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Mata
This is just a quick post to start a topic.

When I was growing up during the 1980s we had absolutely terrifying adverts about AIDS on the TV that drilled into our heads that safe sex really was essential. More recently there seem to have been a few more adverts on British TV that highlight more subtle sexual diseases, such as gonorrhoea (the disease that dare not spell its name). By 'subtle' I mean that they can make you infertile but they don't kill you or have obvious symptoms (other than infertility, which is frequently something you find out later in your sex life).

I've always been very keen on safe sex; however, with long-term partners we will usually have a discussion after a while about whether we wish to continue using condoms or not. I tend to have blood tests after I leave a relationship, so I can always say with confidence that I'm not going to pass anything on, and if we are both confident of each-other and my partner uses contraceptives then we stop. I've only been in this situation twice, and I wouldn't consider them to be 'unsafe' sex because we have both evaluated our respective histories or can say through medical tests that we have no infections.

So, I consider safe sex very important, is this something that you are mindful of in relationships too?
Calantyr
Very.

I've only ever had unprotected sex with two people. After the first I got a blood test to make sure I was clear. I still remember what the doctor told me:

"You are completely healthy apart from elevated alcohol levels."

Which made me laugh as I hadn't drunk any alcohol for a few days beforehand. Very odd, no idea it stayed in the system for that long.

The second person I trust completely, I believe she'll tell me if there are any issues.

In short, you really shouldn't chance it. Maybe I was indoctrinated as a wee lad but it's better to be safe and have a risk-free love life than screw up once and bare the consequences for the rest of your life, and risk harming others.
{Gothic Angel}
I'm actually surprised at the thought that anyone would be *unsafe* about sex, but then, I went to a school where safe sex was drummed into us because of the general calibre of the population in my home town. As far as I'm concerned, it goes without saying.
Daria
I expected to read a post of mine I posted last night, but then I remembered that the internets broke inbetween time, and it is still sat in a notepad application on my desktop.

My main point was that the thought of unprotected sex is really quite laughable. I would never think of doing it with someone I didn't know and trust and after we have discussed it at length. But I would go down on someone (and swallow) without the least bit of worry. It is ridiculously hypocritical of me, but until recently the thought that it too could be dangerous never really crossed my mind.
Having said that, being in a relationship for 9 or so (and counting) months tends to put a dampener on the practise of having oral sex with strangers.

Edit- I initially just put "oral with strangers". Yes. Being in a relationship means I don't talk to anyone. >_>
Phyllis
QUOTE (Daria @ Jul 16 2007, 03:45 PM) *
But I would go down on someone (and swallow) without the least bit of worry. It is ridiculously hypocritical of me, but until recently the thought that it too could be dangerous never really crossed my mind.

I vaguely remember having a conversation with a girl in high school who was convinced you couldn't get anything from oral sex...because "it's not real sex." rolleyes.gif She seemed to believe that her vagina was the only way diseases could enter her body.

I don't understand how this girl went to the same school as me and managed to get a B in Health. The sex ed at our school was so comprehensive that when I took a human sexuality course in uni I already knew the majority of the material. I think it's probably similar to GA's in that respect, because if I'm not mistaken we had the highest per capita teen pregnancy rate in the state when I was a teenager (well, there's nothing else to do there...).

Anyway, the infertility threat is so not a motivator for me, but things like cervical cancer and death are. I honestly can't imagine not being safe (except for with a long-term monogamous partner after being tested). I'm far too paranoid...I'd freak out and manage to convince myself that I had the symptoms for every STI I'd ever heard of. rolleyes.gif
Witless
When people say that the sex ed in their UK school is pretty comprehensive I always get a little suprised. The fact that it doesn't really start properly until we get to our teens here makes me think otherwise.

Over in Holland sex ed starts at aged 6 at the latest, and they watch very very explicit videos (by UK standards) explaining how everything works. 9 year olds over there have a game (which I can't remember the name of at this moment) where it is basically a raced to put a condom on to an (not to a poxy banana which I still maintain is very different to putting on the real thing) actual prosthetic penis. Again, that's at 9 yeards old and it's a common game in holland. They additionally teach about homosexuality, about not feeling pressured to have sex when you're not ready about oral sex, the list goes on. This has been going on for a while, the result is that a generation of people getting taught like that, grew up to be parents that are at ease to talk about sexual things with their children so they get everything not only at school but at home reinforced by parents that learnt in the same way.

