COLUMN: Getting down with sex education

The Runner Staff

 We grow up learning about the birds and the bees, and we go through middle school and high school sex education classes that don’t teach you anything you need to know.
 Most people don’t like the thought of going to the doctor for an annual physical, let alone a sexually transmitted disease test. But there are ways to make it easier and more fun for you and your partner.
 The Health Center at CSU Bakersfield provides plenty of services for students, which includes STI testing.
 Lauren Ash-Anderson, health educator at the Health Center, says the most popular STIs right now are gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
  Symptoms for most STIs can take up to seven days to appear, or there is a chance that a symptom will not show up.
  Men and women experience different signs of a disease and if left untreated it can lead to infertility.
  Vaginal and anal sex aren’t the only ways to obtain an STI. You can transfer diseases through oral sex as well.
  “When we have surveys, we’ve asked if they’re using condoms for oral sex and a lot of the times we see that they aren’t,” said Ash-Anderson.
  The biggest mistake a person can make when it comes to an STI is not getting tested. Whether you practice safe sex or not, STIs can be transmitted.
  Try to refrain from someone if there are any signs of bumps or symptoms, like thick, yellow or white discharge, blisters, or cold sores.
  Having the “talk” before you have sex could kill the moment, but always be sure to ask about your partner’s history and if they have any current or former diseases.
 “If you’re comfortable enough to have sex with someone, you should be comfortable enough to ask about their history,” said Ash-Anderson.
 There’s more to sex education than just STIs, but also getting the consent from your partner to go forward with the action.
 Getting consent isn’t only the verbally confirmation, but the physical action of your partner feeling comfortable enough to continue. If someone agreed to have sex, but starts to act uninterested then it’s not a good idea to continue. Or ask if they are sure about it before continuing.
 “I’ve learned from my sexual experiences that you’re in control. Never have someone pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. You don’t have to do what they want,” said Tweety-bird, 21-year-old English major.
  Alcohol also plays a role in consent. Being drunk or passed out means you are not able to have sex and give consent.
  Consent can be revoked at any time, even if they agreed to sex and gave consent in the beginning.
  Condoms not only protect you from STIs, but from pregnancy as well. Although they aren’t 100 percent effective in protecting you from those two things, it still lowers your chances of contracting any diseases.
  Birth control is another option to prevent pregnancy. It comes in many different forms, like a sponge, patch, ring, pills, shot, and an implant.
  Just like birth control, men with penises use condoms as a method for safe sex.
  Though men constantly tell women condoms are discomforting, they’re as effective and cost efficient to protect your partners from sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
  Before anyone decides to dive into the sheets, remember the consequences that come along with bumping uglies.