Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friends with Even More Benefits?

The term "Friend with Benefits" has been around for years, but is it more common than ever? And why are public health experts concerned?

According to a new study by a University of Iowa professor, published last month in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, these types of hookups or casual relationships lead away from monogamy and toward more STDs. The concern is that that people who have nonromantic, or casual, relationships tend to have several partners at one time -- "concurrency," in sexual behavior lingo -- in contrast to those in romantic relationships, who tend to be more monogamous.

This may seem obvious, but in the context of less education about contraception and more avenues to hook up, either with friends or casual acquaintances, the behavior is even more dangerous. Funding for sex ed in schools has been slashed in favor of abstinence, but young people are connecting on Facebook and elsewhere, more than ever. We think we're invincible, and the friends we've known since middle school are clean, aren't they?

Since we can't battle hormones and technology, let's just start talking about communicating our needs and protecting ourselves. "We encourage people be aware of the potential for sexual concurrency and take appropriate precautions to avoid sexually transmitted infections," the study said.

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