Safe sex shields against disease, but not heartbreak

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Illustration by: Ashley Fairbourne


It is no secret that there are many types of protection available to sexually active people to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. But what many don’t take into account before climbing into bed with someone is that there are other risks involved that are far more difficult to avoid.

A certain UVU girl met a certain UVU guy and they began seeing each other fairly regularly. She was a virgin but had decided he was the right guy and decided she wanted to sleep with him. The relationship lasted a few months longer, but her friends and family began pointing out that he didn’t treat her well.

When she stepped back to look at the situation she could see that the people close to her were right. He hardly made time in his day to see her unless she came to him, he never told her she looked pretty and he never made any real effort to keep the relationship going.

The communication was dwindling and she secretly suspected him of being interested in other girls.

Now, this UVU girl wasn’t a stranger to having a boyfriend. In high school she’d had a handful, but when the relationship went south with them she was able to walk away. For some reason she wasn’t able to do that with this guy.

To try cutting him out of her life was monumentally more difficult than it had been with men in her past, ones she even felt that she loved deeply. What was so different this time?

Dr. Arun Ghosh, a specialist in sexual health, explained the peculiar effects of the hormone oxytocin, which is released in multitudes during a female orgasm.

The hormone has the ability to create trusting bonds and lower defenses regardless of if the person they are with is actually good news for them. The hormone cannot tell if the person you are in bed with will give you marriage, a baby and a white picket fence like you’ve always wanted, or if he is going to disappear the next day and never call again.

Men release a pleasure hormone called dopamine when they have sex and, though it is still powerful, it doesn’t create as intense a connection. Both hormones have their advantages and disadvantages.

But it begs the question, is sex ever really safe?

Something is always at risk, something is always vulnerable. Maybe you use protection and you are free from health risks but how can you know exactly how you will feel after? Can you protect your heart ahead of time for the risk of feeling more than you signed up for?

For this UVU girl, her body was telling her that this guy was the one she would spend her life with, while he probably didn’t worry much if they lasted the rest of the semester. While the guys in her past were far easier to move past, this guy was not because of the physical connection they had made.

Plato was quoted once as saying, “Love is a serious mental disease”. It’s a disease that no antibiotic can cure. While condoms and other measures can protect against chlamydia or gonorrhea, they cannot protect you from lovesickness.

Just make sure to always play it safe with everything, including your heart.

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