The facts about sex: Keeping it safe

By Beth Ann Conahan
October 4, 2001

Sex is on television, movies, magazines and posters on dorm room walls. Sex is not the taboo subject our grandparents blushed and whispered a reference to.

Sex seems as common to a society where 75-percent of their twelth graders have lost their virginity as playing a video game. With sexual curiosity comes sexual responsibility.

Sexually Transmitted Infections, STIs

Sexually Transmitted Infections, or STIs, are among the top infections that occur in this country today. According to Planned Parenthood, people between the ages of 18 and 44 underestimate their risks for such infections for two reasons. One, many times the symptoms are asympomatic and they won’t even see the signs. And two, there is still some socially placed stigma about talking about sex and STIs. There is an estimated 15 million new cases of incurable STI’s reported in this country each year, that puts us ahead of any other developed country and ahead of some developing countries.

How can people prevent the spread of these infections? Donna Stoll Deleo, RN, MSN, recommends abstinence but understands that many students don’t practice it. She hopes that sexually active students are using condoms to prevent the spread or contraction of HIV, AIDS, or another infection.

Freshman Brian Feice sees young Catholics like himself looking at sex more openly than they ever have before. He doesn’t think many young people are waiting until marriage anymore and thinks “its important to practice safe sex.”

Cabrini College does not officially have a place where students can get condoms on-campus. Feice believes condoms should be made available on-campus to promote responsible decisions.

Deleo understands that as a Catholic college it is not the school’s responsibility to recommend or supply condoms to its students. But she worries about freshmen that do not have cars to go off-campus and buy their own. She stressed the importance of remaining healthy and smart about sex and promotes continued education on the subject.

Holly McCloskey, a sophomore, thinks that the decision to not supply condoms on-campus was the right one. “It keeps it safer,” she said. She believes that having condoms readily available to students would be an invitation to have sex. She thinks that as a Catholic college it is the school’s responsibility to recommend abstinence.

Junior Dana Derose thinks it is important that information on where students can get birth control should be available and recognizes the importance of the school’s counselors and PEER educators. Derose thinks many students “might want someone to talk to about it before they make a decision.

Date Rape

One in three women and one in five men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. 66 to 88-percent of victims know their offender. 64-percent of rapes and 80-percent of attempted rapes are never reported to the police. 62-percent of rape victims knew their assailants.

The statistics are grim. The relationship between sexual assault and alcohol is just as dim. 74-percent of rapists and 55-percent of the victims were drinking or using drugs prior to the assault. reported 1,842 forcible sexual offenses in 1999. To keep safe, students should know their limits, what they are willing and not willing to do on a date. Communicate your limits and be assertive. Don’t drink or use drugs. They interfere with a person’s ability to decide what they really want. Trust their instincts. If something feels uncomfortable, there is a probably a reason why. And understand that rape can happen to anyone.

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Beth Ann Conahan

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