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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

If you’re not mature enough to use birth control, don’t have sex

<u’re not mature enough to use birth control consistently, you aren’t mature enough to be having sex. I’m infuriated when I hear stories about Carleton students having unprotected sex regularly. I’m alarmed by how many of these stories I’ve heard. I understand that everybody makes mistakes and we all have lapses in judgment. I definitely have. But it’s a shame; we are privileged enough at Carleton to have free access to birth control education and actual birth control whenever we want it. We have countless resources that many people in the world do not have. Every opportunity is on the table to have safe, consensual sex. So why on earth would you take any chances and not be safe?

To me, agreeing to have sex without protection shows a lack of respect for your own body and your own health. We’re lucky to live in a day and age with medications to treat most sexually transmitted infections and to be able to terminate pregnancies (well, for now at least), but that doesn’t mean that those consequences aren’t serious. Besides the physical harm that you could put yourself at risk for, emotional consequences related to negative side effects of unprotected sex are very real as well. I urge you to respect yourself and your body. You only have one body for the rest of your life. Show some self-love and make decisions that respect your body, as well as the body of your partner.

Going off on that note, don’t be offended if your partner asks you to get tested. It doesn’t mean that you’re filthy or that there’s something wrong with you. Take it as a good sign; the person that you’re having sex with or want to have sex with cares enough about their own health and your health to ensure that everything is okay. I mean, quite frankly, responsibility is sexy. So be responsible and get yourself tested if you haven’t. It’s not a reflection on you at all, just a regular check-up like the ones we’ve been doing since we were babies.

Furthermore, there are so many options of birth control to use. Want some hormones? Check. Hate hormones? Still got you covered. Want to replace it every month? Sure. Or maybe implanting is more your thing? No problem. I’ve been on the pill since I was thirteen for awful periods, and then about a year ago decided to try out Mirena, an IUD (intrauterine device). I thought it’d be a great idea; I would have no worries about taking a pill every night and the insertion really didn’t hurt but for a second. It turns out that Mirena and I didn’t get along well at all, but I’m still glad I tried to expand my birth control horizons. Since we have the opportunity to learn about all these at Carleton, I don’t think there’s a reason to not make an appointment and hear about them. Or at the very least, talk to your friends about their choices. Even if you’re not sexually active, it’s an interesting discussion and can only lead to more informed decisions.

Don’t be afraid to go on birth control. I know of all the fears of weight gain and imbalances. But the glory of it is that everything can be temporary, you can always stop taking a medication or get something removed. Experimentation is the spice of life, right? And at the end of the day, if you decide that prescribed birth control isn’t your thing, condoms are always an option. And despite what some idiots try to convince you of, condoms are necessary even if they’re “uncomfortable.” Realistically, I’ve found men don’t care too much if I’m comfortable, so I’m not apologizing if plastic irritates them in the slightest.

 I think I’m perhaps more paranoid than the average college student about safe sex. I like to plan things out. I don’t ever want anything to drag me away from my goals or aspirations, and as a result of that I have a huge fear of STIs or pregnancies. But there are worse fears to be had. In this case, I’d most definitely prefer to be cautious and considerate of myself and my partner. In writing all of this, I don’t mean to scare you out of sex; I mean to scare you into safe, thrilling, and hopefully exceptional (though I’m still working on that part myself) sex.

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