April: STD Awareness Month

21 04 2011

There are an estimated 19 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States.  That’s too many.  We can significantly cut that number down.

April, the STD Awareness Month, is a time to shine a light on sex and disease.

STDs know no age limits, they can be visible or invisible and, yes, they can even affect our own sons and daughters. STDs also have a serious economic impact, with direct medical costs estimated at $17.0 billion annually  in this country alone.

The majority of STDs are preventable. Just by having a frank discussion with our partners, and using the appropriate protection, we can prevent most sexually transmitted diseases.

These are practical resources to help individuals and parents learn more about STDs and how to deal with current or potential infections:

There is never anything embarrassing about protecting our health. So wrap it up, protect yourself and keep STDs at bay!

(Photo courtesy of Andy54321)





Kids and Sex, Gotta Have That Talk

15 02 2010

We have got to talk to our kids about sex (and related topics).  They’re going to snicker and act goofy or scowl and pretend to be annoyed, but they won’t run screaming from the room.  That’s because they want to know!

And we have to do it sooner rather than later.

On four separate occasions over the course of a year, 141 families of children aged 13-17 were surveyed concerning the timing of their chats about sexual topics.

Researchers found that over 50% of the teens had already experienced genital touching by the time their parents talked with them about birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and condom use.

More than 40% of the teens had already had intercourse by the time their parents talked with them about sexually transmitted diseases, condom use, choosing birth control and what to do if your partner refuses to wear a condom.

Why do we as parents allow this to happen?  Research suggests that we don’t have an accurate sense of where our children are in the stages of sexual exploration.

We all know that kids are exposed to sexual images and ideas through movies, music, magazines, and television at ever earlier ages.  This influences them in ways we parents may not be prepared to anticipate.

We want to protect our kids.  Most parents aren’t willing to bet their child’s health or life on an assumption that the child will abstain from sex until the parent thinks he or she is ready.

Experts suggest starting the conversation two years earlier than the age we think is appropriate. Don’t wait until just before we think the child is ready to explore sexual contact.

Sexuality is natural, it’s a part of being human, and it’s not just about sex.  Sexuality encompasses gender, interactions with the opposite sex, how men and women and boys and girls express emotion, body image, intimacy, and sexual orientation.

The kids may not listen when we tell them to take out the trash, but 63% of teens say being able to talk to their parents about sex makes it much easier to postpone sexual activity and avoid teen pregnancy.

Wooohooooo!  Parents doin’ the happy dance!

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Keep Our Kids Safe

5 05 2009

Abstaining from sex is a good way not to get a sexually transmitted infection.

To get through life without any such infections, there are two choices: never have sex – ever, or never have sex except with a partner who has never had sex with anyone else, and never will.

give them the info they need to stay safe

give them the info they need to stay safe

As parents, it’s hard for us to think about our children growing up and becoming intimate with anyone, but, giving them narrow choices such as are described above is risky.  Most of our teens and young adults want to heed our wishes and even, occasionally, our rules, but there are few perfectly obedient people in this world.

Rather than risking our children’s lives by assuming they will only do as we say, the safer choice seems to be arming our children with as much knowledge about disease prevention as possible, while continuing to share our values and beliefs.

To protect them, we tell them what we want, what we expect, and why, but we include the information they need to stay as safe as possible, should they make risky choices.  Better they know how to have safe sex but not need the information, than need the info and not have it.





Nurse Mary Beth’s Sex Talk

27 03 2009

Nurse Mary Beth gives tips to parents on how to talk to their children about sex and relationships.

Listen now!

Right-click here to download podcast (9mb/18min)