Holland's a very different place to the UK culturally.. and I'm not saying "be like them" (though the UK could do with a lot more windmills in my opinion.) But my point is that on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is a non existent sexual education and 10 is a full sex ed that starts of at young childhood and ends when you leave school (like other subjects) then The UK definately sits below the mid mark on things. A few biology modules over a couple of years in secondary school does not a sex education make.

A lot of people seem to think teaching sex to the young is like "stealing their innocence and childhood" in someway. In my opinion that's harping back to this ingrained belief that sex is some how dirty and wrong, and the young need to be protected from it (but oddly we don't do this with violence.) But in any event Holland has one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates and STD rates in the world (hoorah for them) and the UK one of the highest in Europe (boo for us). So I'd put forward the counter arguement that the UKs sex ed isn't really all that great at all. It exists in the sense that it's better than it was in UK history, but thorough? Very far from it.
{Gothic Angel}
I had sex ed in years 5 and 6 at my primary school. And in years 7, 9, 10 and 12 as proper "sex ed". Not to mention the emphasis put on safe sex during PSRE (personal, social and religious education) and biology discussions. PLUS we had a whole module about a term long on contraception in year 9. And yes, we put condoms on prosthetic penises, we had class discussions about peer pressure and oral/anal sex, homosexuality the works. In year 5 and 6 we watched some very explicit videos and had a class discussion, and a questions box so if we were embarassed we could ask anonymously.

I'm not being funny, but if you haven't picked up on the idea by then you're either not interested in the first place or terminally stupid tongue.gif (Or have a learning disability, I suppose, but we had a special unit for people with social and mental disabilities in my secondary school anyway).

And this isn't just my school. I know for a fact other secondary schools in the area have a fairly thorough approach, because I have friends who went there and we talked about it. And I did my work experience as a TA in GCSE, and believe me, kids in the local primary schools are learning in years 5 and 6.

I wasn't saying this is in general for the UK either. I'm aware it's pretty much luck of the draw.

edit: (I should really learn to read everything before I respond to one post) As ever, what cand said. And yeah, my home town has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the Thames Valley so maybe it's a case of "FOR GOODNESS SAKE, TRY AND STOP THEM" or something.
Witless
My experience of sex ed was a cold and clinical affair, full of giggling kids when the word penis got mentioned, I can't honestly say it felt like I was talking about sex frankly as much as I was being given a list of facts about sex.

If I honestly think now how much I learned about sex and STDs vs how much I learnt off the back of my own curiosity and talking with friends, then it's no contest. I learnt more about how things work in the real world from conversations with friends without question. I don't mean me and my friends talked about the average life expectancy of a sperm inside a female (incase you wondered, that's 3 days.. but it can be up to a week), I mean about talking about sex in context of the real world.

I believe that would help as much if not more than a mere list of clincal cold facts about sex or even the scare tactic tv adverts with people constantly going into "live in the moment" mode when someone that makes their emotions go all funny enters the room. If I had a penny for every time I heard someone go "I am NOT the type of person that does that kind of thing! You know what I'm like.. but.. that one time I just got so carried away in the moment that..." and etc etc. That's a real life thing that happens to sooo many people. People in the UK generally enter their teens pretty unprepared for that. That is what I mean by sex ed in context.. it can't just be a module in your biology lessons. That's like if religious education was just a module you have every so often in general studies. Or chemistry was a module you have once a year in Physics. It's not really giving you a good picture of the real world in my opinion.
Moosh
I had sex ed in Years 7, 8 and 9 as part of PHSE (Personal, Health and Social Education), by which point they assumed you'd got the idea and started telling you not to do drugs instead.

We covered most things, from the basic mechanics of sex, through STDs, anal/oral, putting on condoms (we also got to do that ourselves, on dildos. Before reading this I honestly thought the thing about people using bananas was a joke.)

And I got the message that I should use a condom etc. In spite of this, there have been a couple of occasions when I haven't practiced safe sex, outside of a long-term monogamous relationship. I've been lucky enough not to catch anything, and I've been for blood checks to check that. I have slept around a fair bit and I consider it a courtesy to prospective partners to ensure I'm disease free. However, having unsafe sex when there is a risk of infection is stupid, and that is one of the many stupid things I've done (have unsafe sex, set my own hair on fire, shave one buttock... the list goes on).

