According to a national Planned Parenthood survey, one in every three people between the ages of 16 and 24 will contract a sexually transmitted disease. Because of this, Planned Parenthood educators encourage students to practice safer sex.
Tuesday, as part of the Association for Student Activities Program’s “Sex Week” at CSU, Jo-El Schult, a Planned Parenthood reproductive health educator talked to students about sex in terms of safety, drugs and alcohol, communication, consent and boundaries.
Sixty percent of STDs are contracted by people who have sex either while intoxicated or on drugs, Schult said, adding that both substances severely inhibit a person’s ability to use safer sex practices.
She said in general, alcohol decreases overall arousal and satisfaction.
“If you can only have sex while you’re drunk or on drugs,” said Schult, “you should seriously think about why, and maybe make it a point to not have sex while you’re drinking.”
Schult also said the high rate of STD contraction among teenagers is linked with the fact that many do not practice safe-sex because condoms are uncomfortable and “unsexy,” among other reasons.
According to results from a 2007 nationwide Center for Disease Control study of STDs:
In 2007, 1,108,374 cases of sexually transmitted Chlamydia trachomatis infection were reported to CDC; the largest number of cases ever reported to CDC for any condition. This case count represents an increase of 7.5 percent compared with the rate in 2006.
In 2007, 355,991 cases of gonorrhea were reported in the U.S., the equivalent of a rate of 118.9 cases per a population of100,000. This is little changed from the rate in 2006 of 119.7 cases.
In 2007, 11,466 cases of primary and secondary syphilis were reported to CDC, corresponding to a rate of 3.8 cases per a population of 100,000, a 15 percent increase from 2006. Since 2001, the rate of primary and secondary syphilis has increased 81 percent.
Communication, negotiation, and consent are key when it comes to sex. Too many couples have difficulty communicating when it comes to sex, Schult said, because many are afraid of being considered a bad lover and because discussing sex is a taboo in American culture.
Consenting to sex or other sex acts helps to make both partners more comfortable, she added, saying this process encourages communication between partners as well as setting clear boundaries.
Communicating to your partner the desire to experiment sexually can also be difficult./ The worst time to try expressing desires is in the “heat of the moment” because it creates a lot of pressure for both parties.
A better time to talk is right after sex or in some other more neutral setting, Shult said, suggesting this as a way for both partners to more comfortably describe their likes and dislikes.
Negotiation helps the sex experimentation process because sometimes no matter how much a person wants to try something their partner just will not do it, so the only way for both people to be happy is to compromise a solution.
Performing a less intimidating sex act or trying something else completely can leave both partners satisfied.
“I really like to equate our sexuality with food,” Schult said. Our tastes change over time, which makes it more necessary for us to continually communicate with our partners./ Sometimes ideas change and terms can be re-negotiated.”
All this week, students can attend forums and events that examine various aspects of sex education.
The Hartshorn Health Center sponsors “Pat’s Pleasure Parlor” on the Lory Student Center Plaza every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and provides free condoms, lube and dental dams.
“We really encourage self-body awareness and the ability to negotiate when it comes to sex,” said Deb Morris, the director of health promotion services at Hartshorn Health Center./
/Staff writer Ashley Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.