I used to think it was a myth, but  indeed a form of male hormonal contraceptive (MHC) is in the making. The MHC, which is estimated to become available in 3 years and FDA approved in 5, will be offered in a variety of different forms, such as a pill, patch, injection or implant, much like female birth control. A two-year study being conducted in California has proved the pill to be effective, with very few side effects (some men report slight nausea and weight gain, side effects similar to female oral contraceptives).

This new form of birth control opens up a variety of different doors in the realm of safe sex,  complete with both positives and negatives. On the bright side, men will now have a condom-free option of controlling unwanted pregnancies. And, for couples in committed relationships who have been tested for STDs and don’t feel the need to wear condoms, the man can take responsibility when it comes to preventing pregnancy.  Plus, I can’t wait to see some men on those obnoxious birth control pill commercials (they’re much funnier in europe).

However, I feel male birth control will only be productive in committed, monogamous relationships.  It will obviously decrease the popularity of condoms (because no one actually enjoys wearing those anyways) and therefor it could  increase the likelihood of STDs. I am constantly lecturing female friends about the importance of condoms, because often girls who are on the pill feel a false sense of safety when it comes to casual sex, especially if they get a few drinks in them and their decision making-skills become impaired. Likewise, it shocks me the amount of men who agree to have random  condomless sex with a girl who is on the pill, as if STDs don’t even register in either of their heads.

In a study done in England, researchers asked both men and women if they felt that men could be trusted to be in charge of taking a contraceptive. Results were not such a big surprise; the men felt capable, but women doubted they could be trusted to take the pill daily.

I also wonder if the male pill would have similar side effects to the female pill when it comes to picking partners. Studies have shown that women naturally prefer the scent of a man whose genes are dissimilar from her own, which gives the offspring of said woman and man a better chance of survival (stronger immune systems, etc). However, women who are on birth control seem to be chemically confused, and choose men with genes similar to their own. Will the results be the same when men too are on the pill? Natural sexual selection will be thrown even further off course. 

Whenever (if ever) MHC comes out on the market, I feel safe-sex campaigns will have to work extra hard to prevent STD-rates from skyrocketing.  However, I know I would be excited to get off the pill, not have to use a condom, and keep my belly baby-free. For anyone still out in the casual dating world (or a super-drunk, super-sexed college environment), condoms should always be the number one choice for contraception regardless of who is on what type of pill.

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Published in my column Sex, or Something Like It in the February issue of  The Lynchburg Current.

After Tiger Wood’s recent fall from grace, and Dr. Drew Pinsky’s VH1 reality series, Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew, the nation has become more aware of a type of addiction that is more prevalent than drugs or alcohol; sex.

When most people hear the term ‘sex addiction’ they probably imagine some deranged nymphomaniac or pervert. However, sex addiction can happen to anyone, at any age, and as college students we are extremely vulnerable…Dr. Pinsky defines the addiction as a type of intimacy disorder, for people who become addicted to sex are often unfamiliar with what it means to truly become intimate with another person. Instead they focus on sex, substituting it for intimacy and inevitably becoming addicted to it, as they struggle to feel any type of connection with someone else.

“It is one of the problems of our time,” Pinsky explained in a 2009 interview with Oprah. “We’ve just been through a period of history where sexuality was viewed as a revolution and [people thought] it’s okay to do whatever you’re into, but the fact is, sexuality has become a drug in our culture.”

A college campus provides the perfect setting for the start of a sex addiction; an environment with hundreds of strangers who many nights of the week are looking to get drunk, get out there and make deep, soulful connections with one another, right? Wrong. How many people know a girl who just can’t seem to realize that sleeping with a guy won’t make him like her? Or a guy who feels the need to get with a different girl (or three) every weekend?

A freshman in college is thrown into a setting where for the first time in their lives they can make decisions completely for themselves, from what classes to take, what clubs or teams to join, to what brand of booze they can afford (a handle of Burnett’s is only thirteen dollars, and I have a theory you can also run your car on it…) For the first time in their lives, students are doing what they want, and who they want, whenever they want to do it. Everyone around them is doing the same, looking good (maybe?), and ready to get out there and have a good time. If you throw alcohol into the mix, subtract a large amount of clothing and nearly all inhibition, you inevitably end up with copious amounts of sex.

And for some it doesn’t matter, and they have an easy time differentiating sex with a real connection. However, for those young adults who are trying to find a real connection in casual sex, they may end up with a problem with sex addiction before they have even packed on their signature freshman fifteen. (Just because the ice cream machine is on during breakfast, doesn’t mean it is an appropriate breakfast food). Substituting human interaction with random sex, someone struggling with sex addiction simply can’t get any peace if they’re not gettin’ a piece.

If you think you know someone who suffers from sex addiction, try locking them in their dorm room for the weekend without a phone or internet connection, because phone sex and Skype sex can fuel sex addiction too. No, don’t do that, but maybe you should talk to them about why it is they can’t seem to function without a couple used condoms in the garbage under their lofted bed(because you are using condoms, right? Right?).

 If you yourself think you may be en route to a serious sex addiction, try giving it up for the new year, or buying a huge medical book on STDs and peruse it before you head out on the weekends. If none of that works, seek counseling, because sex addiction can seriously damage your mental and physical health, wreak havoc on your relationships, and turn you into a creepy middle aged nymph with emotional issues and an account on AshleyMadison.com.

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Here is a little sneak peak at the The Current’s January issue of Sex, or Something Like It. I put it up here for those of you who don’t have the luxery of being able to drop by Lynchburg College campus and pick up a hard copy of the paper.

When the nation is going through a period of recession, it’s a terrible time to attempt a plethora of things, including looking for a job, selling your house and joining the realm of the real world by graduating college (hello, student loans). However, a recession proves to be the perfect time for one thing: sex.

For a variety of reasons, when the economy plunges, condom sales soar. According to U.SNews.com, condom sales rose a whopping six percent in 2009. One possible reason condoms seem to be recession proof is that people are choosing to spend their evenings nesting; they hibernate at home under the covers, as opposed to out at bars and pricey  restaurants. No matter the stability of our economy, people still want to connect and feel good and now more than ever they want to do it inexpensively. What better way then with a little lovin’. Also, during recessions, people are scared. As individuals stress over their jobs, rents and dwindling savings accounts, they may turn to sex to relieve some of the tension piling higher than the bills on their kitchen counters.

Of course, the most obvious explanation of the surplus of condom sales is that condoms are designed to prevent pregnancies (duh..) and it’s not such a smart idea to start a family in the middle of a recession. Couples all over the country, even those who are married, are taking extra precautions to keep the baby bumps out of their T-shirts and the maternity clothes on the rack at Target, because damn, diapers are expensive!

However, condoms are not the only pleasure product to maintain popularity during economic crisis. TG’s Lingerie, Lynchburg’s own (and only) novelty shop, has had such great business over the last few years that they have been able to renovate, expanding their shop to nearly double its size.  For Babeland, a popular swanky sex shop in New York, business has never been better. “Sales are up seven percent in the last months in stores and on the website compared to the last three months of last year,” confirms Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah.

Whatever the reason, when a recession hits, people take to bed, because even if they are unemployed and living in their parents basements, at least they are getting some

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