The point of this post? I guess I just wanted to be the only person to own up to doing the stupid thing. (Not that I'm suggesting the rest of you have done it)
Phyllis
I think sex ed in my schools started at about age 10 and was repeated yearly until age 17, as far as mandatory stuff goes. There were some optional electives in high school (like Advanced Health) that included some sex ed as well.

Obviously none of them were UK schools, though. All three were in the US, and my youngest sister (who is just 5 years younger than me) didn't get as much sex ed as I did in high school due to a group parents who complained to the school board (oh noes, the kids will have THE SEX if you tell them it exists!).

We never put condoms on prosthetic penises, though. My health teacher was forbidden (by the local school board or the state, I can't remember which) to show us a real condom. We could see pictures, and we watched our share of explicit videos, but we couldn't see an actual condom.

I don't remember a lot of kids laughing, aside from during the videos we were shown at age 10. In high school I don't actually think there was giggling, though. I wouldn't really call it a clinical experience, either. Aside from the explicit videos, we also watched stuff like And the Band Played On and had guest speakers (people who were HIV positive, teen mothers, etc).

Oh, at my middle school they did try the abstinence-only thing on us once. Not very effectively, I might add. They had a bunch of kids from high school come to talk to us about their decision to wait to have sex until marriage (uh-huh, sure), and one of the school counselors showed us a balloon. She'd blown up the balloon a few days before, and almost all the air had leaked out. This was supposed to demonstrate that we should wait for marriage because obviously condoms aren't effective and will let diseases and sperm slip through. rolleyes.gif Yeah. Right. I pondered raising my hand and asking her if she thought maybe, just maaaybe the air had leaked out through the knot she'd tied, rather than the actual latex of the balloon...but I was even more horrifyingly shy back then. I was also 13 and thought that I actually would wait until marriage ( laugh.gif ), and their little presentation didn't even have me convinced.

It's funny, because the high school I went to was in a much more conservative town. Abstinence was mentioned as an option, but the focus of the sex ed classes was always on how you should protect yourself if you did decide to have sex. It's probably considerably different now, though, if the way it was headed when my sister went there is any indication.

Edit: CM, I would have almost definitely done the stupid thing at age 14, but my nervous stomach saved me. I threw up on the guy's floor instead and then went home. Go team Cand.
Felander
Safe sex is always a concern for me because 99% of the time safe sex = using a condom.

Now, I have a problem when it comes to this in that when using a condom and putting it on, it pulls my foreskin back, resulting in excruciating agony. So, whilst safe sex is ideal, it is often impractical for me.

I'm lucky enough to have a great sex-life with my girlfriend, who uses a contraceptive implant. It does worry me, however, what would happen if it failed.

That all said - whilst safe sex is important to me & my girlfriend, when we first started fooling around, giving head etc, it never entered into my mind to ensure we were both safe. I think a lot of people get caught up in the moment of having sex/about to have sex; the hormones are raging and whatnot and in a lot of cases worrying about contraception is the last thing on people's minds - certainly in the case of oral sex (obviously less so when it comes to vaginal/anal intercourse).
Mata
I've known someone with that issue. He waited until he was 32 to get it fixed. He's now circumcised and far happier because of it! It's a simple procedure and it's improved his life a lot. It's up to you of course, but maybe you should discuss this with your doctor.
Daria
My parents taught me and my two older siblings how sex works, at the same time. I think it was because my sister asked and so they decided it was time to explain things. She was about nine, so my brother was seven and I must have been five. I think we watched a cartoon type film thingy and there were always sex ed. books in our playroom bookcase. I learnt most, though, when my mum became pregnant when I was nine and she showed us all how the baby would form etc etc.
We had some sex ed at primary school- but it was just to do with babies. In highschool we were shown how to put on a condom and about STDs but mainly through the wonderful medium of educational films from the 80s with bad haircuts and even worse acting. STDs were also talked about in biology classes and although we were taught about the pill, the basic stance of our teachers was that condoms were best: they stop you from getting pregnant AND receiving infections (obviously as long as they don't split).
I have a feeling we were also taught not to use Vaseline etc as lube when you're using condoms.

