Seriously, we are past the age or the time where we can impose our beliefs on someone else just because it’s what we think is right. When it comes to the topic of celibacy, we may have the most compelling argument, or we may not, but the bottom line is that we can’t be hostile towards someone else for believing otherwise. So what can we do? We can promote the importance of protection. And that’s my Public Service Announcement for today!
I recently realized that some of us that did not see adulthood in Nigeria have just been blinded to the fact that Nigeria is at the peak of its sexual expression. If you read a lot of the blogs out there (and a lot of articles up here on 360Nobs), it is a little ‘wide-eyed-mouth-open-and-dripping’ shocking to see how different it is from what we assumed it was. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t generalize, so I’ll say it’s different from what I assumed it was.
As girls, most of us grew up not really openly talking about sex. Yes, there was that commercial that came on the radio that read ‘If you no fit hold yourself, at least protect yourself. Wear a condom.’ I remember it well because it always came on at the most awkward moments, like when you were sitting in the car with your grandmother who blatantly refused (and still refuses) to believe you even knew what the word ‘sex’ meant.
Well, before I swerve off topic, summersault, and possibly hit a big tree, the purpose of this article was to really bring awareness to the fact that a lot of people are overlooking the ‘protect yourself’ bit that we have heard for so many years. We are all adults reading this (well that is questionable since it is after all the internet) so we should know the potential consequences of not using adequate protection during sex. Yes, I said adequate. There is inadequate protection.
This seems juvenile and basic, but sometimes we need the basics rung in our ears over and over before we start paying attention. So I will list out the potential negative consequences of not protecting yourself while you are sexually active:
• HIV/AIDS: If you live in our generation, nobody needs to tell you what this is. You see it on the telly, you see it in the news, the hospitals won’t stop talking about it, and if you are African, you probably know more about it than the rest of the world. But why is there so much education on the topic, yet so little action? People take unnecessary chances every day. I separated HIV from other STDs because we all know HIV is in a class of its own.
• STDs: From syphilis to gonorrhea to herpes, the list of STDs is endless and growing every day. Yet, people are still taking chances every day. If you asked someone who’s had a burning crotch or some other type of infection down there, I’m very certain they would say it was not pleasant. Now, STD effects are not limited to burning crotches. There are STDs that can affect a woman’s ability to have a child, and a man’s ability to produce ‘quality’ sperm.
• Unplanned pregnancy: I’ll say it again. UNPLANNED PREGNANCY. For some reason, people seem to react to this the most. You both may not have even established where your relationship is going, and then BAM! there’s a baby on the way. It amuses me when people don’t use protection and then act completely surprised when the doctor tells them they are having a baby. Ermmm… you are not invincible. Though nothing I know of is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy, you can always reduce the probability down to a pinch.
So you have the consequences of not protecting yourself. How can you protect yourself? Use a condom EVERY TIME. Not sometimes. Not most times. EVERY TIME. You are only excused if you are married, trying to get pregnant, or both. I know people talk of other forms of contraception all the time, and I do support oral, vaginal, and other contraceptive methods, but note that those things only prevent pregnancy. With the way people are jumping from one bed to another these days, if you are sexually active, you need to protect yourself from everything else too.
Additionally, as condoms are the only sexual protection devices that I know of that do not have any potential side effects, it is very essential to speak to your doctor before you start taking anything to protect yourself. Doctors didn’t go to school for several years (and several more when you add the strikes and all) to be just as knowledgeable about diseases as you. They do actually know best.
If you already have had unprotected sex, please get tested and speak to a doctor to find out what your next step should be. As your primary school teacher always said, my friend, prevention is better than cure!