Stoya Loves Bad Ideas

I’m about to do something that is probably a terrible idea. I’m about to talk about STIs. I’m not a doctor. I am familiar with how things said on the internet are quoted out of context or read without full comprehension. I feel like these things need to be said anyway.

The way that I see it, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis are kind of like Strep Throat for your genitals. They’re all bacteria. They’re all easily cured with antibiotics if caught early. If you don’t catch and treat them early, they can cause serious damage to your body. Untreated Syphilis will eventually eat your brain, and kill you. Strep Throat can progress into Rheumatic Fever, which people used to (possibly still do) die from too. If you have one of these infections, it’s really freaking rude to pass it around. Do you see the parallels here? Sweet.

First let’s talk about catching things early. You’re aware of your throat. You’re aware of how it usually feels when you swallow and how things usually taste. You’re familiar with what your tongue and mouth look like on an average day. You know when something isn’t right. How aware are you of your genitals? Do you know how they usually feel? Do you know which parts are sensitive in which ways, what they look like in their resting and aroused states? If you have a vagina, do you know what goo happens during which parts of your cycle and what the typical texture and taste of these goos is? If you have a penis, I’m sure there’s some kind of equivalent, but I’m not qualified to speak on that. If you’re good friends with your genitals, you’re more likely to notice as soon as something out of the ordinary is going on with them. However, some STIs don’t show symptoms. Some people don’t show symptoms. Sometimes things get overlooked or written off as symptoms of another issue. This is why frequent STI testing is recommended, even if you’re diligently using condoms. Condoms can break, they can slip off, and they only cover part of the genitals. STIs can be transmitted through oral sex. STIs can be transmitted via shared toys, a finger that goes in a vagina and then into your mouth. 

Moving on to how it’s rude to pass it around. If your throat hurts and you feel sick, I’d like to think you’d call out of work. I’d like to think that you’d wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough, and be careful about where you leave your tissues. You might warn people you’ve been in close contact with you’re sick and remind them to drink their orange juice. If it burns when you pee, you have an odd rash, or your genitals smell different than normal, I’d like to think you’d keep them in your pants until they can be assessed by a doctor. I’d like to think you’d immediately tell your sexual partners that they may have been exposed to something. 

This paragraph is kind of random but definitely related: Most sexual education materials seem to have a worst-case scenario approach to what STIs look like and how they present. The most readily available pictures of each disease are, frankly, horrifying, but they don’t stop people from having sex. They don’t even stop people from having unprotected sex with near-strangers they’ve picked up at a bar. I think these worst-case images may actually contribute to an unrealistic feeling of ability to spot someone with an STI. For instance, you meet someone at a nightclub. They seem nice, smart, clean. You take their pants off later and see one small irritated bump. It could be a shaving injury or an ingrown hair. After all, it doesn’t look a thing like the cauliflower-like growths you’ve seen in pictures of HPV and certainly isn’t a blistered mass of angry red sores like the images of HSV2 (genital herpes) you were shown once in 8th grade. You really want to get your dick wet, and they *do* seem nice and clean. Maybe it is just razorburn, or maybe you end up with an incurable viral STI, partially because you were making decisions based on faulty information.

Why don’t we approach sexually transmitted infections the same way that we approach the flu or pinkeye? Why isn’t practical, easily understood information about STIs readily available? Why, in a world where Jenna Jameson is a household name and people can (and do) google up every sexual act imaginable to watch video footage of it, are we still so uncomfortable discussing sexual health?

  1. thatattitude reblogged this from stoya and added:
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  8. devi13 reblogged this from nikkibot3000 and added:
    Here here!
  9. nikkibot3000 reblogged this from stoya and added:
    brilliantly common sense...I’ve ever read
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  12. claralenore reblogged this from stoya and added:
    Dear lord I have been ranting about this forever and Stoya summed up all of my feelings. And incidentally, my father had...
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  15. chaosblackdoom reblogged this from stoya and added:
    Good thing I’m STD/STI free. I actually get tested. =)
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