Afroman - Theres a price 2 pay
Is There a Price to Pay for Promiscuity?
Society puts an emphasis on sexuality — but casual sex can impact your physical and emotional health in ways that you may not suspect.
By Chris Iliades, MD
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
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Can promiscuity threaten your longevity? The short answer is yes. Having a large number of sexual partners has been linked to poor sexual health and decreased longevity. Why? The more sexual partners you have, the greater your risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening conditions like prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and oral cancer.
"Promiscuity is one example of a class of high-risk behaviors,” says Deirdre Lee Fitzgerald, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. “It is comparable to, and may coincide with, behaviors such as heavy drinking, gambling, and other thrill-seeking behaviors like driving too fast."
Why do people have many sexual partners? It's exciting, Fitzgerald says, or, among their peers, it’s a kind of activity that brings them status. Another reason: It helps “them avoid dealing with other challenging emotional issues.”
Promiscuity’s Impact on Your Physical Health
Don’t believe the myths that you can't get STDs unless you have sexual intercourse or that you can't get them from oral or anal sex. Many viruses and bacteria that cause STDs can enter your bloodstream through tiny cuts in your mouth, anus, or the outer parts of your genitals.
Here a rundown of physical risks you face from promiscuity:
- STDs.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 19 million new STD infections occur each year. Among the most common STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, but the most common of all is the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can infect the mouth or the genitals, and most people do not know they are infected. HPV has been linked to cervical cancer and to oral and throat cancers.
- HIV and AIDS.Being promiscuous and having STDs both increase your susceptibility to the AIDS virus. Despite better education and treatment, AIDS still killed more than 14,000 Americans in 2007.
- Other health conditions.If promiscuity is combined with other risky behaviors like smoking, heavy drinking, substance abuse, not getting enough sleep, and poor diet, it can contribute to several chronic diseases including heart disease.
- Physical abuse.Research shows the couples who are in long-term relationships are much less likely to suffer from domestic violence.
How Promiscuity Affects Emotional Health
One myth about promiscuity is that most men have many more sexual partners than women. The truth, studies show, is that by age 44, the average man has had about seven sexual partners and the average woman has had four. About 33 percent of men and 9 percent of women report having more than 10 sexual partners in their lifetime. Having many more partners than average is considered a sexual health risk.
And that risk extends to your emotional health as well. "The impact of these high risk behaviors on one’s emotional health includes making dangerous choices that lead to more and more risk. This cycle can lead to problems with self-concept, ineffective relationships, and even depression," notes Fitzgerald.
With depression, the door swings both ways: Promiscuity may actually be a symptom of depression. And obviously, having multiple sexual partners makes it difficult to sustain a healthy relationship. Studies show that people in long-term, healthy relationships enjoy better health and greater longevity.
Despite the emphasis that society puts on sexuality, the best emotional, physical, and sexual health can be found in long-term relationships. If you find yourself jumping from relationship to relationship, you should consider the price you could be paying in both sexual health and longevity.
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