Greetings all, remixyourhealth fans! My name is Charla Blumell and I hope we are about to begin a tour of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. Mostly sex though!!! Currently I am a health educator at East Carolina University, located in the eastern part of North Carolina. I have taught at the university since 2003, and absolutely love it. I also received my Masters in Health Education from ECU. My passion in health stems from alcohol and drug studies, but more notably human sexuality. I have co-taught a human sexuality course for almost eight years and with a 150 students a semester there is never a dull moment. I also teach an introductory health course required for all ECU students. In my personal life I am pursuing a doctorate at North Carolina State University in Adult Education.
Now back to sex…human sexuality is shrouded in misinformation, bias and a lack of an appropriate language, these reasons amongst others make it difficult to discuss. To address our language issues when it comes to sex, I believe that started in childhood. We have the “cutsie” names our parents taught us for genitalia, then we have the more graphic terms expressed by our peers and finally we have mature stage names such as intercourse, ejaculation etc used in textbooks and other formal venues. Some people were taught the appropriate terms for genitalia as children, but I am sure many of us can relate to hearing the terms “private parts”, “lucy” or “peter”. Lucy and Peter never had a chance.
The instructor in me knows it is better to use the mature stage names, and we should become more comfortable with the terms. However, if our parents did not use these terms we may not make the connection. Also, the regular person (non-teaching everyday gal…having a dirty martini with my friends) in me knows the more colorful, graphic terms have a place as well. As adults we all have to decide if and when to use those more colorful words. This lack of an appropriate language lends itself to the many myths about sex, and misconceptions as well.
Some of the biggest myths about sex are centered on sexual transmitted infections…the not so fun part of sex. Here are some I have discovered particularly related to college students;
- Only dirty people get STI’s.
- In general as humans we are not attracted to other people who appear not to be groomed or what we perceive as “dirty”. Therefore, attractiveness or lack thereof has nothing to do with about half of all new STI cases occurring in people age 15-24.
- Only people who have casual sex get STI’s.
- 12 million Americans contract an STI every year, these STI’s come from loving, monogamous relationships, one stands and everything in between. STI’s do not pass moral judgment; if one partner is infected they can pass the STI along.
- In a monogamous relationship, a STI diagnosis means someone cheated.
3. Infidelity is possible, but understanding that many STI’s are asymptomatic (having no symptoms) could save your relationship from unfounded accusations and hurt. Viruses especially can remain dormant in the body for weeks, years or lifetime with no signs or symptoms. Therefore, being tested at least once a year as a sexually active person is a good rule of thumb. Also having honest, open and frank conversations about sex in your relationships makes a world of difference. Lastly, using condoms and other protective barrier methods reduces your risk to exposure significantly.
Other sex myths I have heard from college students; adopted from the Intro to Sex Lecture taught by other colleagues and myself
- A female can get pregnant by kissing, swallowing ejaculate, and/or engaging in anal sex.
– Anatomically impossible.
- A female can NOT get pregnant if she is on top, upside down, or standing up during sex; if she has sex in water; if she is on her period; if she jumps up and down after sex; if she “stands” on her head after sex; or if she pees after sex.
– Both intercourse position and post-intercourse “acrobatics” has NO relevance to pregnancy risk.
– Urinating after sex may reduce your risk of infection, NOT pregnancy.
- The pull-out method is an effective form of birth control.
– 24 is the number of women who become pregnant accidentally by the end of the first year of using the pull out method (out of 100).
- Saran wrap is as effective as a condom.
– Non-microwavable Saran Wrap may be used as a dental dam during oral sex (on a female) or oral-anal sex (on a male or female) only. Microwavable types are more likely to tear.
- You can NOT get pregnant the first time you have sex.
– Sperm and the egg cannot differentiate whether or not you are a virgin.
- The bigger the better!
– The average vaginal canal is approximately 4-5 inches long during excitement, with the first half being the most sensitive.
The aforementioned are common issues and concerns of college students. Most of these issues go back to miscommunication and not making well informed decisions regarding sex. If someone is good enough to have sex with they should be good enough to have a conversation with. In American culture unfortunately we are good (well maybe ok) at having sex, but absolutely horrible at talking about it. Furthermore, what we don’t know about sex we make up…ever heard someone say “HIV/AIDS is in humans because someone was having sex with a monkey”. Have you seen animal planet or been to the zoo. These primates are not interested in humans and surely are not going to allow us to have sex with them. It is our responsibility to get accurate information regarding sex and relationships then we must use what we have learned to educate our partners, friends and family. Human beings are sexual creatures, and yes the majority of us will have sex one day (unless you’re going into the priesthood or a convent, don’t get me started on that) therefore being armed with accurate tools will help us all make better choices.
Good places to start your sex research:
These are just a few places to answer your questions about STI’s, birth control, orientation and whole host of human sexuality topics. Remember if you are currently in school do not hesitate to talk to health education professional on your campus, like a health education professor, medical doctor or therapist in the counseling center. If you’re not in school do your own research and if the answer still isn’t clear, make an appointment to see a healthcare professional.
So this was just a little about me, and what I have heard, seen and a little of what I know. My question to you is what about sex do you want to chat about or have more discussion on…I am open book so let’s talk about sex…THE GOOD, THE BETTER AND THE BEST STILL TO COME!!!