Be FUCKing smart about it

Words by Victoria Baikie
Art by Georgia Townley

In the prime of what many are calling the “modern sexual revolution,” the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports more people are being diagnosed with STIs than ever.

People between the ages of 15 and 29 account for 82% of chlamydia reports and 77% of gonorrhoea reports. These results highlight the gap in sexual education that this generation received – or lack thereof. I often find myself having to educate my peers on the complicated ins and outs of safe sex. This necessary knowledge is especially lacking among my private and Catholic educated friends, where the main form of protection taught is the unrealistic expectation of abstinence. Teenagers have a natural tendency to rebel, that’s why it is essential to protect teens with vital information about behaving safely. Put it this way, if we teach teenagers how to start a fire, but not about fire protection or safety, we cannot act surprised when they get burnt.

The common advice put in script from professionals and even school curriculums is to suggest parents bear the brunt of sexual education. This works well when children are young, learning the basics of where children come from, and through the early stages of puberty. But, what about the complicated later stages of teenage hormones? What evidence is there to show that gaps in parents’ educations would be filled when they enter the role of the teacher? The lack of sexual education may become an intergenerational problem if left untouched. Knowing how to have safe sex should not be associated with the stigma that sexual education is promoting sex among teenagers. Sex is inevitable in every person’s life, so trying to limit sexual education ultimately leads individuals to be ignorant on how to protect themselves.

It’s never too late or too early to learn about safe sex, so here are my top tips on how to screw safely:

  1. Always use protection the first time you are sexually active with a new partner. No matter what they say. They may be in the dark about their own sexual health.
  2. Use protection during oral sex. Many STIs can be contracted through skin-on-skin contact. Yeah, we know it doesn’t feel as good.
  3. Don’t kiss someone with a cold sore. A cold sore is a symptom of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and can result in other nasty symptoms such as genital blisters.
  4. Get check-ups regularly. Many STIs show no symptoms and if left untouched, could have serious damage to your fertility.
  5. Be aware of all side effects before taking the contraceptive pill. The pill is great for bad period pains, acne and other pains, as well as protection due to the changes in hormones. But, this contraception is not always suited for everyone. Always read the pamphlet given to you to be in the know of normal and harmful side effects.
  6. Keep track of when you take the pill. The hardest part about taking the contraceptive pill is remembering to take it every day. Yes, every day. If you miss a pill you are not protected for the next 7 days.
  7. You must wait the necessary time before being protected from the pill. Sugar pills taken during your period do not bring any protection to you. Same goes for the initial period when you take the contraceptive pill for the first time, or when switching pills. Give time for your body to get used to the hormones. All information should be given by your doctor, pharmacist or information given inside your pill box.
  8. Do not be afraid of your doctor. They went through 238 years of training to be able to help you. The doctors trip will be much less painful than the any damage done without their treatment.

I find myself repeating these tips often, but they will not protect you 100%. And remember, sexual education is sexy, guys!

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