I decided to write on something serious today because as much as I love talking about the fun side of sex, the reality is that it can have a not-so-fun side, and that is the topic of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). People seem to turn the other way and act like they don't exist or it could never happen to them. I get it. It's uncomfortable. Embarrassing. Stigmatizing. Life-changing.
Here are six of the most common myths that I have come to find about STDs:
Myth #1: "I won't catch anything if my partner or me wears a condom."
Ummmmm... not exactly. A condom only covers the penis (or inside of the vagina if you use a female condom) and there is still much skin that is left exposed. Infections can be transmitted through bodily fluids (blood, vaginal fluid or semen) and the shedding of the skin or sores, as in the case of herpes, HIV or syphilis. Genital warts, which is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (aka HPV) can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
You can have your partner put on the whole box of condoms for one %&$# session if you'd like, but that's not going to protect you 100% from contracting an STD
Myth #2: "Only promiscuous people gets STDs."
ONE TIME! That's all that it takes! A virgin who has had sex for the very first time can catch an STD if his/her partner is infected! STDs do not discriminate between fat or thin, rich or poor, or black or white. Though people who have more sexual partners have a higher chance of catching one, that does not mean that they are guaranteed to get one. There are monogamous couples who get STDs from previous sexual partners before they got into their relationship and might not find out until they get blood tested or have symptoms that show up years later.
Myth #3: "I have no symptoms, so that means I don't have anything."
Viruses are sneaky little suckers. They can lie dormant in your body and show no symptoms until your immune system becomes suppressed (such as through stress, poor diet or lack of sleep) and even then, it still may not show up! According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 1.2 million people in the United States infected with HIV and one in eight don't even know it because they do not have any symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to take a blood test.
A blood test will show if you have the antibodies for a particular virus and if you do, then that means you have the virus.
Myth #4: "I can't get STDs from giving or receiving oral sex."
STDs love warm and wet environments. A mouth is a warm and wet environment, so therefore you have just as high a chance to get an STD as you would through other warm and wet environments in other parts of your body, such as the vagina or anus.
Myth #5: "It's just a yeast infection/pimple."
While symptoms of a yeast infection or pimple can include swelling, itching and unusual discharge or pus, if the symptoms worsen within a few days, you should see a doctor as it may possibly be an STD. (For more info on women's health in relation to STDs, read 10 Ways STDs Impact Women Differently from Men from the CDC)
What may seem like the occasional yeast infection, may be a bacterial or viral STI. See a doctor if symptoms get worse.
Myth #6: "Even if I get one, I'll just go to the doctor, pop a pill, and It'll be gone!"
Not really. There are two types of STDs: Viral and bacterial. Viral infections are not curable (at least not as of yet) such as Herpes, HIV, HPV and Hepatitis A, B, and C. Your body creates antibodies for these viruses and with the exception of HIV, which kill the antibodies that the immune system makes to fight it, the virus will remain dormant in your body for the rest your life. Bacterial infections apparently are not all curable by an antibiotics anymore, with the growing rate of antibiotic resistant strains of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia.
Antibiotics may work to cure some STDs, but not all.
I hope I didn't just traumatize you and make you promise yourself that you will never have sex again. SEX IS AWESOME! It is our human right and nature to love doing it! It is just a matter of being smart with whom we share our bodies with.
I do have to say though, this is one of the BIGGEST reasons why I LOVE vibrators so much! They keep you STD worry-free!
Get tested, be open about your sexual history with whoever you're intimate with, use protection and I say all that to say: BE SMART AND HAVE FUN!!!
What are some other myths that you have heard about STDs?
Leave a comment below! :)