Ever wondered how the hit HBO show “Sex and the City” ran for six years with only a few passing nods to important sexual health topics such as birth control, HIV testing, or abortion? Despite an endless supply of Sunday brunch banter about the sexual lives and partners of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and especially Samantha, hardly a word was mentioned about these topics. And lest we think this is a primarily heterosexual media phenomena, the same goes for the group of women who partner primarily with women on Showtime’s popular series “The L Word”.
Ok, maybe you’ve never found yourself lying awake at night wondering about this because…..
1. You watch these shows for their entertainment value and not to get a lesson on what to talk to your doctor about.
2. You’re not as unabashedly focused on sexual health as I am. Who knew you could be a sexual health nerd, right?
But really, even if you haven’t even watched the show, it’s not hard to imagine how shows and movies head straight to the good stuff about sex and conveniently leave out everything else. Most people wouldn’t consider it “sexy” to talk about your preferred method of birth control or going to get an STI test, right?
Well I’m here to argue the opposite, seeing as April is STD Awareness Month. Whoever wrote it in stone that discussing sexual health issues with a potential partner had to be un-sexy or kill the mood? In fact, talking about your sexual past, STD testing, and how you want to protect yourself can be the sexiest conversation to have with a partner. When you know that you are protecting yourself from STDs and/or pregnancy, you and your partner(s) can be more relaxed and free to focus on the experience.
The conversations you have with your partner and your health care provider and the actions you take to protect yourself might even save your fertility, or your life. That’s because the CDC estimates that 1 in 2 sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25. Unfortunately most of these people won’t have any symptoms, which is why it is so important to get tested regularly. You can find lots of great information about sexually transmitted infections/diseases at http://www.cdc.gov/std/general/default.htm.
For more information on testing, visit the website for “Get Yourself Tested” (GYT) and check out their answers to frequently asked questions.
You can also check out the Campus Health website at www.campushealth.unc.edu for information on testing here at UNC. It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive. (And guess what gentlemen? No scary swabs here. All you have to do is pee in a cup.) You can also check out your local health department for free, confidential testing. In Chapel Hill, call 919 – 968 – 2022 for a same or next-day appointment!
So what are you waiting for? Next time you find yourself at that Sunday morning brunch talking about everything else under the sun, ask your friends or partner about getting tested.