She Said: Love Responsibly

 

~Sarah Irby, Editor in Chief

Welcome back, Hornets! For the first new issue of “She Said,” I decided to focus on some safe sex tips that first years (and let’s be honest, the rest of us too) can benefit from.

Some of us went to high schools where they gave great sex education, but there are undoubtedly at least a few of us who went to schools that didn’t find importance in teaching teenagers how to engage in sexual activity properly. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you the “abstinence is the only form of birth control that is 100 percent effective” spiel.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of sex going on in college, and not everyone is being smart about it. But do you really want to deal with the consequences of making stupid decisions in that department? This is supposed to be the best time of your life, and diseases and unwanted pregnancies can certainly put a damper on it.

Condom

Illustration by Genevive Griffin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( estimates that half of new sexually transmitted disease, or STD,  infections originate among people our age; we are four times more likely to contract gonorrhea or chlamydia than the rest of the population, and we also have the highest reported cases of HIV/AIDS and syphilis.

There is no lack of contraceptive methods out there, so it is important to know what works for you. Condoms are the only form of birth control that prevent pregnancy and STDs, so it is ideal to use them even if you are using another form of birth control as well. If condoms are used perfectly, they are approximately 98 percent effective, but since we humans tend to mess up, they are closer to 82 percent effective.

Another good thing about condoms is that they’re readily available; you can get them pretty much anywhere, for relatively cheap. You can even get them at our own health center, located in Hundley.

Another form of contraception that is popular, effective and readily available is the pill . Birth control pills are taken every day, and they contain hormones that prevent pregnancy. When used perfectly, they are 99 percent effective, but in reality they are roughly 91 percent efficient.

Remembering to take a pill at the same time every day can be a little tricky sometimes, so it may not be the method for you. However, they do have certain other advantages that one may be interested in—they can help to reduce menstrual cramps and PMS, and they can lighten periods.

You must have a prescription for birth control pills, but that is as simple as making an appointment with our health center. The health center is available for gynecological exams as well.

There are plenty of other contraceptive options in addition to these two most popular forms, including: an implant or an IUD—which are both 99 percent effective—a shot, patches, diaphragms and female condoms, along with others.

It is important to remember that the pull out method is not very effective, and it results in approximately 1 in 4  women getting pregnant. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t really like those odds.

If you do choose this method, or you have an “oops” moment with another form of birth control, you should use emergency contraception, such as Plan B, as a backup solution. It is affective for up to 72 hours after sex. I wouldn’t make a habit of it though because it’s pretty pricey and it can really mess up your monthly cycle

If you’re interested in learning more about contraceptive options, Planned Parenthood ’s website is a wonderful resource, and you can always contact our health center as well.

In college, you’re treated like an adult, so you should take responsibility like one and practice safe sex, both for yourself and for others .

And if my words don’t inspire you, then maybe Lil Wayne’s will: “Safe sex is great sex, better wear a latex, ‘cause you don’t want that late text, that “I think I’m late” text. So wrap it up!”

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