My STD is Fucked Up

contraceptionSTDs are a bummer. At minimum they represent embarrassing disclosure, annoying contraceptives, itching and burning. Farther along the spectrum of misfortune are the incurables, the cancer-causing viruses and the life-threatening illnesses. But no matter how much suffering you may incur, in my opinion, the worst thing about STDs is that some can be passed from mother to child. Imagine an entire life carrying the burden of one of those unfortunate illnesses without even having had the pleasure of acquiring it!

It’s a fair assumption that most of the time you have sex, it’s not with the purpose of creating a life; and most of the people you have sex with will not ultimately be the mother or father of your child. But lets not kid ourselves into pretending that sex and procreation aren’t pretty directly interconnected (ask your big brother). So if you have an STD that can be passed mother-to-child, and if you ever have a child, you put them at risk of contracting it too.

I thought STDs were a non-issue for me when I got married at 21 but when I got divorced at 27, the whole game had changed. The HPV vaccine had come into being and my window of opportunity to get it had gone; super-gonorrhea became a thing; the “morning after pill” for HIV was developed; and we’re not even calling them STDs anymore– STI (sexually transmitted infection) is now the acronym of choice.

Sex on the dating scene may be more exciting in some respects than sex within a marriage was, but I miss the days of skipping the awkward conversation and going straight to the sheets. When someone asks, I’m happy that I”ll be able to tell them that I don’t have any STDs. And that’s true in the conventional sense but, considered in another light, I’ve started to think that I have plenty. In addition to being outrageously adorable, any child of mine will have a pre-disposition to heart disease and number of cancers. If I have a daughter she’ll have an 80% chance of having an eating disorder. These diseases that I pass on to my children are STDs in the truest sense- transmitted sexually through conception. I guess you could say my STD is “fucked up.”

I will take all manner of efforts to avoid contracting Herpes, HIV, and Hepatitis, to protect myself and my future children. But against some STDs, the ones I was born with, there is no latex barrier.

I’m not trying to bring anyone down, I’m just trying to share a new perspective on this whole issue. I’m trying to break down the division between the pure and the unclean. Because whether its chlamydia, Syphilis, or crabs; depression, heart disease, addiction or depression, in one way or another, we all have STDs.

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