I’ve come to believe there is some sort of electric energy field surrounding me at all times. I’m like a snazzy Pigpen. Upon entering into this black hole vicinity, people’s mouths undergo a radical quaking syndrome some might refer to as “loose tongue.”
That’s not nearly as erotic as it sounds (or as I’d like it to be). There can be no other excuse for the borderline vulgar honesty that ralphs past their lips without fear of social consequence. Poor souls. They never had a chance.
I’ve been worried of late that my column-induced gravity is spreading. The other night, on the way home from wherever, I am caught profiler-style in a conversation going on across the street. In a tourettes-esque episode, the man blurts, “So I pray to God, don’t let me give Rachel any STDs or get her pregnant.”
His friend replies, “Well which would be worse, pregnant or sexually transmitted diseases?”
“Oh pregnant, of course. You can get rid of STDs much easier.”
My brow furrows. ‘Great, now I’m picking up verbal diarrhea from other channels. My sonar is on the blink,’ I think. This is followed by my in-depth reflection on this commentary that has lasted up to this very moment.
That these two very serious consequences of intercourse were thrown about so matter-of-factly made me uncomfortable. That doesn’t happen a whole lot. I could curl up on a bed of nails wrapped in poisonous snake pajamas and still sleep soundly. This little audio clip, however, really made me squeamish.
Our generation enjoys a very matured sexual liberation. I would argue that there is more acceptance of previously ‘wrong,’ ‘sacrilegious’ and ‘non-hegemonic’ situations now than ever before. At the very least, sex is more talked about. So, I’m glad I heard this little tidbit.
I’m all about being liberal when it comes to the birds and the bees. I just don’t think that excuses being irresponsible with your partner(s) or with yourself. Sending out a prayer that your girlfriend will be exempt from syphilis and the stork is a far cry from taking care of it yourself. Further, referring to a pregnancy as something that one can “get rid of” makes it seem like a more complex version of the flu than a baby.
This isn’t me going on a pro-life/choice tirade. I don’t have enough time this week to respond to e-mails. I will say, however, that in the age of Paris Hilton bar-hopping glamour and morning-after apathy, there should be some voice of liability.
As someone who gravitates toward chaos with wreckless abandon, I’m going to assume I’m not the only one who needs a spoon-feeding of reality once in a while. As my good deed of the decade, I’ve compiled some very unbecoming statistics about college students who are sexually active. It is my hope that you are encouraged to think more seriously about the magnitude of being sexually active.
According to the report by National College Health Assessment, conducted in 2001, 2 percent of students reported being involved in an unintentional pregnancy. If 2 percent of Temple’s undergrad students were held to these statistics, 711 of Temple’s 34,000 students would be involved in an unintentional pregnancy.
Also according to this survey, 21 percent of college men and 11 percent of college women have had four or more total sexual partners. This made me breathe a little easier. Those numbers seemed low. Then I read a chart hanging in the Temple Health Services office that referenced sleeping with your partner’s partners. In stick figure tally form, it showed a person’s total exposure, direct and indirect, to other people through intercourse if the partner has had the same number of partners. Confusing, I know. For example, if you are a virgin and you sleep with a virgin, you have only been exposed to one person (your partner). If you are a virgin and you sleep with someone who had had 17 partners, you’ve been directly exposed to one person and indirectly exposed to 17 people, totaling 18 people.
If you have had one partner and your current partner has had one partner, you’ve been exposed to three people (your first partner, your current partner and his/her former partner). This is an easy number for you to figure out. Just multiply your total partners by that number (example, if you’ve had five and all of those partners have had the same number of partners, that is 5 x 5 = 25).
Then, add the original number (five) to that total and you have your exposure. If you have had five partners and all of those partners have had exactly that many, you’ve indirectly slept with 30 people (see image on page 8). If you’ve had 10 partners, and they’ve each had 10 partners, then you’ve slept with 110 people. And, what if some of them outdid you and dipped in more than their share …
Now let’s imagine one of those people has an STD and fails to be responsible about it. There’s always a bad apple. Just think how much more likely you are to be infected if you aren’t responsible for yourself and your current partner. The saying, “you’re not just sleeping with your partner, you’re sleeping with your partner’s partners” holds a little more weight.
Finally, according to texlife.org, sexually active people under age 25, the group that includes most college students, accounts for 63 percent of all sexually transmitted disease cases. And AIDS is the cause of more deaths among Americans aged 25 to 44 than any other source.
Each year, there are 134,000 new syphilis infections, 1.3 million gonorrhea cases and an amazing 24 million new cases of human papilloma virus, or HPV, in America. There is no cure for the latter.
Your best move is to be educated. If you want to bar hop and bed hop, that’s your cup of Hot Toddy. Just make sure you do your homework beforehand. If you don’t, don’t come crying to me about it. I’m on my way to get some ear plugs and counter this loose tongue pandemic.
Nadia Stadnycki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.