What You Should Know About Sex

SEX SEX SEX. It’s a topic that – to be honest – is not talked about enough. It's only viewed as taboo except for a married Adam and Eve but truthfully everyone does it. Birds, bees, Adam and Steve … even Abby and Eve do it. It’s a part of nature. But with sex comes consequences: Consequences that not a lot of people are fully aware of.

I don't know about you but bedroom talk never consists of asking the person I'm about to do the deed with about their sexual history. How does one casually ask a person:

"When was the last time you had sex?"

"Did you use protection?"

"Was protected oral involved?"

"When was the last time you were tested?"

"What were your test results?"

Not a big turn on.

I didn't realize how uneducated the public was on the topic of sex until my roommates stopped me every five seconds during one of my rants because they had no clue about the consequences. The top consequence everyone is aware of is, of course, pregnancy. But that can be taken care of; it's not a permanent problem. That's not the consequence so many young Americans are unaware of. It’s STDs and STIs. Well, I'm here to give you the 411 on the topic.

Let's start with the difference between STIs and STDs. These are diseases or infections that can be passed on through sexual contact. (Yes, yeast infections do fall under this category even though you can also contract it for nonsexual acts.) STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infections. These are curable with an antibiotic whether it's in the form of a pill or the form of a shot. Common STIs are chlamydia, crabs (which microscopically look like crabs), gonorrhea, and Syphilis. All are easily curable if found at the right time and properly treated.

Leaving Syphilis untreated can cause it to spread to your brain and ultimately lead to brain damage and death. Chlamydia can lead to infertility if left untreated and can cause miscarriages if contracted while pregnant. Gonorrhea is starting to getting harder and harder to cure as it becomes resistant to antibiotics.

STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease. These are easily treated but not cured. Common STDs are herpes, HIV/AIDS, HPV and hepatitis B. However, hepatitis B and HPV can be prevented through vaccines.

Though there are two different ways to call them, the most common umbrella term is STD regardless if they're curable or not.How do you know if you have something?

GET TESTED. I cannot stress this enough. Regardless if you're sexually active with someone or not, get tested, especially if you've had partners in the past. STDs could take months to show symptoms or even test positive. It’s an important rule to get tested every three partners or every partner (better safe than sorry) if you're not monogamous with one person. Or get tested every three months if you are. If you do test positive, tell your previous partners that they may have it and should get tested.

How do you prevent getting them?

The easiest way is to refrain from sex. If you can't do that, CONDOMS CONDOMS CONDOMS. There are so many different types of condoms out there. Latex is the most common and proven way to protect against most STDs/STIs out there. There are also female condoms, which are more durable than male condoms and I highly recommend using. (When using a female condom do not use a male condom as well. It's not needed and the extra friction will cause them both to break.) There are also dental dams, which are used when performing oral on a female, and flavored condoms when performing oral on a male.

It is important when being sexually active to always protect yourself and disclose any information about your sexual history to your partners. IF you have a disease and fail to tell anyone your planning on doing the dirty with, it is considered a federal crime and you will go to jail if they happen to contract the disease. If you can't do that, well, maybe you shouldn't have sex.

So next time you're about to do the deed with someone, ask about the last time they were tested. Maybe even exchange test results. Sure it'll be awkward for a good five minutes but I'd rather have an awkward five minutes beforehand than a lifetime disease.