We were never taught about homosexuality or anal sex, though. We were also not given the chance to get free condoms from anywhere, although we were always taught about these amazing places called Family Planning Clinics. Seeing as our school was in a village, probably 35 miles away from any Family Planning Clinic, they could have really done with allowing the school nurse to give out free condoms but that wasn't "approved of" apparently. So our form teacher gave some to us biggrin.gif
I've just remembered something else. If any of the head teachers (either the main one, or the head of upper school/ lower school) found out that you were having sex and you were under 16- even if your partner was also at the same school and you were in a relationship- they would inform your parents. They would also inform your parents if you had counselling from the school councellor.
I'm just going on a bit now, so I'll stop.
Mata
I think my sex education involved a three-foot tall diagram on a chalk board, with a small circle at the top and two medium sized circles beneath it. The lesson I learnt was 'it's the middle one'. That was the only thing that I gained from my sex education classes. It was also an all-boys school, so I was 18 before my first kiss and discovering that women's anatomy didn't resemble the drawing on the board much (porn probably would have been quite informative if I'd bothered to find any).

The best sex education I had was half a page in the back of a men's health magazine (which I partially got because I liked the pictures of buff men!) that had a beginner's guide to clitoral stimulation. That taught me a lot more about sex than school!
Felander
QUOTE (Mata @ Jul 18 2007, 09:18 AM) *
I've known someone with that issue. He waited until he was 32 to get it fixed. He's now circumcised and far happier because of it! It's a simple procedure and it's improved his life a lot. It's up to you of course, but maybe you should discuss this with your doctor.

Cheers for the advice dude.
Sir Psycho Sexy
QUOTE (Mata @ Jul 18 2007, 11:03 PM) *
The best sex education I had was half a page in the back of a men's health magazine (which I partially got because I liked the pictures of buff men!) that had a beginner's guide to clitoral stimulation. That taught me a lot more about sex than school!


Entertainingly enough, I learnt how to find the g-spot while browsing through my housemate's copy of Vogue...or some similar ladies magazine. Very informative it was too!
Calantyr
My sex-ed classes taught me that it's possible to put a condom in your mouth and push it up and out of your nose, only by using your tongue.

That was about it. sad.gif
Mata
It sounds like yours taught you more than mine did. At least you got a party trick!
Museum Girl
UK sex education is crap because every time someone points out that we should really teach the kids how to protect themselves all the self proclaimed moralists jump up and down shouting "but that suggests we condone it." Great, so let them all die of aids instead? Good plan.

It's like the people who argue we shouldn't let all teenagers get the HPV jab at thirteen because "it implies that we think they'll one day have sex, maybe with more than one partner" (I think this was my grans daily mail but not sure, if it wasn't it was a magasine she had). This same article argued that this was different to giving them the measles jab because that "merely implied one day they'd have a baby." How, if it's not implying they'd have sex? Immaculate conception?

Sorry but this subject pisses me off. My parents gave me really good sex education but my schools idea of it was to talk about tampons (I kid you not). Maybe the boys had it better but I doubt it. What my friends learnt they learnt from biology GCSE and some of them came away with the impression that you couldn't get pregnant on your period and that the withdrawel method was reliable. Oh and nice people don't get STD's. Apparently. So no need to use condoms because we're all so middle class.

A lot of people in the UK think that kids won't have sex if we don't tell them how to do it safely for some reason. Another Daily Mail quote is that free condoms and sex ed are the reason we have so many teenage pregnancies, because kids wouldn't have sex at all without them, and it's the condoms failing that cause the pregnancies. Right,of course it is. It's nothing to do with ignorence making kids think they can't get pregnant the first time (because they're fourteen so no ones told them how not to get pregant because they're too young to know), or that they can have sex on their period and it's fine or any of the other myths school think it's immoral to teach us aren't real.
Mata
There is some evidence linking giving out condoms to more teenagers getting pregnant. Apparently it works something like this:

Teen gets given condoms
Teen knows they can have sex safely with condoms
Teen feels safe about having sex
Teen may or may not use condoms
Teen may stop using condoms quite quickly because it's all so unromantic
Teens get STDs and/or pregnant.

Not that unplanned pregnancies are the end of the world, but it's usually not something people are fully equipped to deal with while teenagers, and we're never ready for STDs.

Does this mean that we should stop giving out condoms? No, but it does mean we should have better sex education!
pgrmdave
It's all Henry Ford's fault...
Sky
QUOTE
(anti-condom argument)


And yet somehow ''People would drive REALLY safely if we banned seatbelts!' just doesn't scan.
Mata
Hahaha! Yep, it's not quite the same is it?

Apparently the seatbelt/crash helmet argument is somehow turned into being about civil liberties and the state not telling you what to do. Maybe people have the same irrational response to condoms?
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