‘Let’s talk about sex’

Most college students want sex, but how many know difference between the myths and the facts associated with sex?

The reality is that 79.5 percent of college students between the ages of 18-24 are sexually active, according to the Advocates for Youth. However, without the proper knowledge about intercourse and its consequences, those involved are at risk for disease, pregnancy or worse.

The UTSA organization Sexual Health Alcohol and Drug Education for Students (SHADES) promotes healthy sexual habits by publicizing factual information throughout campus.

The most popular myth about sex is that men are more interested in it than women. But according to Stayteen.org, men do not always want sex more than women. Pressure can come from anybody, regardless of gender or sexual experience.

In response to the myth that men want sex more than women, junior accounting and economics major Franco Larrea said, “Women want it as bad as we do, but just don’t show it. They have more will power!”

Tara Wood, vice president of SHADES, debunked several myths concerning pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and forms of contraception. “More than half of college students believe they can tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them. This is incorrect. One in four college students have an STI, such as Chlamydia, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), HIV and Herpes, and those infected often show no visible symptoms.”

Some sexually active people believe if you have HPV or another STI, it will go away on its own—this is incorrect. According to Collegecandy.com, while HPV can remedy spontaneously, it is up to your immune system to kill the virus. If a person’s immune system cannot fight the virus, HPV can lead to warts, abnormal pap smears and, if left untreated, cervical cancer.

Another misconception is that a person cannot get an STI from having oral sex. This is also false. Anyone can get an STI by having any kind of sex, engaging in skin-to-skin contact or by merely kissing somebody.

It is extremely important for a person to know his or her partner and that partner’s sexual history before being intimate; of course, getting tested is advised if a person is sexually active.

Students do not have to look far for testing locations. Wood stated, “The UTSA Main Campus Student Health Services is offering confidential, rapid HIV testing on Oct. 11 and Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment.”

Other factors to consider when flirting with the idea of having sex are the uses of contraception and ways to prevent pregnancy. Myth number one: there is no method that is 100 percent effective. False.

Abstinence is the most effective and simplest way to prevent pregnancy. By refraining from intercourse, a woman protects herself from the risk of pregnancy and most STIs. Contrary to a famous remark asked in “The 40-Year Old Virgin”, if you don’t use it, you do not lose it!

Despite what some college students may think, drinking Mountain Dew does not prevent pregnancy. The rumor is that certain ingredients in Mountain Dew lower sperm count or kill sperm, but, in reality, drinking any kind of soda does affect sperm count.

Another myth deals with becoming pregnant in a swimming pool. Diana Cuervo said, “I heard in high school that a girl couldn’t get pregnant in a pool or hot tub because chlorine in the water kills the sperm.” Wood commented on this myth by stating,

“Intercourse in a hot tub can lead to pregnancy. Although being in a hot tub for more than 30 minutes can lower sperm count, it does not decrease the sperm count to a ‘safe’ amount,” Wood said.

“It only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg. The temperature and presence of the water does not hinder the sperm’s ability to find an egg. Sexually transmitted infections can also be spread in a hot tub regardless of the water temperature.”

Advice about “The Pill” as the most potent form of birth control is often misguided. Many women think that birth control is effective no matter how it is taken.

According to Planned Parenthood, “Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always take the pill each day as directed. But about 9 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they don’t.”

Wood added, “A common myth is that birth control is completely effective the first day you begin taking it. It can take up to one full month (or one full menstrual cycle) for the pill to become effective. Using a back up birth control such as condoms is recommended until the first month on the pill is complete.” More information about STIs, contraception and pregnancy can be found on campus at Student Health Services, Main Campus 21-458-4142 RWC 1.500 and the Downtown Campus 210-458-2930 BV 1.308.

SHADES offers help to those with questions about sex. Wood says, “All questions asked to SHADES are anonymous. We answer questions ranging from STD symptoms, appropriate types of lubricant, options for protection from STDs, birth control alternatives and what is considered rape. No question is too crazy for SHADES.”

To contact peer educators or health advocates, email SHADES at [email protected] or find them on Facebook.