Tuesday, December 2, 2008


So, this post has been going through my head for a while :-)

I have control issues, and I know that. But, I also have strangely accepted things that are out of my control. I used to drive my classmates crazy. They would ask what I answered for a question, and I would have no idea because it was over and done with.

Accepting an action means accepting the consequences of that action. Im sure Azzurra will come up with whatever philosopher said it first :-) People get into cars every day, and drive, and think they have control over if they get into an accident. And, if people get into an accident, they get mad, but most people realize that it was an accident.

So, accepting the small chance that an accident will occur is part of making the decision to drive a car. That small risk is balanced against the rewards of driving a car.

Yet people seem to think that some risks of sex are acceptable, and some risks of sex are so horribly unacceptable that we completely disregard the other person in the equation.

Since this is a women's studies blog, one of the biggest risks of sex for women is pregnancy. Women have to balance this risk, and take whatever precautions they choose, to prevent this from occurring (assuming they wish to not become pregnant). And, if an accident occurs, we accept it and move on.

However, STIs (sexually transmitted infections) seem to have a different risk calculation. Even in sex positive communities, there is this stigma against STI positive individuals. Someone can think "well, I dont want to get pregnant or an STI, but pregnancy is a risk that I am willing to take but i'll refuse to have sex with someone with an STI." Because, for some reason, the stigma against pregnancy (or abortions) is not nearly as bad as the stigma against STIs.

Which gets back to the control issue. While we can do whatever we can (condoms, birth control, outercourse, etc) to prevent STI transmission and/or pregnancy, nothing except total abstinence is completely effective.

STIs are stigmatized because the person can transmit their "infection," yet most of us do not stigmatize men because they can "transmit" pregnancy. But, the control of getting an STI is just as out of our hands as is the genetic lottery that makes a man produce sperm.

But we dont think like that. We associate "STI" with being unsafe. With unprotected sex, with promiscuity, and with being an undesirable sexual partner. Or, rather, we associate *having* an STI with being stigmatized. Most people can understand that genital herpes will not kill them, but will site the stigma as one of the main reasons why they do not want it.

Why is this?

1 comment:

Julia said...

Maybe STDs were where the idea of "damaged goods" moved to?