Monday, June 16, 2008

Sex and The City: a fairy tale

At one point in the Sex and the City movie, Carrie reads a Cinderella story book to Lily, the young daughter of Harry and Charlotte. At the end, Carrie points out that Cinderella is not real life, it's just a fairy tale.

Likewise, I hope that parents are pointing out to their daughters that Sex and The City is not real life, it's just a fairy tale. The movie, like the rest of our increasingly porno-fied culture, portrays a female fantasy of glamour, beauty, wealth, big city, bright lights, and fabulous, carefree sex without even a hint of birth control or sexually-transmitted consequences.

The reality of free-for-all sex, reported by the Centers for Disease Control in March, is that twenty-six percent of females between the ages of 13 and 19 in the United States has at least one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some of the more disheartening findings of the study prove that these ain't your mother's STDs:
  • The most common STI was cancer- and genital wart-associated HPV (18.3%), followed by chlamydia (3.9%), trichomoniasis (2.5%), and HSV-2 (1.9%). Among the teenage girls who had an STI, 15 percent had more than one.
  • By race, African American teenage girls had the highest prevalence, with an overall STI prevalence of 48 percent compared to 20 percent among both whites and Mexican Americans. (Other Hispanics and race/ethnic populations were captured in the survey, but there were insufficient numbers in any one group to permit valid prevalence estimates for any group except Mexican Americans.)
  • Overall, approximately half of all the teens in the study reported ever having had sex. Among these girls, the STI prevalence was 40 percent.
  • Even among girls reporting only one lifetime partner, one in five (20.4%) had at least one STI. Girls with three or more partners had a prevalence of over 50 percent. The predominant STI was HPV.

This isn't just a "women's health" issue, is a societal emergency. And that's no fairy tale.

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