Let’s Talk about Sex, Baby! Go Pee in a Cup!

I know what you’re thinking: what does a twenty-something-year-old know about sex, or sexual health for that matter? And that’s my whole point! What do we know? It wasn’t until my second year of university that I fully comprehended the importance of taking care of my sexual health. 

Sex-ed throughout high school and middle school failed to teach me a lot about sex and my body. I wasn’t even able to label a diagram of the vagina and its various parts after high school sex-ed which was quite concerning considering the fact that I have one. It wasn’t until years later that I could correctly label the diagram. There is no disputing that there are numerous flaws in Ontario’s (and Canada’s as a whole) sexual education curriculum. Sex-ed briefly touched on the different types of sexually-transmitted diseases and infections you could potentially contract; however it never really discussed how you come to the conclusion of finding out that you have an STD or STI. It was painted pretty black and white: some people have them and some people don’t. Well, how do you know if you have one you might ask? Go pee in a cup! 

I sit here writing to you about how you should go pee in a cup when you have the chance because not enough twenty-something-year-olds care about or acknowledge their sexual health and the repercussions that can come with not caring for your reproductive organs properly! 

I want to make it extremely clear that this is not an article intended to discourage sex in any way, shape or form; sex is fun! Whether you want to remain celibate or go out to Stages and Ale, or find a Tinder hook-up and have a one-night stand, go for it! I want to remind you that doing so is perfectly okay, but remember to take care of your body. This goes beyond obtaining proper nutrition, taking care of your mental health, and attending to personal hygiene. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “About 1 in 4 college students have an STD/STI and young adults ages 15-24 account for more than half of new STD diagnoses annually and only about 30 percent of people with the STD show any symptoms, so it's very likely that you could have this STD with no symptoms.” 

Additionally, something many twenty-something-year-olds are unaware of is that not treating an STD/STI can have long term effects on your reproductive health and fertility. For example, according to Sexual Health Ontario, not treating a case of chlamydia can have long-term impacts on fertility. In women, “chlamydia can seriously infect the womb and fallopian tubes which can further develop into Pelvic Inflammatory disease (PID.) PID can cause long-term pelvic pain and affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant. Sometimes, it can lead to miscarriages or an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.” Pretty scary stuff, I know. This is why I urge you to go pee in a cup! It would be heartbreaking to find out years down the line that your reproductive organs have endured irreversible damage and cannot function the way they were intended to.

*It’s also important to note condoms do not necessarily protect from every type of STD/STI nor does peeing in a cup detect every kind of STD/STI. If you are experiencing noticeable discomfort or symptoms down there you may want to consider getting your blood tested (which is another way of testing for STD/STI’s).

Here’s the thing; sex is a regular human practice. No matter your age, stage, sexual identity or orientation, it is important to recognize how to care for your sexual health. Something I have heard numerous times from friends, and even experienced firsthand, is being shamed for going to get tested. I’ve had my fair share of nurses flash me with condescending looks and comments, essentially slut-shaming me. The concept of STD/STI testing should be normalized, not shameful. Caring about your sexual health should not be appalling! It is no different than going to the doctor to get an illness or injury assessed and treated. Moreover, being diagnosed with a sexually-transmitted disease or infection is no different than being diagnosed with a chest infection or any other type of disease. Many of them are spreadable like the common cold, but they are also treated in the same way, with short-term medication (often antibiotics) or long-term medication for incurable diseases. Just because you may be having a health-related problem residing in your reproductive organs doesn’t mean that you did something wrong or shameful.

In conclusion, being tested is not shameful; think of going to get tested as a form of self-care. You are simply going to better your own health and the health of others you may be intimate with. I also pray that you do not have an experience similar to mine or my friends where you are slut-shamed for going to get tested; but if that does happen to you, remember you are taking charge of your health and if people have a problem with that it's on them, not you. Take care of yourself. 

 

Resources

  • Student Wellness Services: STD/STI screening walk-in clinic (urine collection and blood tests) 

https://www.queensu.ca/studentwellness/health-promotion/health-resources/sexual-health/stis

  • Sexual Health Ontario: Find a test center near you

https://sexualhealthontario.ca/en/find-clinic

  • Sexual Health Resource Centre (SHRC): The SHRC is a non-profit service agency which benefits the Queen’s University and Kingston communities, by providing information, support, and referrals to clients, by sponsoring educational events and forums, by disseminating information regarding sex, sexuality, and sexual health. 

http://shrckingston.org

  • KFL&A Public Health: provides walk-in sexual health clinics and testing on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. 

https://www.kflaph.ca/en/clinics-and-classes/Sexual-Health-Clinics.aspx