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January 18

What’s dating like when you have an STD?

Filed under: issues,Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:58 am

Writing at Salon.com, BG’s alterego talks to many brave women to find out. Of course, they shouldn’t have to be so “brave” in order to speak up, but what they speak about — the persistent stigma of STIs, especially for women, despite their breathtaking near-ubiquity — is exactly what otherwise keeps them quiet. (When one woman named Michele worked up the gumption to disclose to a potential partner, he said: “You seem like a very classy girl — I would never have imagined you having that.” Translation: “You slut.” And he was one of the polite ones.)

But! As it turns out, the vast majority of people interviewed in the story — even the expert doctor — wound up finding (a) community among others online, and/or (b) a happy relationship (with someone “sero-negative,” even). In other words, there is life — sex life, love life, LIFE life — after/with an STI. The morals:

1. Get yourself tested. And educated.

2. Use condoms.

3. Manners, people! You don’t know anything about how or why anyone got anything. Don’t judge. Don’t even snicker. You might even have something yourself and not know it. (See #1.)

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December 14

The Schoolhouse Rock of STIs

Filed under: pop culture,Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 2:31 pm

Via BoingBoing and Wired.com (click here for full backstory): a deeply creepy, Triplets-of-Belleville-in-hell 1970s U.S. Navy sex-educational video, slash, “great holiday gift for your sexually reckless and technologically backward friends.”

PSA: Meanwhile, back in non-retro-non-irony-world, syphilis is not just for our boys in ‘Nam. In fact, it’s on the rise. Get yourself tested.

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September 23

Take this sex ed quiz and win awesome prizes!

Filed under: issues,News,Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:41 am

It’s the National Sex Ed Week of Action! Now with PRIZES! (For the first reader who emails me with answers to the quiz below!) But first, a quick true or false:

• The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among the world’s developed nations.

• According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one in four teen girls has a sexually transmitted infection.

• Half of sexually active young people in the U.S. will contract a sexually transmitted infection by age 25.

• Approximately 750,000 teenagers in the United States will become pregnant this year.

• The health care reform bill  included a renewal of $50 million per year funding of abstinence-only education for states until 2014.

This Op-Ed by an Atlanta teen about the importance of comprehensive, accurate sex ed is awesome.

Answer key: TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE.

Which, now that we’re all riled up, brings us to the one with PRIZES! Planned Parenthood of NYC, BG’s local affiliate, is giving away a package of safe-sex goodies to the BG reader who emails me with the correct answers to all five of the following (at least peripherally) sex-ed related questions. Pencils ready?

1. In how many states is it still illegal for an unmarried heterosexual couple to live together?

2. What was the name of the first daytime television show to feature a same sex wedding?

3. What famous female advocate founded the first birth control clinic and later founded Planned Parenthood?

4. Japanese love pillows, which usually decorated with life-size animae characters are called what?

5. What species was the famous gay couple who raised an offspring named Tango together?

(And now, New Yorkers, join the campaign!)

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July 28

Hiding birth control from boyfriends: the video

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:31 am

Serious stuff from BG’s alterego, capeless, on GritTV.

More GRITtv

Further/background reading here.

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August 8

“Take Care Down There!”

Filed under: Treats — posted by Abby @ 2:00 pm

It’s sort of a necessity once you hit the age — you know, the age between “boys/girls have cooties” and “I’m pregnant!” — that your school district (one hopes, anyway) starts flooding the lesson-plan infrastructure with talks about SEX and CONDOMS and VAGINAS. OH MY GOD. (My mom used to call them “pookies,” by the way, so from my childhood on, anytime I met a furry friend or stuffed animal with that name I burst into hysterics. Nobody got it.) Anyway. Planned Parenthood, as you may know, also — especially where schools and other grownups drop the ball — tries to help teens muddle through the skeery, scary world of sex. (Free condoms are part of the deal too, so I’ve heard.)

But have you seen their latest sex-ed videos? Wow, are they not the usual “If you respect me the way I respect me you’ll wait.” They include: a goofy sense of irony, a doofy mustachioed man, and — somehow — the line, “Hey, a horse is a majestic creature!” The allure lies in … well, not Mustache Guy, but in the meta-: the (finally!) successful attempt to bring humor to oodginess and taboo. Win/win: Planned Parenthood gets their message across, and teenagers across the nation sigh deeply with relief knowing that, armed with this knowledge about STIs and more, they can totally tune out their parents.

