Archive | December, 2013

A Sexologist’s Take on Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and His Recent Remarks in GQ Magazine

19 Dec

MLBPlayersDuckDynastyEarlier this morning I shared a post, not unlike many other people on Facebook, about Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and his anti-gay remarks in the upcoming January 2014 issue of GQ Magazine. What followed can only be described as a fiery battle of strong opinions. For those who may not aware of what recently transpired, here is a quick recap of his comments.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

And then later in the article-

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

When I first read the article, I simply thought how disappointing. How disappointing that there are still these views and opinions in the world and how disappointing that they are strongly defended and perpetuated by so many. Robertson’s understanding of homosexual lifestyle is completely lacking. He is a product of his environment and probably has no other experience with sexualities other than his own. Homosexuality is more than just sex. While sex can be a pleasurable supplement to someone’s sexuality, it is also important to note that emotion and attraction just a few of the many other aspects that make up someone’s sexuality. Also, homosexuality is not ‘the gateway drug’ to bestiality or multiple partners.

We live in a heteronormative society and when situations like this arise, I think it is important for all of us to reevaluate what we think we know about sexuality. Stereotypes and misinformation only suppress the LGBT community and we as a society cannot think to move forward if we do not address them. I’m not saying that it wasn’t within Robertson’s rights to say what he did, but it should be no surprise to anyone why A&E has taken action against him. We live in a different time now and it is one that is evolving to be inclusive, accepting, and informed.

World AIDS Day 2013: What We Know and Where We Are Headed

1 Dec

World AIDS Day logo

First reported in 1981 as a rare lung infection, what we now know as AIDS has become a worldwide epidemic. Scientists believe the virus originated from Western Africa. According to recent studies, it is thought that HIV may have jumped from monkeys to humans as far back as the late 1800’s (aids.gov).

A common misconception is that people think you immediately contract AIDS when you are exposed (I will elaborate on exposure below) to someone who had AIDS, but you actually contract HIV.  HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The short version is that this virus infects your body, attacks your T-cells and uses them to replicate themselves and repeat the process. When your T-cell number gets to a certain low threshold, you are diagnosed with AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

HIV is found in blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), breast milk, vaginal fluids, and anal mucous. It can be transmitted by-

  • Sexual Contact
  • Injection Drug Use
  • Pregnancy, Childbirth, & Breast Feeding
  • Blood Transfusion/Organ Transplant
  • Accidental Exposure (i.e. needle stick)

Transmission occurs when there is contact to a mucous membrane, cut, or sore. The most common ways that transmission occurs are through sexual contact (oral, vaginal, anal), sharing needles, or through childbirth.

While HIV/AIDS seems grim, it isn’t a death sentence. There are treatments for HIV/AIDS and many people can live out a relatively normal life. Antiretroviral therapy (‘The Cocktail’) is used to treat HIV. This can help extend your life, lower your chances of developing a non HIV-related illness, and help reduce the chance you will transmit the virus to others. If diagnosed with HIV, it is very important to seek medical attention to get on a treatment plan. Taking the prescribed medications from your health care provider is imperative to keep you healthy as long as possible.

It is very easy to reduce your risk of exposure by knowing your status. Get tested. You have nothing to lose by doing it and everything to gain. In this instance, ignorance is not bliss. You cannot tell by looking at someone if they are infected or not.

Using a barrier is a fantastic way to help prevent contact with fluids that can transmit the virus. Barriers include condoms (male and female) and dental dams. Latex and polyurethane are the best materials for prevention. Lambskin condoms, which are a natural material, have a permeable membrane which impede sperm from crossing because they are too large, but HIV, which is much smaller, and can cross through. Also, it is important to not share needles.

We (the world) have made great progress against the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but there is still much that needs to be done. Prevention is key, but we need to focus on the lessening the stigma that comes with an HIV diagnosis. With advocacy, education, and testing we can hope to reduce the number of new infections. Currently MSM (men who have sex with men, all races and ethnicities) and African Americans are at the highest risk for transmission. The CDC estimates that there are 1.1 million people in the United States who are infected with HIV, and here is the kicker, nearly one in five of those infected are not aware that they are infected.

While this is not as lighthearted as many of my posts, the message is just as important. There is so much more to be said about this epidemic, but I wanted to get the basics out there. My hope is that you will take away the following-

  • Know your status. Get tested
  • Practice safer sex
  • Never share needles
  • Know that HIV is not a death sentence
  • And, education and advocacy can help reduce future transmissions

Resources

World AIDS Day

Planned Parenthood HIV/AIDS Guide

CDC HIV/AIDS Information

NIH AIDS Information

Infographic on HIV/AIDS today in the United States

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