Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself



Just when I am looking to get back in the sexually active saddle a report comes out that sexually transmitted diseases(STD’s) are on the rise in “older people”.  “Older people” meaning anyone over 45 mind you.  A category that I am in by chronological fact but hardly feel a part of in terms of attitudes or physical health.  At any rate, the news SUCKS for someone who enjoys sex and is trying to navigate the dating/mating scene partly to find a suitable sexual partner.

An article published in February of 2012 in BUSINESS & HEALTH, notes that the increase in STD’s in the past ten years is dramatic. One example is the rise in syphilis.  In 2000 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 706 Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 were diagnosed with infectious syphilis. By 2010 2,056 people in that age group had contracted the disease. And that is just one category of STD! AGGGHHH!  The increase rates in other STD’s such as chlamydia and gonorrhea is equally alarming.

Reasons given for the rise in STD’s are high mid-life divorce rates and the availability of partners via online dating services. Some of these older people are children of the ’50’s who have only had one or two sexual partners in their lives and feel that the sole purpose of a condom is to protect one from pregnancy.  If the woman is post-menopausal they feel that they are home free. Of course, I guess that means they have lived in a box for the last 40 years and have ignored the mass of information about prevention of STD’s but whatever.

Another reason provided by an article previously released in TIME in 2008 is that doctors assume that sexual activity has decreased amongst this age group and avoids conversations about STD’s with their “older” patients. (I would be totally offended if my doctor assumed this about me.)

That theory fails to explain the mind set of the behavior, however.  I think that most of these people began their sexual journeys during the sexual revolution of the late ’60’s and ’70’s before the onset of AIDS.  Many women were on “the pill” and fear of pregnancy was at a minimum.  Unprotected sex was the norm and media failed to stress the importance of having a conversation about sex prior to engaging in it.  This age group just didn’t use condoms and now that they are older are not in the habit.

One of the gifts of being vain and completely nuts about my health is that it translates into caution concerning protection against any type of disease.  I dislike condoms as much as anyone, in fact I am too sensitive to laytex to use one.(Yes, I know there are organic options but yuk.)  So I insist on knowing someone well enough and being comfortable enough with them to talk about sexual health and birth control before engaging in ANY sexual activity.  If a man wants to enjoy a sexual experience with me he has to be tested for all types of STD’s first and present me with written proof of a clean bill of health.

I mean, I get why one night stands with some hotty are appealing but at this point in the game the fretting and the worry over my health just isn’t worth it.

Thoughts or theories anyone?

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