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August 5

No glove = love?

Filed under: News — posted by Amanda @ 8:00 pm

NPR’s recent on-air essay about sex without condoms has drawn quite a bit of debate. Speaking on the “What’s the New What” series, Oakland teen Pendarvis Harshaw reported that for his peers these days, forgoing condoms “signifies taking monogamy to a new level” — one where “partners are required to trust each other completely.”

Harshaw called this Commitment 2.0 “the new engagement ring.” Several commenters on the story agreed that in an age where people choose to get married later in life, or not at all, this step is an unspoken strengthening of an already serious and monogamous relationship. Harshaw — since you’re wondering, slash, getting nervous — urges that both partners get tested for STIs and use other methods of birth control.

(more…)

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July 10

Sex ed for grownups?

Filed under: News — posted by Mary @ 10:58 am

When it comes to sex smarts, the youngish generation has — at least in theory — an advantage. We come from the school of sex ed that — never mind the condoms passed out like candy and the environmentally evil towers of pamphlets — scared the living crap out of us with horrifyingly explicit medical details and threat of death by French kiss.

So at least we came out with bit of a clue. But (never mind these folks) what about those who went before? A new study has revealed that the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among those over 45 more than doubled in less than a decade. Genital warts was most commonly diagnosed; men in general and people between the ages of 55 and 59 were significantly more likely to have an STI than anyone else.

Experts say that once you’re beyond fearing pregnancy (or so you might think) it’s easy to forget that you need protection for, you know, other stuff. They also stress the importance of equating sexual health only with young people.

“The almost exclusive focus on the sexual health of young people has tended to ignore older age groups, who are also at risk,” say the study’s authors. “Programmes aimed at preventing sexually transmitted infections should be tailored toward different age groups and do more to dispel myths and assumptions about the level of sexual activity among older age groups.”

Hey, this other new study shouldn’t hurt either.

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June 13

Teen love waits?

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:37 am

Who knew? Turns out virginity pledges may not be as counterproductive as previously believed, IF we consider such survey results reliable. But no matter who’s pledging what and for how long, here — in the report from USA Today — is the kicker, from the study’s lead author, psychologist Steven Martino of Pittsburgh: “[T]hat’s not to say virginity pledges should substitute for comprehensive sex education, because a majority of teens do have sex…even among teens who take virginity pledges.”

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May 22

The rainbow party’s over

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:36 am

Via Broadsheet:

You know how teens have oral (or, wow, anal) sex instead of SEX sex in order to maintain that they are “technical” virgins? (As in, “I did not have sex with that hockey player”?)

Well, turns out the grown-ups had it wrong. Again.

(more…)

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March 12

STI 911

Filed under: Advice,News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 3:47 pm

Via BG’s alter ego at Broadsheet:

Hey, kids, how’s that abstinence-only sex ed going for you? The answer, if you ask the grown-ups, often has to do with how many teens simply don’t abstain and how many get pregnant (PDF) as a result. But the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remind us that there are other consequences to sexual cluelessness, and right now, they’re pretty darn dire. That is, the first study of its kind on this demographic has revealed that one in four American girls has a sexually transmitted infection. At least one STI, actually. Mostly HPV (which can cause cervical cancer), then chlamydia (linked to infertility), plus herpes simplex and trichomoniasis. Nearly half the black teens surveyed had an STI, compared with 20 percent among both whites and Mexican-American teens.

Man. Be careful, you guys! Don’t think you can’t get something because it’s your first time, or because you used a condom (HPV can be wilier than that), or because you just, like, think you can’t. I’m certainly not trying to perpetuate the ridiculous — but still deeply hurtful — stigma associated with STIs. But these things can harsh your mellow, cramp your dating style, and, in some cases, compromise your health down the road. Get checked (some STIs are asymptomatic), take precautions (less than 100 percent effective in certain cases is way better than nothing, which is ZERO percent effective), and while you’re at it, lobby for your state to join the 17 others that have refused funding for abstinence-only education (which, you see, has also been less than 100 percent effective).

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