Still sick, but conscious of my readership's reading habits so here I am.
I came across this article just now, and it made me sad and a little angry. The writer suggests in a light-hearted way that the perfect number of sexual partners is ten.
But there is nothing light-hearted about Human Papilloma Virus, sterility and cervical cancer, and as condoms are of limited use against HPV, and male carriers can't be tested for it, the most effective way to avoid it is lifelong virginity or to have just one sexual partner who has had no other sexual partner but you.
That's very bad news for women of my mother's generation and of my generation. My mother's generation was more or less told that they'd be okay if the men they were sleeping with looked clean. My generation was told we'd be okay if we used a condom every time. Your generation of women is (surprise!) now being inoculated with Gardasil at the age of 15, and only heaven as yet knows what the side effects of that will be.
My mother's generation and my generation were lied to about sex and sexual health. We really were. And when I was staying with a friend who was undergoing a horribly painful and damaging experimental treatment for cervical cancer, I felt very very angry at those who lied to us. Fifty years of sexual revolution have resulted in a need for mass inoculation of girls against social disease.
I am also angry at those who put the bad news about sex in small print, who told all sexually active women they had to have regular Pap smears but did not underscore why. We heard so much about AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s. We saw so many pictures of bald, emaciated men dying of it. Why do we not see pictures of bald, emaciated women dying of cervical cancer?
Heath officials used to talk about "social hygiene" and warn women against sleeping around. They didn't suggest condoms as a way to make it safer; they told women to say "No" and came up with schemes to help prostitutes take up another line of work. In short, they offered the best solution to eliminate the risk, not condoms to "reduce" the risk.
And that is my rant. My condolences if in your youth you believed the "safe sex" lie and have lived (or will live) to regret it. I used to roll my eyes around at the "scare them witless" school of chastity education. I still don't think it's in keeping with adult dignity. But what we all deserve are the facts, all the facts, about sexual health so that, Christian, agnostic or Other, our choices will be rooted in reality.
Fact: the fewer people you and your future spouse sleep with, the less likely you are to contract HPV.
Fact: HPV is widespread among sexually active people, be they married or Single.