Sex sans regrets

So listen, kiddies: it’s about time we had that talk. Yes, that talk. The dreaded sex talk. The talk your mother squeamishly titled “The Birds and the Bees” (and which turned out to include neither of those creatures). The talk your father avoided completely, leaving you with a stack of vintage Playboys on your bed and a note saying he’d gone to play golf. Yes, boys and girls, it’s time to break out your number two pencils and pull up a chair for this one. I call it “Intro to Safe Boot-Knockin’.” Or, as they say in French, “L’introduction … Knockin’ de Bottes.”

Instruction in the proper use of intimate protection is paramount for your safety and your partner’s. Protection comes in many forms and sizes, and it is up to you to choose the one that best fits your needs and mental competence.

For centuries, the male condom has been the premium choice in intimate protection for couples across the globe. In the beginning the condom consisted of rudimentary materials such as lamb’s intestines and other organic crap, yet those brilliant Trojans slowly evolved the condom into its present state: a thin latex cylinder, coming in a variety of styles and colors and tastes.

With effectiveness in preventing unwanted birth between 85 percent and 98 percent, the lightweight, affordable, and easy to use condom will remain in the male wallet for hundreds of years to come (no pun intended).

Also beneficial is the condom’s ability to prevent disease. If used properly, the condom has been shown to reduce the risk of contacting sexual transmitted diseases for both partners. However, there are several helpful tips one must follow when using the male condom.

In using the condom it is important to select the right size. That means little Johnny shouldn’t buy Magnums (even at the urgings of his rugby teammates).

Secondly, little Johnny must make sure to put the condom on before he engages in any form of sexual activities with his partner. Slip it on immediately, and after your three minutes are up take if off quickly and carefully. Finally, use lubricated condoms, as they will diminish the chance of the condom tearing during intercourse.

Another popular choice (for the females) is the oral contraceptive, aka “the Pill.” With diligent use the effective rate in preventing pregnancy is 99.7 percent.

Also popular is the transdermal contraceptive patch. Placed by the individual on an obscure body part of her choosing, the patch delivers the same hormones as the pill, absorbed through the skin. For those who are prone to forgetfulness, the patch is a smart choice and delivers the same effectiveness as the pill if used correctly.

Another option women are taking advantage of is hormone injections (Depo/Provera). With one shot every three months, this relatively new means of birth control is slowly becoming more popular with women across America. So far documented failure rates are between 3% and 0.3%. More clinical studies are on the way.

So far we’ve outlined some of the more popular forms of contraception. Now it’s time to visit some of the more esoteric forms of birth control.

First up is the female condom. Cumbersome, noisy, and detracting from the overall presentation of the female area, the female condom came to prominence during the early ’90s when famed rapper “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” was caught trying to smuggle 40 grams of cocaine into Mexico hidden in a female condom he told authorities was “his purse” (befuddles me too).

Another option slowly losing favor is the diaphragm. In an interview, the Health Center’s Nurse Carol said she hasn’t seen a diaphragm in her 12 years at Lawrence University.

Finally, there is spermicide. Again, not very effective if used by itself (71 percent – 85 percent effective rate), best if coupled with the proper use of a male condom or other female contraceptive.

Let’s review. Choosing to engage in sexual activity forces one to make an informed decision in choosing a birth control method for the safety of both parties. While the male condom is currently the most popular choice in birth control, the pill and the transdermal patch are becoming exceedingly popular among women across the nation.

It is important to remember that the condom only helps in preventing STDs; it does not eliminate the risk completely.

It is also important to understand what an effectiveness rating means. A 95 percent effectiveness rate, for example, typically means that 5 percent of consistent users will become pregnant within a year. Generally speaking, two forms are better than one – just beware of friction, which can cause tears.

For those worried about pregnancy and disease, the best advice is to abstain from all suspect relations. No one is going to exclude you from watching “Sex and the City” or choose you last for a game of pick-up basketball. It’s an important life decision and saying “no” can be a very powerful and rewarding choice.

I’d like to make one final point as this lecture comes to an end: sex and alcohol don’t mix. It’s that simple. If in doubt, turn on any evening news program or read a few pages in the local newspaper. If still in doubt, take a trip over to the Health Center and have a chat with Nurse Carol. She’ll scare the Grey Goose right out of you.

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