6 STD Myths Busted
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Do you hear that? That’s the sound of myths getting busted. You will be shocked. Might I suggest you sit down for this one?
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There is such a large amount of incorrect information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) making the rounds within the general population, that it’s not surprising that STDs also are (making the rounds, that is). A little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing. My friend came up to me the other day, suspecting she had caught herpes from her friend while having lunch, as they had shared their food. It’s tough to say how horrified I was to know the kind of things people are living their lives believing. The state of sex education in our country isn’t exactly reassuring, and myths about sex, and STDs, abound.
If you aren’t sure of something in the STD department, or maybe are a little too sure, you might be shocked at what you will read below. Maybe you will realise how close your brushes with STDs have been all these years, when you actually thought you were being careful. Stop testing your luck, and start testing your knowledge.
1. You can avoid STDs by choosing anal or oral sex – Busted. The STD-causing virus or bacteria can enter through the tiniest cuts or scrapes in your mouth and anus, just as they can in your genitals. Some diseases like herpes or genital warts can spread even through skin-to-skin contact with an open infected sore. Bottom line: wherever there is any sexual contact – oral, vaginal, or anal, there are chances of STDs (because they’re called sexually transmitted diseases and not genitally transmitted diseases. Get it?)
2. You can catch an STD from using public restrooms – Yes, just like you can catch diphtheria from doing ballet. *Note: I hope you catch my sarcasm here, thanks. Most pathogens cannot survive for very long outside the body, and for a transmission to occur, the germs would have to make their way to your urethral or genital tract (and it doesn’t just magically happen), or enter the body through a cut or sore on the butt or thighs, which is possible theoretically, but practically, is rarer than rare. Therefore, the only way you could catch an STD from a toilet seat is when you have unsafe sex on a toilet seat.
3. Only ‘slutty’ people get STDs – I hate to break your good-person-bubble here, but STDs don’t discriminate; only humans do. STDs could happen to astronauts or waiters, babysitters or presidents. The only way you cannot be at risk is by not having sex at all, ever. But in case you choose to (which is great), then we suggest using adequate protection.
4. If my partner has an STD, obviously I will see it – Well, unless you have special powers, I doubt you will see anything. Even doctors cannot tell just by looking at a patient, because STDs are often asymptomatic in the beginning; even the patients themselves might not know it. And in some cases, people can carry an infection for an entire lifetime, without having an outbreak. Therefore, only blood tests can precisely diagnose a condition. What we suggest for all couples, in a monogamous relationship or not, is getting regularly tested for STDs, and always using a condom during sex (unless you’re trying to get pregnant).
5. When you have sex in a hot tub or pool, the heat or chlorine will kill any disease-causing germs you could catch, so you stay STD-free – May I please say – HAHAHAHAHA! That is definitely the most scientifically stupid thing I have ever heard. But I’m glad whoever made up this theory tried to put some science behind it. It’s true that both sperm and pathogens can’t stay alive in water for too long, no credits to the pool or hot tub water though; it’s just that both of them cannot survive outside the body. But once sperm has been ejaculated into the vagina, nothing outside can stop the sperm from reaching the egg. So even if we consider that pool chemicals may kill the sperm (or the infection-causing microorganism), that's only if the man ejaculates into the surrounding water. If he were to ejaculate into the woman, then the chances of catching an STD in such a case would be just as much as it would be when they’re having sex anywhere else in the world.
6. 2 condoms are better than 1 – Dear Lord! I wonder who came up with that?! When it comes to condoms, 2 would mean more friction (between the 2 condoms), breakage, and leakage. Which really negates the point of a condom. It is also important to wear a condom during oral sex and anal sex, because even if the male partner hasn’t reached orgasm, there is still ejaculate that is produced, which can spread STDs, or cause unwanted pregnancies.
What did we learn?
That no matter what people tell you, it is important that you use your common sense. Actually, let common sense be. Please do your research, instead of believing in what your friend tells you. When in doubt, use 2 things – advice from a specialist, and a condom.