Our intern Kristine deGuzman, a junior at UC Berkeley, says she feels like she spent her entire summer discussing birth control and safer sex with her friends. "I guess that's what happens when half of your friends used to be avid churchgoers."
I grew up in a conservative Catholic environment for the great bulk of my existence, all the way from Kindergarten to my senior year in high school. I learned the exact opposite of safe sex--I learned that birth control would kill me, condoms would fail and I would get pregnant, and that abstinence was the only way to save me from the wickedness of sex and the deadly effects of birth control. It seems like, of all my friends, I should be the one with the mental handicap concerning sexual matters. I mean, I had to look up "how to do a ----- " halfway through my freshman year in college. Seriously, I did that.
Yet somehow I've become the sex guru among my friends, and I can't believe how many times I've had to tell them, "No, birth control pills do not fail 90 percent of the time" and, "No, Plan B is not the abortion pill."...
One of my friends at Berkeley isn't on the Pill because her boyfriend doesn't believe in birth control pills. When I asked her why her boyfriend doesn't "believe" in it, she responded, "Well, isn't it true that birth control pills have a high failure rate anyway?"
Apparently her boyfriend seems to think that the Pill is just a lie that women like to share with each other, and women who decide to take the Pill over using condoms are just asking to get pregnant. I tried telling her that the pill is 99 percent effective when taken properly, and she kind of just brushed me off and said, "Nah, that's ok. I'll just stick with condoms, I don't want to risk anything." A few weeks later she called me freaking out that she may have missed her period, as if that wasn't a risk she had taken in refusing to use any back-up means of birth control as a precaution.
I have another friend who was shocked that I had taken Plan B twice in my life and still survived to tell the tale (she really thought it might kill me), but that's probably just because she grew up in the same ultra-conservative Catholic environment that I did, so I don't really hold it against her. Or at least I try not to.
However, there's one friend I have--let's call him Mr. Neanderthal--who takes the cake when it comes to completely failing at safe sex.
I've known Mr. N. for about five years now, and he has never had any qualms about discussing his sexual adventures (and misadventures) with me, often in extremely explicit detail. Needless to say, I know a lot about what he does with his penis. The only thing he won't tell me is how many people he's slept with--probably because he's lost count. But here's something he's completely happy to talk about: the fact that he's never used condoms with any of the girls that he's slept with. When I told him, "Dude. You're, 20, and you're probably going to have a baby one of these days," he merely said, "Nah, I keep talking to the girl until she gets her period, so I'm good." "What about if she doesn't?" "Then I'll just persuade her to get rid of it. I'm a very persuasive person, you know..."
This is his "logic."
Mr. N. also refuses to get tested for any STDs or STIs, though I'm sure with the number of girls he's slept with, he's bound to have encountered one (or some). His policy when it comes to the girls he sleeps with is, "If I can't see anything, then there's nothing there." I told him that was irresponsible, and he merely replied, "You know how they test men? They stick a rod in your penis. I'm not comfortable with that."
You know what else isn't comfortable? Permanent damage to your body because you have untreated STDs. I don't even want to think about what sort of diseases may be festering in the crevices of his penis unbeknownst to him--because numerous STDs can be totally symptom-free, especially in guys. And worst of all, he could be passing those sneaky symptom-free STDs onto all the women he's sleeping with. I don't care how "persuasive" you are, there's just no "getting rid" of some STDs, like herpes. They're life-long house guests.
Now, I was never taught how to take care of myself sexually. My schools were anti-sex and my parents never acknowledged I was even capable of having sex, so I had to research everything on my own--UTIs, testing centers, birth control. There's so much information out there on the Internet about sexual and reproductive health, but unfortunately too many people refuse to educate themselves. They'd rather not know exactly what kind of risks they're taking when they make stupid decisions in bed. Me, I happen to think that education is the best protection there is, especially while Mr. Neanderthals still walk this Earth.
MORE FROM DAILY BEDPOST AND GLAMOUR:
- Advice: Do I Have to Tell a Guy That I'm a Virgin?
Get to your healthiest weight by Summer!
Sign-up now for Body by Glamour-lose inches, get in shape, win prizes, and have fun!
- Top 10 Things You Never Want to Hear After a First Kiss
- Subscribe to Glamour right now and get an exclusive tote bag free!