Stay safe! Busting the STI myths

That’s right; we’re talking safe sex. But before you roll your eyes and say, “yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before”, stay with us. Maybe you haven’t.

We’re all aware of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and infections, sure, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there too that could have dire consequences for your health. But never fear. We wouldn’t let that happen now, would we? Here are a few things you might not have quite right:

STIs and STDs are the same thing

First up, before we start talking about STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), it’s important to understand that they’re actually two very different things. You might have noticed that recently STI is used more than STD and the reason is simple; STIs are always the starting point, but don’t necessarily lead to STDs.

For example, around 90% of women who get infected with HPV don’t exhibit any symptoms and clear the infection within two years, this is an STI and rarely leads to cervical cancer, the STD that HPV can result in.

Sexually transmitted infections can often be symptomless and don’t always lead to the nastier diseases they can cause right away, so if you diagnose an STI early through regular testing you may be able to avoid ever exhibiting symptoms of an STD.

You can’t get an STI from oral sex

You can, and it sucks. Forms of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, HPV and even HIV can be transmitted through oral sex; you can both give and receive an STI from oral. Condoms and dental dams can prevent infections being spread but the best sure-fire way to avoid STIs from oral sex is to make sure both you and your partner have been tested beforehand.

You can’t get an STI if the guy pulls out before climax

If only it were this simple, nope, you still can. Same goes for getting pregnant, FYI.

Once you’ve had an STI you can’t get the same one again

Yep, YOU CAN. This ain’t chicken pox.

STIs will go away on their own

Nope! While they can often be symptomless, this doesn’t mean they aren’t there and waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. The quicker you get rid of them the less chance of long lasting damage. So regular check-ups and treatment as soon as an STI is detected are absolute musts.

STI/STD tests are horrible, painful experiences

You might have heard some horror stories about various objects going *ahem* up things, painful injections and all manner of nasty experiences. But, actually, an STI test is often as simple as urine test. Peeing in a cup can be tricky, but it’s not exactly a horrifying experience is it? As for the other stuff, it’s 2016, going to the doctor doesn’t hurt anymore! These guys know what they’re doing. Plus, nothing they can do to you at the clinic is as bad as what the STI/STDs can do to you.

Wearing two condoms makes you less likely to get an STI

Sounds genius right? NOPE. Wearing two condoms can actually generate more friction, which can cause the condom to rip or tear which can leave you exposed. Best to stick to one. If you’re worried, maybe try extra-safe condoms, they’re much more reliable.

You can get an STI from a toilet seat

This is a terrifying myth. It can’t happen, so don’t worry! There has to be bodily contact (with the exception of needles) for you to get an STI. Oh and for the record, you don’t have to wear your full hazmat suit around anyone with an STI; you’re safe unless you have sex with them!

If someone has an STI, they must be sleeping around

Not true, it only takes one time to catch an STI so that’s no indication of how much sex someone is having. Oh and if someone is having lots of sex, SO WHAT!? As long as they’re being safe, it’s all good.

So there you have it folks, hope we’re all clear! Say safe out there, yeah?

If there’s anything you’re still not sure about, feel free to hit up on @mtvstayingalive or head over to mtvstayingalive.org/blog for more advice!

Condoms: there’s no excuse not to

Let’s talk about The C Word. No, not that C Word. Condoms. For some reason, condom has become a dirty word in some bedrooms, with many people claiming that condoms just take all the fun out of sex.

If, like us, you’re sick of defending that safe sex is the best sex, then fear not; we’ve got you covered. We’ve collected a few of the most popular excuses for abandoning the rubbers, and have the perfect response to anyone who tries to talk you out of using one. And if you still get a ‘no’ then seriously think if you want to be having sex with someone who’s trying to make you take risks you’re not consenting to.

So, hands up if you’ve ever heard one of these before…

“Sex just feels better when we don’t use a condom”

Ah, this old favourite. Chances are we’ve all heard this at some point, and it’s not just men who try it; a girl in this week’s episode of Sex Pod confessed that she prefers the feeling of condom-free bonking.

HOWEVER. This doesn’t have to be the case. A huge number of brands are now making ultra-thin condoms, which promise that they can give you full protection as well as full sensation. The dream combination. Plus, you can concentrate on enjoying sex, not fretting about what’s next, when you know you’ll be both pregnancy AND STI free. We recommend politely directing your partner to the ultra-thin selection at the pharmacy.

 

“I’m definitely clean, you can totally trust me”

“Pics or it didn’t happen.”

While it’s great that your sex partner is proactive enough to be getting regular STI tests (or so they say), you can only take their word for it, and that’s a real risk to take. Because when it comes to some STIs, no matter what anyone says, there are no ways to spot them, without getting tested. But, if you’re determined to commit to condomless sex, why not make a day of it and take a couple’s trip to the local GUM clinic? Testing centres can be very romantic… Plus, then you’ll know for sure.

 

“There just isn’t a condom big enough to fit me”

Have you seen that video where a girl literally fits her ENTIRE LEG into a condom? Just show that to anyone who tries to persuade you that they’re simply blessed with genitalia of such monumental proportion that condom companies don’t know how to handle them. And if they’re still moaning it’s too tight a squeeze, there are a range of specialist sizes out there. But chances are, the only thing about them that’s really a problem size is their ego.

 

“I’ve got a latex allergy”

“Oh no, poor you! That must really affect your ability to use standard dishwashing gloves. Anyway, here’s a non-latex condom. They make those now, you see.”

 

“No one else has ever complained”

WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU. Plus, sex is a private and intimate act between two people, and the only opinions that matter are the opinions of those two people. Previous experience counts for nuthin’.

 

“I’ve got no money”

Penny-savers, rejoice. You can bag free condoms from your local contraception or sexual health clinics, and even from your GP or nurse practitioner, so there’s really no excuse for playing the budget card. Cos a baby – or taking time off work to deal with an ignored STI – is going to be a whole heap more expensive.