Sex and the Sun: Casual sex invites many serious dangers

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Too many men and women in their late teens and early twenties do not consider the implications of their one-night stands and first-date hookups.

Casual sex is not a problem of promiscuity as much as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Past history is a fair topic. As embarrassing as it may be to have that talk with a partner, it is worse to end up having that talk with a doctor.

Having sex with someone is comparable to having sex with everyone the other person has been with. This opens the disease floodgates. There are more than 25 known STDs and some of the most common ailments do not yet have a cure.

STD carriers do not always know they are infected and a potential partner may have no way of being able to tell visually because there are not always signs or symptoms. Half of the newly infected are between the age of 15-24.

Once someone is infected, gender plays a role in how they are affected. Women are less likely than men to show symptoms for common diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Often the infection will remain even if the symptoms go away. STDs can damage a woman’s ability to have children. They can be passed on to children, causing serious injuries or death.

While sex has many benefits to both sides, perks can be diminished by chemical reactions. When a man has an orgasm, the pleasure hormone dopamine is released. Like a drug, it is addictive.

On the other side of the bed, women release oxytocin. It increases their empathy, bonding and is the culprit for women falling in love after sex. About 30 areas of the brain are stimulated two minutes before a woman’s orgasm. Oxytocin can confuse women by making them believe their partner is a long-term cornerstone rather than a short-term fling. Brain chemistry makes it emotionally difficult for a woman to have casual sex.

Cheap sex can also make you feel cheap. Men cannot get pregnant, but they can still be ruined by a bad fling. Tragedies, breakups or low self-esteem affect men as well as women. Meaningless sex can blur judgment or stir up old wounds.

Rushing into sex can set a bad precedent for the rest of the relationship. Knowing someone better alleviates tension related to performance expectations and self-esteem issues. Couples need time to discuss what they want from the relationship. Time eases awkwardness and can ward off dangerous and unwarranted situations. People can become possessive and obsessive, and this can lead to stalking and abuse.

Casual sex is not the taboo today that it was for centuries. It is increasingly becoming a conversation we are more comfortable to have.

We are all products of sex and always will be. New diseases, though, have made it a riskier proposition. Like smoking, unsafe sex is on the rise despite a well-informed public.

Most Americans receive their first formal sexual education somewhere between sixth-eighth grade, according to a 2010 report published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sadly, sex education stops there for some.

Sex is a natural and inevitable act, so information and thoughtfulness need to be part of the process. A good rule to abide by is if you are not absolutely sure, then you absolutely should not do it.

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