
All the education, IQ points, love and trust in the world will not protect you from getting HIV from a partner infected through a blood transfusion. Or from getting HPV, which is silent and symptomless and increases your risk of cervical cancer. Or from giving thrush, yeast infections or other unpleasant things to a partner who may never be symptomatic but can give them to someone else.
Here's something to think about:
Many people who have contracted STDs and STIs didn't have the tremendous power that sex education offers; they didn't know they had risks, or had choices to minimise them. This is the largest percentage, world-wide, of people who have contracted STDs and STIs.
Many others made the same choices you have. They had the knowledge, they had the resources, and they calculated their risks and chose to "trust their partners." But, they are still HIV positive, or carrying HPV, or living with herpes.
Not so much of it is FAILURE as it is there are things on this site I agree with, other things I don't. Being a HIGHLY oppinionated person I say somethign when I don't. I mostly wanted to see if anyone had noticed something similar to what I had, and obviously no one has or was upset by it as I was.
The whole point is some people UNDERSTAND the risks involved in the way we are sexually active, and don't particularly care. I mean pesonally I beleive I'm MORE likely to die as a result from my mental illness, a car accident, homicide, etc.... than I am to die from any sort of STD.
Anyway this thread wasn't initially about wheter the choice I made is stupid or not. I was more interested in seeing ***why**** people choose to have safer sex or not.
quote:Anyway this thread wasn't initially about wheter the choice I made is stupid or not. I was more interested in seeing ***why**** people choose to have safer sex or not.
Perhaps that's what you intended, but what you initially posted was:
quote:there are tose of us out here who CHOOSE not to practice "safer sex". There is nothing irresponsible about it.
So it's not surprising that that's what people have been discussing.
quote:I mean pesonally I beleive I'm MORE likely to die as a result from my mental illness, a car accident, homicide, etc.... than I am to die from any sort of STD.
Well, I believe the current estimate for the US are that by the age of 24, at least one in three sexually active people will have contracted an STD.
Sure, most STDs aren't fatal. On the other hand, the most common STDs (some of which are incurable) have effects including pelvic inflammatory disease, permanent infertility, vaginal bleeding, genital warts, chronic bladder infections, increased risk of cervical cancer, and so on.
To me, deliberately and unecessarily taking the risk of exposing yourself or your partner to those ... well, that doesn't fit my definition of "responsibility".
You have the right to make whatever choices you want to make, however unsafe they may be. No-one's stopping you. But you don't have the right to demand that other people pat you on the back and tell you that what you're doing is responsible when it isn't.
I'm very new to this site and I strongly believe that SAFER sex is very important. Unsafe sex contributes to many unplanned pregnancies as well as STD's and AIDS. People appear to be having sex in alarming rates and they need to know how to protect themselves. This site provides suggestions to teens to protect themselves.
Your choice not to have safer sex is simply your choice. However, I'm curious how you protect yourself against pregnancy.
quote:Originally posted by mnsouthpawjr: However, I'm curious how you protect yourself against pregnancy.
To answer your question I take Birth Control Pills. However, I didn't start them with the intent to "not get pregnant" that's just a side effect of them (I take them to relieve severe debilitating cramping ALL the time)
quote:Originally posted by angelicmadrigal: However there are tose of us out here who CHOOSE not to practice "safer sex". There is nothing irresponsible about it. I TRUST my partners to be honest with me...
maybe there is nothing WRONG with choosing not to practice safer sex, but i'd be pushing it by agreeing that it wasn't irresponsible.
and sadly, trust has nothing to do with it. my mom has had less than 10 sexual partners in her life. she trusted ONE of them, and now has to live with herpes for the rest of her days.
not to mention, lots of STD's and STI's don't even need sexual contact to be transmitted. some can be hereditary. some could be bad blood transfusions. others can be passed through drinking from the same glass. and some of the deadliest STD's, namely AIDS, in many cases DON'T HAVE SYMPTOMS OR SHOW UP ON TESTS FOR 10 YEARS. which means, even if they ARE tested, if they haven't been monogamous, you're at risk.
quote:I mean pesonally I beleive I'm MORE likely to die as a result from my mental illness, a car accident, homicide, etc.... than I am to die from any sort of STD.
one of my best friends had AIDS, and it wasn't pleasent during the end. you may be more LIKELY to die during other activities, but i can tell you, they're probably more preferable.
no one is accusing you of being stupid, or saying that you should reform, but the bottom line is, this is a safe sex education site. i find it hard to believe that this post was started for opinions, because you continously defend your point, even when we've already acknowledged it. we are simply offering different perspectives, and in my opinion, in a world where STD's are one in three and the highest percentage of HIV is women and children, a little safe sex couldn't hurt none.
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quote:Originally posted by mistress_monkey: others can be passed through drinking from the same glass.
and some of the deadliest STD's, namely AIDS, in many cases DON'T HAVE SYMPTOMS OR SHOW UP ON TESTS FOR 10 YEARS. which means, even if they ARE tested, if they haven't been monogamous, you're at risk.
That doesn't sound very correct to me at all.
In my rudimentary knowledge, I can't think of a single STD that can be contracted from drinking from the same glass as an infected person (with the exception of *perhaps* oral herpes, but even then I'm not sure that happens).
And there's NOTHING that takes ten years to show up in tests. You appear to be referring to HIV - it may take a few months from initial infection to show up in the blood, but not ten years. It may, however, pass undetected in an individual for ten years who has not had an HIV test.
People in the know feel free to correct me / add to what I've said.
quote:Originally posted by earth girl: In my rudimentary knowledge, I can't think of a single STD that can be contracted from drinking from the same glass as an infected person (with the exception of *perhaps* oral herpes, but even then I'm not sure that happens).
You asked for corrections, so... here goes. Hepatitis C, which is not per se considered an STD or STI, can be transmitted that way, via glasses, or by sharing toothbrushes, etc. Same with mononucleosis. That's not unusual for either of those.
If trace saliva were left on a glass, something like cytomegalovirus could be transmitted that way. Again, not the most common form of transmission by any means, but it can happen. Trichomoniasis can be spread by sharing damp towels. Same goes for pubic lice, and that's a common mode of transmission for that one.
STDs and STIs are, indeed, most often transmitted sexually. That is why they're called that. But not always, and with some that run rampant in younger folks, like pubic lice and mono, they can often be transmitted nonsexually.
quote:And there's NOTHING that takes ten years to show up in tests. You appear to be referring to HIV - it may take a few months from initial infection to show up in the blood, but not ten years. It may, however, pass undetected in an individual for ten years who has not had an HIV test.
Actually there have been a few cases of asymptomatic HIV carriers in which results did not show for that length of time to my recollection, but in general, yes, most diseases or infections will show symptoms well before that time, and will most likely show up on tests within a year or so. However -- sadly -- a lot of people not only don't get full STD and STI testing annually, some doctors and clinics, to cut corners, or because they just feel the risks weren't there, don't DO those full screens as often as they should be done. Sometimes, too, out of no negligence, when a patient is sick and a doctor is testing for things, the right test simply just may not end up getting done.
And from the sounds of some posts here, if a person is bound and determined not to have testing done because they're sure they don't need it, chances of them not finding out about something they have, if they do have it, can be high.
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