The risks of unprotected sex

Sex is an extremely pleasurable activity with the right partner, the right place, and the right position.  When done within the confines of a monogamous relationship, desire combined with this act makes for a more than romantic, memorable evening. When done outside the confines of a monogamous relationship, sex can be an adventurous, memorable experience. Regardless of the occasion, nothing dampens a good time like the consequences of unprotected sex. The risks associated with having unprotected sex are numerous and varied.

Pleasure is at the root of sex, so climaxing becomes the goal in sexual intercourse. Because the goal is ultimately to achieve a climax, people engage in a range of sexual behaviors – behaviors ranging from oral, vaginal, and anal sex to fingering, using sex toys, urinating on their partner, and cutting. Regardless of the type of sexual activity, there is always the risk of pregnancy, or worse yet, contracting one or more of the many sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs/STIs). Simply stated, there is no safe way to have a pleasurable sexual experience without the consequence of pregnancy or STDs looming over those engaged in sex. In fact, every time that there is an exchange of bodily fluids, those risks become a reality. Unprotected sex can result in conditions that are major life-changers.

Sexually transmitted diseases and infections

Engaging in oral, anal, or vaginal sex, in addition to other activities, guarantees the participants exposure to bodily fluids and any STD/STI. Most people are likely to contract anyone of the various sexually transmitted diseases/infections in their teens or as young adults. More than two-thirds of cases of STDs/STDIs occur in people younger than 25. Because many of these diseases have no symptoms, it can be years before the person is tested andtreated for a disease. Even more disconcerting is the fact that many of these STDs/STIs cannot be cured but only managed. Viruses such as HPV (genital warts), HIV, and herpes can only be managed with prescribed medications, and the treatable ones can leave the person with scarring to the reproductive organs. For example, chlamydia and gonorrhea lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women (PID) and epididymo-orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) in men. Both of these conditions can leave individuals infertile. Liver infections such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C make living intolerable.

In preventing STDs/STIs, education and prevention are methods of addressing this issue. The best method of prevention is a non-judgmental sexual educational program teachingthat safe sex begins with the use of a prophylactic (barrier to disease), a dental dam, or male/female condoms. Also important in preventing the spread and contraction of STDs/STIs is getting tested. Those needing STD testing in Austin can find numerous centers operating in the area.

Unplanned pregnancy

Another risk of unprotected sex is unplanned pregnancy. While the rate of unplanned pregnancies has decreased from 2008 to 2011 for all women, 30 percent of teenagers will get pregnant before the age of 20. Twenty-five percent of those teenagers have another child within two years of having the first. Of these young women, more than 50percent do not graduate from high school, and less than two percent obtain a bachelor’s degree. These figures illustrate that the risk of pregnancy is a reality in a progressive society priding itself on educating its youth.

Like STD/STI prevention, avoiding unplanned pregnancy begins witha comprehensive sexual education program that addresses contraception. Probably the most risky, and antiquated, method of preventing unplanned parenthood is the withdrawal method. This method simply involves the man withdrawing his penis from the vagina before ejaculation. This method is not that safe considering that there is always pre-ejaculate on the person’s penis. Women in this day and age can use any number of contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy, including contraceptive injection, patch, or implant and the combined pill. Also, there is always the condom (male and female), which protects against both unplanned pregnancy and STDs/STIs. Of course, abstinence is the only way to completely prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

Much is made about sex, but the reality is that sexuality is a powerful entity, one that greatly impacts the human psyche and wellbeing. The nuts and bolts of it is that sex is like a beautiful paradisesurrounded by a storm. When engaging in behaviors that protect the health and promote sexual responsibility, sex is an enjoyable, worry-free activity that feels like paradise. Conversely, behaviors that expose a person to disease and unwanted pregnancy not only create a storm but also much regret.