Is it just me, or has February flown by? Granted, there are only 28 days in this frigid month, but an extra 48 hours isn’t a lot of time to make a month seem longer.
Maybe it’s because I was sick every day last February. I went into the month with walking pneumonia. I had that for about two weeks and, after two days of recovery, found out I had debilitating strep throat.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited for March 2008 to roll around. This year, I slept through most of Valentine’s Day (thank you, Friday night) and had class on President’s Day (thank you, Temple). I heard lecturers on Black History Month and tried not to fail my physics class.
Amid all the excitement, I completely missed the February event that’s probably most relevant to what I do here at The Temple News. February, apparently, is also National Safe Sex Awareness Month.
Now, either I’m completely shut off from society in my little apartment bubble, or I missed any publicity that was given to this important exposure of the nation’s sexual health. Or, maybe the country doesn’t have enough money to publicize that. Hmm, that makes more sense.
Either way, I feel like I’ve failed as a columnist for not lecturing my faithful readers on the virtues of safe sex last month, so excuse me if I sound like your parent for a few paragraphs. Here are some things all of us need to remember before our reproductive organs start doing the thinking:
No glove, no love
Cheesy line? Absolutely. Does it need to be said? Obviously. Taking the time to whip out the Trojan Man (or asking for him to be present) isn’t the sexiest thing to say in the heat of the moment, but it’s a lot sexier than contracting HIV. Condoms from the Health Education and Awareness Resource Team in Mitten Hall are 10 for a dollar, so saying you’re out or don’t have enough money for them is not an excuse.
Two is better than one
Ladies, even if you’re on the pill or are using some kind of newfangled contraceptive ring, telling a guy to wrap up his junk will do more good than bad. The only thing I really remember from my high school’s joke of a sex education class is that two forms of protection are more effective than one — basic probability right there. And since I abide by everything I was taught in high school and am so skilled in math, I’m passing along the same advice.
If you thought the condom question was awkward, then you probably haven’t had someone throw the “are you clean?” interrogative your way. One friend told me the first time her crush’s face found its way between her thighs, he asked, “So, you don’t, like, have crabs or anything, right?” Sexy, right? At least he was taking some kind of precaution. Sexually transmitted diseases common on college campuses usually don’t show themselves immediately after they’re contracted, so unless you get tested, you probably won’t know what you might be spreading around.
Less is more
Think about it this way: you hook up with someone at a party whom you know as Sarah and have heard about her reputation as a seductress around campus. Thus, you’ve also hooked up with every other person whose mouth has been on hers and every other person whose mouths have been on their mouths and so on. You get the point. Just keep in mind where that person’s been. Don’t let it stop you, but after that, getting tested might become a bigger priority to you.
Keep it in the family
My best guy friend has a Facebook group dedicated to himself. It contains about 80 pictures of his face Photoshopped onto random animals’ bodies, including a unicorn’s, camel’s, hyena’s and Elton John’s. The name of the group is “The Herp Zoo,” and all the animals have been renamed to include some form of “herpes.” My friend basically hates life because of his group’s popularity. Therefore, no matter how funny the story is, don’t go around telling anyone who will listen how you contracted Chlamydia — unless you want the story to spread faster than your infection.
Well, my parent-like lecture is done. When it comes down to it, just don’t be stupid. Keep it safe, keep it sexy, and that’s pretty much all there is to it. Oh, and if you do decide to start a Facebook group dedicated to your best friend’s STD, just don’t let him or her know it’s there.
Libby Peck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.