I saw a post about STIs recently. There have been quite a few rolling around on the internet lately. Most of the posts have been positive in nature. They have been all about people de-stigmatizing STIs. I think that is necessary and a great thing to strive for. However, this particular post rather annoyed me. The gist of the post was that it is perfectly fine to have an STI. And further, that nobody should really be concerned about having sex with someone who has one because it’s riskier to do things like drive a car than to have sex with someone who has an STI. Even more than that, people should be really happy to fuck the particular person who wrote the post because he was really awesome.
Now, I do agree with part of the post. Stigmatizing STIs is a ridiculous holdover from our somewhat puritanical culture. I think that there isn’t anything wrong with having an STI. It’s a bit like having the flu. It happens. All kinds of people get the disease, even those who try to mitigate the risks. Sometimes you shake hands with someone who doesn’t know they are infected with the flu and are about to come down with a really bad case. Sometimes you wash your hands every few minutes because everyone in the office is coming down with the flu. Then you get it too. Sometimes you choose to hang out with a bunch of people who have the flu. Maybe because you work in a hospital or because your whole family has it and you don’t want to go get a hotel room. Sometimes you are simply going to get the flu, like it or not.
And really, who would choose to get the flu? I don’t know of many people who rejoice when they get the flu.
Now the flu happens. STIs happen. That’s just life. I place no value judgment on people with the flu or an STI or cancer. They are all diseases that most of us would rather not deal with if we can help it. However…
This particular post seems rather callous about those who choose to try to mitigate their own personal risks. Just because I am not comfortable riding a motorcycle doesn’t make me a horrible person. If I don’t want to take up bungee jumping, I’m not an asshole. When I politely decline to go climb Mt. Everest with you, I’m not being a judgmental prick. I’m just assessing my own personal comfort levels for my own personal body. For me, some things are not worth the potential rewards. And just because I don’t want to mount your personal peak doesn’t mean I think that you shouldn’t climb that mountain. It also doesn’t mean I think mountain climbing is bad, wrong, or dirty. It just means that I’m not interested. And why would you want a climbing partner who isn’t really interested? Especially when there are so many people who clearly are. Their risk assessment is different than mine. And I do my best not to be offended when they call me a pussy or a wimp or a scaredy cat. It would be great to be extended the same courtesy.
And it’s true. I’m a bit of a pansy on some things. I don’t like being touched by strangers. I barely like being touched by people I know well. I don’t drink after, share cosmetics with, or kiss anyone I’m not sexually involved with. Because I’m a bit of a germaphobe. I’m also admittedly wimpy about physical pain and annoyances. I don’t know how masochists deal with it. I can barely deal with an ingrown hair or a mosquito bite without a ridiculous amount of whinging. I don’t really want to deal with an STI if I can help it. None of them sound particularly pleasant. I can’t imagine what a giant pain in the ass I would be if I had to deal with any symptoms. In addition to that, the cure might be just as bad as the disease itself. I have strange and usually unpleasant reactions to medications. I therefore try my best to avoid needing any. Because what might be a very minor annoyance that is easily fixable to someone else could be something fairly major for me.
So when someone else who doesn’t own the rights to my body like I do tries to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do with it, I get a bit annoyed. If you want to jump out of a plane, do street luge, or swim with sharks… knock yourself out. I applaud you and fully support you. I always admire people who follow their path. Now let me follow mine.
Oh, in addition to the complete disregard for people’s autonomy… this gem of a man had to go a few years without sex due to having an STI. So he quit telling his partners right away. He told them eventually. And apparently he’s just so amazing in bed that none of them were upset about being lied to or having their right to choose taken away. Because he’s just that good a lay. So of course we should all fuck him because now he’s also awesome enough to disclose his STI status up front! Now I’ve had some very long dry spells myself. So I can relate to wanting to get some. However, it didn’t lead me to trample the rights of other people so I could get my jollies. And I’m not exactly Mother Teresa. I don’t think it’s a huge feat that I managed to go without sex despite my rather high sex drive. I just think he’s an egomaniacal jerk who prioritized his dick above the basic rights of other human beings.