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Safe is the New Sexy

“Can I take you to dinner? How about Thursday at 7:00 PM?”

“Great, I’ll bring the lube if you bring the condoms. See you then.”

If this is how you typically set up a date, 100 brownie points to you! However, for many people, talking about sex can be an enormously difficult endeavor.  And talking about safe sex, like STD and pregnancy prevention, is hardly sexy. Until now! With the help of Planned Parenthood, this Shabbat we will discuss comfortable approaches to talking about safe sex.

In an effort to get the word out about STDs, and to normalize STD testing and treatment, Planned Parenthood is using April to launch their nationwide campaign, GYTNOW. “GYT” stands for “get yourself tested”. The campaign aims to attract young adults by speaking in electronic phonetics like, “OMG GYT!” They also have an onslaught of online tools on how to initiate the discussion about getting tested for STDs and tips to make that conversation easier.

Though getting an STD test may not seem like the most sensuous experience a new couple can undergo, Monica McCafferty, Planned Parenthood Media Relations Specialist states, “There need not be a stigma in getting tested.”

These days, it’s more common to get an STD than a speeding ticket. In fact, one in two people who have sex will get an STD by the age of 25. One in two! That means you reading this column, or the gentleman next to you at synagogue.

The plus side is that all STDs are treatable and most are curable—so long as you discover them early enough. Hence, get tested. Or even better, prevent them in the first place.

Testing is not necessarily intended as an excuse to forgo the condoms and lube, as these are essential ingredients to many people’s sex lives. But don’t forget that there are a handful of STDs (like herpes and HPV) that can potentially be contracted even while using condoms.

Planned Parenthood is holding a GYT kick-off concert in Boulder on April 15 featuring MileHi Sound, an electro rock band formed by a bunch of professional snowboarders (http://www.ppaction.org/pprm/events/gytconcert/details.tcl). Planned Parenthood also has $10 only STD testing days on April 23rd or 27th. (The basic screening, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV, usually runs about $120, so take advantage of these discount days.) – Even if you wait until marriage to enjoy sexual intimacy, it’s advantageous to get tested!  For more info on Planned Parenthood’s public health campaign, please visit www.gytnow.org.

And don’t forget to have a sexy Shabbos!

About Dr. Jenni Skyler

Jenni Skyler, PhD, MSEd is a sex therapist and board certified sexologist. She is the Director of The Intimacy Institute for sex and relationship therapy in Boulder, Colorado. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Sexology and a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology - Marriage and Family Therapy track. She has worked in the field of sexual health as a therapist, educator, and public health consultant since 2005. In addition, Jenni is a PAIRS® certified instructor and hosts workshops and retreats to help couples emotionally enrich their relationships.

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