EDITORIAL: Fewer partners means fewer STDs

Safe sex messages are the new public announcement.

Condoms have just recently been permitted to be advertised on network TV stations during prime time.

Most fourth graders can name the different parts of each sex, as well as where babies come from and how people get AIDS.

Yet, sexually transmitted diseases continue to spread through our generation like a wildfire through the dry hills of California. As such, it is this editorial board’s recommendation that students give serious consideration to having fewer sexual partners.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate that there are 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases every year, a number that is up four million since a short decade ago when the AIDS scare brought STD’s to the forefront of our societal consciousness.

Edward Hook, spokesman for the American Social Health Association, said in an MSNBC.com article that condom usage is “still woefully uncommon.” He also said that Americans don’t pay attention to their sexual health enough.

One reason that Americans don’t pay attention to their sexual health is because we’re still in the midst (or the aftermath) of a sexual revolution. Nobody on this editorial board necessarily believes that the revolution of “free love” was a bad thing, as it did, at the very least, allow people to feel comfortable with their sexuality and not overburdened with shame and guilt. However, the sexual revolution destroyed any sort of societal sexual ethic and erected nothing in its place. Without a sexual ethic, we find it difficult to know when to have sex, with whom to have it and how to maintain our sexual health.

This editorial would not attempt to create such a large and complex ethic, but it will support the need for one, as well as posit the idea that fewer sexual partners is better than more. In fact, the ideal may still be just one sexual partner in a lifetime, but the need for self-sexual understanding may still drive a person to have more.

What has occurred, in large part, is a lack of respect for sex. For most, the notion that sex is good is natural, but few acknowledge that sex can be bad. Because sex is never thought of as bad, there is never the natural reaction in humans that drive them away from potentially harmful situations. We have no sexual fight or flight, merely sexual indulgence.

Yet, it is this exact indulgence that is becoming our ethic, and it is also this indulgence that is leading to more and more cases of diseases that, at best, lead to discomfort and, at worst, lead to death. Thus, we find that our current ethic is actually leading to our current pain.

Finally, finding a new sexual ethic will not occur in our minds or our textbooks or our classrooms. It will occur in the bedroom. An ethic is only as good as its practice, which means we need to be a generation that gets control of our practices. While the generation before us may have had the opportunity to liberate sex, we must now put it back in a box, or face our own self-created destruction.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.