Fifty Shades of Safe Sex

It’s the latest trilogy taking the world by storm and if you haven’t read them, you’re in for a read that will make a nun blush. What’s that? You ask. It’s E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, a romantica novel that has both men and women unable to put their paperbacks or Kindles down. No spoilers here, just a discussion about why James’ hero, Christian Grey, though quite dark in the bedroom, should be respected for practicing safe sex.

As promised, no spoilers, but suffice it to say this novel is complete of sex and two people doing things some of us have never heard of or would never dream of doing. Thankfully, the novel’s hero, Christian Grey, is savvy enough to know how to protect his sexual health and his partner’s. Having unprotected sex, whether with one or multiple partners, increases your risk of contracting STDs. Aside from abstinence, using condoms correctly and consistently, as Grey does, is the best prevention. And using condoms in conjunction with birth control pills is already better as couples are double protected against unwanted pregnancy and STDs.

Many couples have sex early in their relationships without discussing each other’s sexual histories. Skip this important discussion and you’re really in the dark about who you’re dealing with. The trouble is, many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning they show no signs or symptoms. So your new partner, as attractive as he or she might seem, could be infected with an STD and not already know it. And that night when you all have unprotected sex, he or she infects you and you don’t know for weeks or months that you’re infected either. This is why STDs are spread so easily and why STD testing is so important.

If left untreated, STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility; HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) can cause anal and cervical cancers and progressive syphilis can cause damage to the brain, heart and other organs. If you contract genital herpes, you’ll have the virus the rest of your life. Medicine can only treat its outbreaks. And the trouble with genital herpes is that the virus sheds itself so an infected person doesn’t know when he or she is contagious nor can the infected person guarantee his or her partner that they won’t get infected. Today there nevertheless is no cure for HIV/AIDS either. Medicine can only treat its symptoms.

The only way to know if you have an STD is by STD testing. in addition despite the damage that occurs when left untreated, sexually active people are reluctant to seek STD testing because they don’t have a dominant physician or they are afraid of an embarrassing doctor’s office visit or they don’t want STD test results sent to their health insurance company. With secret online STD testing, testing is done in a lab and your test results are only shared with you. Many are taking advantage of same day STD testing with test results obtainable within 24-72 hours.

If you’ve met your Christian Grey, or your Anastasia Steele, use condoms and get STD testing done regularly. It’s up to you to protect your sexual health. Only by STD testing will you know your STD position so you can get the treatment you need and further prevent the spread of STDs. There’s no grey area here. Use protection. Don’t wait. Get tested.

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