People love sex. It's a biological need, and that's something we have to admit in ourselves. We crave for it from our loved ones, and sex makes our bondage deeper towards one another. No matter what we say, we cannot deny that we have to quench this physical and psychological need. One of the greatest philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer notes that the sexual impulse has the power to disrupt all of society, describing it as "the ultimate goal of almost all human effort".
However, bear in mind that pleasure is not all that sex has to offer. If you have sex with a total stranger and do not bother committing yourselves to make it safe, then the pleasure has its lashes back at you. Often, what is meant to be a wild adventure can turn into a nightmare experience that you regret for the rest of your life. You can get sick from having sex irresponsibly, especially when lacking proper protective measures. The next day you wake up, you may feel that your private part is aching in pain, and your body is slowly feeling weak and starts to have other unpleasant symptoms. It's worse than finding out your partner is cheating on you with some random person who thinks they're hotter than you. These infections could lead to several diseases that may weaken your immune system because it cannot protect you from the dangers of several bacteria and viruses. We often neglect how seriously this can damage our body because STDs are not unknown to us anymore, and we all at some point contract some diseases. Thanks to the improvement in modern science and medicine, most STDs can now be treated completely.
Interestingly, ever since the pandemic came, things started to change towards unprotected sex and STIs. Some people avoid any physical contact to be free from risking themselves into an infection that is highly contagious and could kill them. As Latini and her colleagues (July 2020) said in their article, "the fear of infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may have reduced sexual encounters and led to a genuine decline in STIs." People refrain from having sex because of the fear of catching Coronavirus. It might sound strange because STIs and some of its complications can be way deadlier than covid-19. However, since COVID-19 has made its name worldwide, the masses start to highlight more sexual health awareness. We now value our hygiene more than ever and are more cautious about the notion of jumping on strangers just for a good experience of sex. The pandemic made us realize the importance of securing our safety, a silver lining within COVID-19.
However, some evidence shows the complete opposite. Ever since the pandemic, the concentrated effort required to fight the spread of the virus has caused many on the frontlines of public health and specifically STD prevention to redirect their focus. According to the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), many STD outreach, education, and prevention programs have been reduced or suspended since the COVID outbreak. And that could have severe impacts. David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), says, "We see a complete disruption to STD prevention here in the United States. We expect to experience even higher STD rates as a result." This is not alone in the US; in many other places, health workers dedicated to STDs have been redeployed to fight against the virus since the outbreak. Some experts argued that a low STD infection ratio might be due to the limited tests conducted during the lockdown and stay-at home order. This means that many things go unnoticed. There is a chance that we will witness a surge of STI cases when all is over. Therefore, It remains to be determined whether COVID-19 will have lasting effects on the epidemiology of STIs.
Despite everything, there is always something we can do as an individual to protect ourselves from STIs. First, you should be comfortable communicating with your partner about any STI history before having sex with him or her. If possible, test yourself periodically if you have more than one partner, and always wear a condom when having sex with a new partner. The satisfaction that sex gives you is way better when you know that you're not exposed to any illness that can destroy your life without you even knowing it. Having sex in a responsible manner is way better than doing it wildly.
Another safe alternative will be exploring your sexuality with a sex toy; according to a survey conducted by CivicScience, a polling and research platform, over a quarter of the 6000 surveyed people used sex toys more since going into quarantine. Nearly 40% of those between ages 18 and 24 reported an increase in their average sex toy use since they went into quarantine. Those 55 and older reported a 23% increase in use. Therefore, If you have never tried sex toys, this could be the time for it.
Astbury-Ward, E., May 2020. Could COVID-19 Break the Chain of STIs? Retrieved from (https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/930983)
Lee, J. K., (n.d), Sex and Coronavirus. Retrieved from (https://www.umms.org/coronavirus/what-to-know/managing-medical-conditions/coronavirus-risk/sex)
Latini A., Magri F., Donà MG., et al, 27 July 2020. Is COVID-19 affecting the epidemiology of STIs? The experience of syphilis in Rome
27 May 2020. STD Rates May Increase as a Side Effect of COVID Pandemic. Retrieved from https://siragainesville.com/std-rates-may-increase-as-a-side-effect-of-covid-pandemic/