Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Elise’s Guide to Summer Sexual Safety

The lazy days of summer are upon us. Finally the time to relax, have fun and travel is in full swing. But for many teens and young adults, summer can also be a time to turn off the thinking skills demanded of them during the school year. This week, I want to share with you how to enjoy some summer lovin’ while keeping those thinking skills on.

Stay Focused and Aware

It’s no secret that alcohol lowers inhibitions, and that includes inhibitions about engaging in sexual activity. Although risk taking doesn’t discriminate, alcohol related risk taking is the greatest threat to people ages 18-24. According to a government survey, in 2010, 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 reported having unprotected sex due to alcohol consumption. Having unprotected sex is an activity that shouldn’t be on anyone’s summer-fun list. Failing to use a condom will increase the risk of contracting an STD, as well as increase the risk of pregnancy. But the risks don’t stop there; alcohol consumption increases the risk for sexual assault and date rape as well. 100,000 of those 400,000 students reported that at they were too intoxicated to remember if they consented to sex at least one time. These numbers are shocking. Take every precaution possible to not be part of the statistics. Be smart, be safe and always be in control of your choices.

Safety Tip: When going out this summer always carry a condom and always stick with friends. If you’re around people that care about you, your chances of going through with a bad decision are lower.

Stay Out of the Water

If you’re going on a tropical vacation or simply sitting poolside in the backyard, summer can make couples have the urge to get “adventurous.” Fantasies about making love under a waterfall or having a steamy session in the hot tub may sound wonderful, but the condom sliding off or breaking isn’t quite so romantic. When using a condom for sexual activity in water, any water-based or even natural lubricant will be washed away, making friction a bigger issue. If there is not enough lubricant, the condom is at a greater risk of breaking; making you or your partner at greater risk of contracting an STD or becoming pregnant. In addition, if at any point water seeps in between the condom and the penis (which can happen if the penis loses erection even for a second), the condom could slide off and you may not even be aware of it. So lip-lock in the ocean all you want, but make sure to take it to shore when it gets hot and heavy.

Safety Tip: Using a condom is better than not using one at all. If you and your honey are stranded at sea from a terrible boat crash this summer, take extra precautions: put the condom on outside of the water and use a silicon based lubricant.

Don’t get Lazy

They don’t call it the “lazy days of summer” for nothing. When the weather is hot, it’s easier to make excuses or cancel appointments to go outside instead. In order to stay on top of your sexual health, get to the gynecologist or your family physician sooner rather than later. Get tested and stock up on condoms or birth control pills before you leave for that three week vacation. If you can’t afford protection, your local Planned Parenthood has got you covered, literally.

Safety Tip: Write a to-do list and make getting tested and having protection number one. Cross it off when you’ve done it and then have a safe, fun, memorable summer!

PPRSR Marketing Intern

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