How STD Stigma Negatively Affects Men

Muncie, Indiana Blog – The term “toxic masculinity” is thrown around a lot nowadays by the media and feminist journalistic communities. This isn’t necessarily unfair or unfounded — after all, people like Harvey Weinstein got away with their abusive actions for years before any allegations were taken seriously. While it’s easy to feel attacked when people use this to describe guys, I first started to understand the concept when talking to a friend who had just discovered he had HIV and was afraid of how his male friends would perceive him.

There are a lot of social stigmas around sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs), many of which might challenge your strength and your pride. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The social stigmas surrounding STDs exacerbate the problem more than they help it. So with all of that said, here are some things to focus on that may put you at ease about them and improve your sex life in healthy and radical ways.

Pride in Your Sexuality

There is a typically lot of pride in male sex lives, and anything that threatens that is scary to a lot of us. Straight men tend to lie about the number of women they’ve slept with — that is, they play up the numbers. Anything from equipment size to types of dysfunction poses a threat to their pride and is rarely talked about. The locker room talk, external or internal, is where many men find their validation.

Additionally, homophobia plays into one’s sexual pride — that is, some men avoid getting tested due to fear people will think they’re gay if they are found with certain diseases. While it’s true that different communities are affected differently from certain STDs, diseases you contract don’t typically have to do with what kind of sex you’re having as much as they do your safety in having it. Your prejudice isn’t helping anyone, and certainly not yourself.

Being too prideful can not only ruin your sex life, but it can decrease the pleasure and fun your partner has as well! Adding STDs and STIs into that mix is not good, and if left unchecked, your sex life, the thing you’re most worried about, could be gone faster than you think.

Fear of Your Weaknesses

It can be scary to think your strength is threatened, especially as a man. Some would argue that men are conditioned to put unhealthy stock in their strengths. This contributes to problems like the mass shootings we’re experiencing as a country. For this reason, STDs are scary — they show you’re weak and many times they physically break you down. A lot of STDs and STIs have symptoms similar to flu, and others have much more irregular and uncomfortable symptoms. But almost all of them, if gone unchecked, can have devastating consequences.

If you ever want to get your strength back — and your sex life — you’ll need to man up and get tested. It’s much weaker to not face your weaknesses than it is to face them, and you can do it, dude. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, but you can certainly make it that if you don’t handle it responsibly.

Outsider Syndrome

Culturally, men have this view that sex is an absolute necessity for personal validation. Anything that challenges that notion can make us feel like an outsider. However, STDs are extremely common, and they do dismantle your sex life, if only for a time. In addition to dethroning sex as the measure of one’s personal value, we need to start talking about sexual health and normalizing the conversations around safe sex so we can address the problem of STDs and STIs.

Understand this: you’re not an outsider for having an STD, in fact, it’s pretty normal. Yes, it’s a problem, but the time to address it is now, for the fulfillment of our sex lives and our own mental health regarding them.

Your “Good Sex” Days Aren’t Over

You are never too young or old to switch up your sex life and start practicing more healthy sexual habits. It may surprise you, but STDs are even a problem in elderly communities! People of all ages and backgrounds are learning how to proceed with this issue, so having an STD — temporary or permanent — does not necessarily mean the rest of your life has to be sexless.

Address your STDs now and learn to keep your sex life active and pleasant. And if you have a story or tip for recovering from problems with STDs, then please let us know in the comments below!


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Brooke Faulkner is a mother of two and wilderness enthusiast. When she's not writing, she can usually be found zipping around the mountains on her ATV.

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