Have you ever gotten an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) or had to deal with an unplanned pregnancy? If so, you might have been unaware of the key sexual health principle of protection from STI’s.
This Has Been a Big Problem for a Long Time
Once upon a time there was little, if anything, people could do to protect themselves from STI’s. Then along came infections like gonorrhea and syphilis, along with a huge variety of other infections. Some forms of birth control have been popular through the years, but many people are ignorant about either STI’s or birth control methods, or both. A lot of people contract infections during their adolescent years and may carry the remnants of these diseases with them for the rest of their lives. This is something that Baby Boomers are finding out with Hepatitis C.
The Solution Seems Obvious...and It Is!
If you can’t talk with a relationship partner about protection from STI’s, then you may not be ready to engage in sexual relations with them. There are some ways around this. One that I’ve seen by some very thoughtful women has been to keep condoms in their homes for their partners to use in case the other forgot! If you can’t do something like this, then there needs to be a discussion and agreement on protection from getting a potential STI. If you and your partner can’t agree on this, then the sensible thing to do is to find a way to have sexual relations without exposure to as STI. This can involve some creativity and isn’t something everyone can do easily in the heat of the moment. In that case, there needs to be a conversation about protection. BTW, talking about sexual health is both sexy and courageous!
Another Key Sexual Health Principle That Comes Into Play Here
If you have a conversation about protection and the other party can’t agree to that, then another sexual health principle I’ve spoken about before that is being violated is shared values. And if you and your partner(s) don’t have those in common either, then the best thing to do is call the whole thing off-- in the words of an old popular song. If you go ahead and have sex with the other party or parties without protection and later find out you have an STI, then it probably wasn’t worth it.
The ‘King of Condoms’ is on the Right Track
Anyone who’s seen the video circulated on Facebook recently about a man in Africa who calls himself the ‘King of Condoms’ knows how important the work of preventing HIV in that continent is. He’s a colorful and flamboyant character, but his purpose is very serious. I hope that you will have a serious attitude as well about protecting yourself from potential STI’s. Some individuals may think they are immune from such afflictions, namely adolescents and older adults. However, the rate of HIV among older adults has been a real problem in recent times, and adolescents are very often afflicted with STI’s as well.
My Role as a Therapist
I can help you keep sexual health at the forefront of your consciousness, and help you protect yourself from STI’s in whatever relationships you find yourself in. In my work with men who suffer from compulsive or out-of-control sexual behavior, we talk about this very issue. I work to make it as easy as possible to talk about sexual health principles like this very one. If you want to find out if I can help you in your relationships, feel free to give me a call at 512-374-0100 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer free 45-minute consultations to men who think they may have compulsive or out-of-control sexual behavior. Your sexual health is at least as important as every other part of your life, so I encourage you to take this up as a prime goal in your life whether you choose to get help with it or not!
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults and adolescents of all ages in private practice.