There are some common myths about STDs out there that run the gamut, contributing to sex un-education. We debunk the tales here so you can have smart sex.
If you’re one of the 97% of American adults that have engaged in sexual activity, you likely have thought about getting tested for STDs before. After all, the idea that you could contract infections like herpes or HIV is a scary one, and it’s important to ensure that you’re staying as safe as possible while you’re getting it on.
Despite the fact that almost everyone has worried about STDs at some point or another, most people are sorely under-educated on the topic. American sex ed classes aren’t the best, and a lot of myths about STDs have been spread and popularized from sources ranging from the media to word of mouth.
Here, we’re going to debunk some of the myths about STDs that you may have heard. So read on, because knowledge is power and will likely mean safer sex for you and your partner.
All STDs Come From Sex
As their name implies, you can get sexually transmitted diseases or infections from having sex. This is the most common way that diseases are spread and is what most people think of when they consider the possibility of STDs.
But what most people don’t know is that you can have an STD without ever having had sex. That’s right—there are virgins out there who have STDs.
There are lots of ways that these diseases can spread, almost all involving some kind of contact between bodily fluids. Sharing unsterilized needles for drug use or medical injections is a great way to contract an STD.
Innocent kissing can cause herpes to be transmitted. If you have a cut and come in contact with the blood of an HIV positive person, you can get HIV. Diseases like HIV can even be passed down from a positive-testing mother to her child, so it’s important to be vigilant.
Even if you haven’t had sex, you should always be tested before any sexual activity.
STDs Are Always Visible
Most people think that when it comes to STDs, you’ll definitely be able to see when you or a partner has one. In a lot of situations, this is true. With issues like warts or herpes, there will be blisters or rashes on the skin that are a dead giveaway.
But with other (more extreme!) STDs, you won’t be able to tell just from looking if someone is suffering. For example, if someone has HIV or AIDS, you almost certainly won’t be able to tell that this is the case without a test. STDs like these are deficiencies in the bloodstream and immune system and so are both strictly internally bodily problems in their early stages.
Since you can’t always see when you or a partner has an infection, you might be wondering how to know when to take an STD test. Take a look at this guide to learn more about when you should get tested for STDs!
The Possibility is Shameful
Since STDs can be transmitted in a variety of ways, there’s no shame in knowing that you or a partner could potentially be a carrier of one. Even if one of you did get it sexually, there’s no shame in that either!
It’s important to talk to your partner about getting tested. Tell them that you’d like for both of you to get tested together just to be on the safe side. Stress that you know that anyone can have an STD and that you don’t think that it’s the fault of your partner. Make sure that it’s clear that you should (and will) get tested, too.
Even when it has nothing to do with STDs, it’s important to talk about your sex life with your partner. If they make you feel ashamed or uncomfortable, then they probably aren’t the right person for you to have sex with, anyway. For some tips on how to talk about sex productively, check out this link!
The Pill Prevents STDs
Hormonal birth control pills are great in a lot of ways- after all, they do prevent unwanted pregnancies. Sadly, though, that’s the only thing that they do. Being on “the pill” (or having a partner that’s on it) won’t prevent the transmission of STDs.
The only form of birth control that will is using a condom and even this isn’t 100% effective. Still, using one is a good idea. What’s an even better idea, though, is getting tested for diseases so you can have stress-free and completely fun sexual experiences.
You Can Get Them Anywhere
We’ve talked about how there are non-sexual ways to transmit STDs, but this doesn’t mean that you can get them just anywhere. At some point, you’ve probably been told that STDs can be transmitted by sitting on a toilet seat or swimming in a public pool. This is factually incorrect.
While you need to be careful when in situations that may involve others’ bodily fluids, you don’t need to worry about getting STDs from something as simple as sitting in a chair after someone else. The only STD that this has ever spread is crabs, and that’s not only not that big a deal but also pretty rare.
So go swimming. Sit on the toilet seat. Even feel free to give your partner a handjob (with clean, uncut hands). You don’t have to worry unless your fluids are mixing.
Debunking Myths About STDs
We aren’t going to lie to you- STDs are scary. They aren’t fun to worry about, and they definitely aren’t fun to have. Luckily, though, once you’ve debunked misconceptions about these diseases, get tested, and talk to your partner openly, your chances of getting one goes way, way down.
Now that you know that some of the most popular myths about STDs are just that- myths- check out the ‘sexual health’ section under the ‘topics’ tab on our webpage. We’ll give you some more of the best tips to have a safer- and more adventurous- sex life.