Sexual Health #1

Sex. Know the risks.

Sex… no, this isn’t one of those lame ads from the back of a magazine –remember those– that’s desperately trying to get your attention. We really will be talking today about sex, or in this case: your sexual health. We’ve written a lot about shaving below the belt, on this blog:

And while we write about taking care of your appearance, your mental health, and how you can keep yourself looking and feeling good. We’ve never wrestled with the physical health side of things. Other than the odd snippet here and there –see the diet tips in our skincare articles. But now we’ve decided it’s time to take our relationship to the next level. And give you the goings-on about the goings-on.

With more than 50% of you shaving your pubic hair, which might just be part of your spiritual practice. We’re guessing a fair amount of that is the foreplay before foreplay. So it would be a missed opportunity not to provide you with a bit of info on how you can stay nice while getting nasty. 

Disclaimer: We’re a men’s grooming brand, not doctors. The information in this article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used to self diagnose. If you think you have an STI, or are at risk for an STI contact your doctor immediately. Testing and treatment will vary by country. A local medical profession will be able to advise you on what’s most appropriate for you. If in doubt, don’t tough it out. Taking care of yourself is sexy, so go speak to a professional. 

A cautionary tale about risk

All sex carries some risk. You can’t really get away from it. But the pleasure we get from the goings on in the bedroom far outweighs the benefits of never having sex. Hell, if you were trying to minimise all risk you’d never leave your house, right? But when it comes to sex there are risks you might not always be aware of. 

You might think to yourself “I’ve just slept with one or two people, my chances of catching an STI are probably pretty low.” But I want to give you an example of why that isn’t necessarily the case. 

The sexual network effect

Researchers, being the perverts they are, wanted to know about the network of sexual relationships between highschool students. They interviewed 800 students in a school district to understand the connections between the student’s sexual relationships and created this sexy diagram. 

Each dot in the diagram is a person, and each connection between the dots is a sexual relationship. You can see that there are 63 couples who only had sex with one other person, and, as such, are not connected to anyone else. But for the other 737 people, even if they only slept with one person, they were connected to larger sexual networks. With the biggest network being the circle containing 288 people.

Many of the people in that 288 only had one or two sexual partners, but without knowing it they were connected to a much larger sexual group. And as a result, their risk was much greater than they might have thought. 

So why am I telling you this?

For two reasons:

  1. Your risk of contracting an STI is not, always, proportional to your number of sexual partners i.e. less partners doesn’t necessarily mean less risk. And you won’t be able to accurately gauge the level of risk unless you get a team of researchers involved.
  2. And secondly if you contract an STI from someone it’s not an indication that that person is promiscuous or reckless. They may have had sex with one person, once, and been unknowingly connected to a much larger network. 

That’s not to say that more sexual partners doesn’t equal more risk, it absolutely does. A study of STIs among college students found that having 5 or more sexual partners, as opposed to one, makes you eight times more likely to get an STI. And if you’re sleeping with that many people then you are probably aware that your risk is higher. But for many people, they’re probably unaware of their level of risk when it comes to getting frisky. And you won’t always be able to gauge it based on your number of sexual partners, but more on risk later in this series.

Stigma

Getting an STI can be embarrassing. There’s still a lot of stigma around sexual illness from reasons to do with the perception of someone being unhygenic, to ideas about promiscuous behaviour. Getting an STI isn’t necessarily an indicator of either of those. All it means is that you slept with a person who had an STI. That person might not even have known they had an STI, again something we’ll touch on later in this series, and condoms do break. So you could be both: getting lucky and unlucky at the same time.

It’s honestly a fact of life that if you’re sexually active your chances are greater than not that you will get one. Worldwide one million people will contract an STI everyday, and 1 in 5 Americans actively have an STI. So if you have 5 American friends one of them probably has an STI –it’s up to you to guess which one. 

Basically if you’re banging, unless you’ve both waited until marriage, then you will probably come in contact with an STI at some point. 

What’s a man to do?

So what’re you supposed to do with all this new, possibly worrying, information? That’s what we want to help you out with in this series. We’ll be covering what you can do to lower your risk, the different types of STIs and what to do if you get one and how shaving can both increase and decrease your chances of catching an STI. 

Sex should be a fun, carefree, liberating experience. By being aware of the risks and taking precautions you’ll keep you and your partners safe. That way you can continue to enjoy it for as long as you can keep those hips moving.

Let us know what you think.