The informed" part of self-responsible sex includes adequate preparation and protection for disease prevention and birth control. Amazingly, despite education in other domains, many intelligent adults are ill-informed or simply careless about sex. They use no birth control. The responsibility cannot be laid at the feet of either partner - ("She's a responsible woman; she must have taken precautions") - but requires the conscientiousness of both or all concerned.* The epidemic proportions of venereal disease reflect this same carelessness. With the spread of the AIDS virus, misinformation about how it can be contracted has also spread - along with massive denial about who might have it. Thinking that AIDS is solely confined to the homosexual male population is one of the gravest misunderstandings around. Since 2003, in certain parts of the world the number of women infected with the virus has outnumbered the number of men infected. AIDS affects everyone.
While we may speak frankly about sex in general, there is still an unromantic aura attached to straight talk about preferred methods of birth control, and the health aspects of intercourse. Far from diminishing the excitement of sex, this kind of communication can actually serve to bring the partners closer together, increasing mutual respect and engendering a deeper tenderness.
* For information about birth control, contact any local office of Planned Parenthood; call (800) 230-7526 for the office nearest you. Also see www.plannedparenthood.org.