Sex is a powerful drug that makes all of us do silly things. But at least speaking honestly about what’s really going on is a good way to find our way to the truth.
I received some resistance after writing my article about the STD epidemic occurring in black America. Some thought that by referencing the CDC study that found that half of all black women have herpes, I was somehow implying that black women are more promiscuous than everyone else. That’s not the case, since another study shows that black men have four times more sex partners in their lifetimes than black women.
I speak to my daughters on this issue all the time: You don’t have to be promiscuous to catch an STD. But you can catch an STD by having sex with a promiscuous person. Hence, the good girl who likes bad boys might have the same physical outcomes as the bad boy himself.
I heard from a woman late Friday night. She was like a lot of black women: deeply religious, raised in a single parent home, and dating a man who’d been incarcerated the year before. One of the reasons I believe we need to be consistently vocal about mass incarceration, educational inequality, unemployment inequality and the influence of commercialized hip-hop is because many of our boys are not being raised by the world to become adequate husbands and fathers. The “thuggin” bad boy might be appealing to a woman when she is 18-years old, but it can be tacky and trifling when she’s 31. We have to raise our boys to be men and this demands a degree of responsibility that must be taught by both parents, even if one of those parents happens to be a surrogate.
The woman told me that after reading my article, she decided to ask her man to go to the clinic together to get tested for STDs. She said that after making her request, the man started acting strange, and refused to return her calls. I told her that this a serious red flag, and that the “goodie two-shoes” story he’d told her about not having been with anyone for over a year might not be true. Fortunately, the kicked the man to the curb after we had our conversation.
A lot of women have stories that are similar to the one that was told by the lady who called me. I encourage women to share these stories with one another, so you can learn from each other. A great example is the woman who wrote the brave open letter about sleeping with the pastor who was arrested for having unprotected sex while he was HIV positive. Suffering in silence only allows men to run the same games over and over again. Not every man is a dog, but there are certainly dogs among us. You have to be smart to rise above the stupidity.
So, as I sit here reflecting on life, I thought I’d share a bit of “fatherly brainstorming” to help women who are in situations similar to the one described by the woman who reached out to me. Maybe you’re not dating a brother who is fresh out of jail (not that these men should be condemned, but the prison rape epidemic creates obvious concern about sexual health in our community), but there is a chance that you’re dating a brother, and men can be fickle sometimes. Here are three things you might want to keep in mind while playing the sex and dating game:
1) Don’t take the person’s word for it: Here’s a newsflash – people lie. A lot of men lie when it comes to getting the thing that they want the most and the smooth brother with all the swag got that way because he knows how to tell women exactly what they want to hear. Imagine being broke, hungry and trying to get into your favorite restaurant. That’s how a man feels when he’s trying to have s*e with you. Some guys will say anything to get what they want.
So, if you consider yourself responsible and ask a man about his HIV status, understand that pretty much every man is going to tell you that he’s fine. Sometimes he’s actually fine, sometimes he’s not fine, and then much of the time, he may not be entirely sure that he’s fine. However, he knows that if he gives you anything other than an entirely confident answer, you may second-guess your decision to sleep with him. Besides that, there are some men who really believe they’re healthy when they’re actually not. Why? Because a person who was tested for HIV two years ago and has had several partners since then doesn’t really know if anything has changed in his status.
2) Get tested together: The best way to know if a person is safe is to see the test results for yourself and make sure they are recent. Don’t take someone’s word for it when your life is on the line. By not covering your bases, you’re risking being sexually isolated for the rest of your life because of one toxic interaction. Don’t put your fate in someone’s word, especially when they might be tempted to stretch the truth to get something they really want from you.
3) Get tested for EVERYTHING: With all the talk about HIV testing, everyone seems to forget that there is a long list of other STDs you can get besides HIV. Asking the doctor for a full STD panel is a good way to make sure that your partner isn’t infected with anything. Even allowing him to give you oral sex without proper protection is a great way for you to catch genital herpes. Don’t assume that a person is entirely safe just because they are HIV-negative. If the person likes to “get around” sexually, there’s a good chance that they have other diseases that have remained dormant in their body.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.