Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Reality of STDs

WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS

The recent DUI arrest of the black porn actor Mr. Marcus, made me think about the syphilis outbreak he started in the porn world last year. The controversy erupted when he altered a positive syphilis test so he could continue working. The adult film industry notoriously prefers there actors perform without condoms, so  it is no surprise that his indiscretion caused an epidemic on the set. Mr. Marcus claimed he thought it was okay because his doctor told him he would not be contagious after taking a penicillin shot for at least 10 days.  Seems like a lame excuse and dangerous lie so that he could selfishly keep working.

When it comes to contracting a sexually transmitted disease, ignorance is not bliss.  There are highly contagious STDs  that are prevalent in the black community that we cannot ignore. Do not think for one second "it can't happen to me". We must be vigilant and take the precautions to keep our sexual health in order such as; knowing your status and your partner's, using condoms and dental dams  or practicing abstinence. Even a porn actor who has sex on film for a living is hesitant to discuss STDs. We have to eliminate the shame and embarrassment and be proactive when it comes to our sexual health. Here are some of the most common diseases lurking within our sexual community.

Syphilis.  The CDC estimates that approximately 56, 000 people are infected with syphilis each year.  The infection is transmitted from person to person in direct contact with the syphilis sores.  A blood test can determine if someone has caught syphilis. Syphillis can be cured with antibiotics but someone should not engage in any sexual activity until the sores are completely healed. Condoms can only help prevent the infection if it covers the areas where sores appear.
Syphilis sore on penis.
Syphilis sore on tongue

Gonorrhea.  A strain of gonorrhea has surfaced which is being labelled a "sex superbug.  The strain is resistant  to antibiotic drugs normally prescribed to treat gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.  The CDC reports that sexually active teenagers, young adults and Blacks are at high risk to contract gonorrhea. If gonorrhea goes untreated in men and women they risk never being able to have children

Human Papillomarivus Virus (HPV).  Certain strains of HPV can develop into cervical cancer and genital warts. Young women between 11 and 26 are recommended to go get the HPV vaccination.  The vaccinations do not prevent all HPV types, so cervical cancer screening is still important. The CDC advises that the only sure way to prevent HPV is abstinence.  Fidelity or pretty much two virgins getting together are the next best prevention.  Condoms can lower the risk but the disease can be contracted through skin to skin contact.

Genital Herpes.  The CDC estimates that 766,000 people are infected with the Herpes Simplex Virus each year.  There is no cure.  The virus is contracted through oral, anal and vaginal sex. Condoms can reduce the infection that causes painful sores but it is not full proof.  Abstinence and long-term monogamous relationships are most effective in preventing Herpes.

Check out cdc.gov for more info.



Friday, May 3, 2013

5 Deal Breakers

Jitter Bug by William H. Johnson

When I meet a new potential love interest I start imagining what the future would be like with this individual in my life.  I am not going as far as walking down the aisle but more like questioning our compatibility.  Will I be able to have a conversation with him without  thoughts of eating a sandwich or taking a nap to distract me? Will I enjoy rolling in the sheets with him?  Are my friends and family going to think he is weird? Shit, am I going to think he is weird? Dating someone new can be filled with nervous hesitation but at the same time rejuvenating anticipation. It is refreshing when you meet someone and there is a mutual attraction.  Naturally you decide to get together in order to learn a little more about each other before jumping off the bridge holding hands.  I am old school and do not believe in developing a relationship through texting, instant messaging, or Skype.   I need face to face contact as soon as possible.  There are times I think I am shallow, maybe I should ease up on my criteria for the opposite sex. But when I think about it there is nothing wrong with wanting someone to click with. So I have chosen to stick steadfast to five deal breakers that may or not be keeping me single.

1.  The Teetotaler.   I like to drink.  I can go a couple weeks without touching alcohol if I choose to; but when I am ready, I like to get my drink on.  A glass of pinot noir can add a special touch to my day.  I commend those who abstain from alcohol for whatever reason. We all have our convictions and should stick to them.  I just prefer not to date or get into a relationship with a man who doesn't touch alcohol.  Why?  I believe at some point he will try to get me to stop.  It may start off as acceptance but it turns into that condemning look you get when you are heading out for a night with the girls.

2. B.O.   I can't date a funky man.  He could pass as The Rock's twin, but if he smells like the inside of a sweaty locker room even after he showers, I am out.  We all have our moments when we don't smell like a bouquet of roses, but when it is 24/7, that can be a problem.This is a touchy subject. One of the hardest things to tell someone you like is, "you stink."  So it is better to escape before it gets to deep.

3.  Chain Smoker. The smell of Nicotine on a man's breath and clothing is not sexy to me.

4.  Bad With Money.  It is damn near impossible to achieve a perfect credit score, but If a man insists on buying Gucci and Louis Vuitton even though he is forced to ride the bus while he lives in his mama's basement, I'll keep it moving.

5.  Two left feet.  He has to have rhythm on the dance floor.  I am not expecting Usher or Chris Brown.  Just someone that can follow the music.  I am no Ciara but I have a little rhythm and enjoy dancing with a man that is in sync.  It allows my mind to wander to what moves he would put on me when we are dancing in the sheets.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What I Learned from a Gay Man.


The minute I read that an active NBA player was coming out the closet, I thought my eyes deceived me.  No way did a professional athlete in a widely popular sport have the nerve to out themselves while they were still playing. I am a fan of the NBA, but I had no idea who Jason Collins was. He can be commended for opening a dialogue that is so necessary. I am sure he is relieved that he doesn't have to live a lie. An athlete being gay does not bother me at all.  But what stood out for me was that this brother was on the down low.  His ex-fiancee gave him 8 years of her life.

Black men hiding their sexuality in the closet is nothing new. I read J.L. King's "On the Down Low, A Journey into the Lives of Black Men Who Sleep With Men", from front to back without blinking an eye.  It got passed around so much among my female friends, that I have no idea who has it in their possession today.  Prior to the book's release in 2005, the down low issue within the black community was mostly touched on by fictional authors such as the late E. Lynn Harris and James Earl Hardy.

It wasn't just a book that really opened my eyes to men on the down low; it was an openly gay black man.   Every time we went out together, he would pick up some of the finest black men.   One night after he hooked up with a  tall dark chocolate Adonis, I had to ask him how he knew a man he just met was gay. After all we were not hanging out at gay bars or clubs.  He said it was all in the eye contact. If a glance lingered just a little longer he knew the brother was down. He was very attracted to seemingly "straight" men and had no problem pulling them.  I later learned that the Adonis who he banged the next night was married with two young children.  No book could prepare me for that.  To see it unfold before my eyes was enlightening.  The following month I saw a different man he hooked up with out on a date with a woman.  I learned that you cannot assume anything in a relationship.

I doubt Jason Collins will be the Jackie Robinson for gay professional athletes, you have to be a bigger name for that to happen.  His revelations are a step in the right direction.  But I still have to think about the women that invest their time in brothers like him, only to be told their relationship was a lie.  He is not saying I am bi-sexual he is declaring that he is gay. Hopefully there will come a day when gay people do not have to hide within the facade of a heterosexual relationship.