I have a really, really weird sexual background.
Oh no wait, that is not what I mean.
I was raised in a context where many people did not ever have sex outside of marriage, and went through life married to one person who also never had sex outside of marriage.
And this sort of sexual deviance (from the apparent norm in the United States) continues even today!
But for those raised in contexts where they saw their parents have multiple sexual partners and their health classes teach that it is only a matter of time before everyone catches some sort of STI (so you need to be really, really careful kids!) it can be unthinkable to consider the health care situation of the sexually monogamous.
SIDE NOTE: this is the point where I offend 90% of my readers by explaining that for this post, “monogamous” means only having one sexual partner over the course of one’s life. We will also assume that that sexual partner is also monogamous, and then offend all of the good upstanding Christians by excluding them from consideration by labeling them as “serial monogamists” or “converts to monogamy” or something else equally offensive which brings back nightmarish memories of the 2008 Republican Presidential primary when people wept tears of outrage over the realization that–Lord Have MERCY–the MORMON was the only truly monogamous one! And now that you understand how the term “monogamous” is being used for this post, let’s return to being deadly serious. Because, issues of health care are ultimately deadly.
This post, my (former) friends, is to educate you on (a few of) the realities of health care for the monogamous. I may not agree with the decisions in all of the cases described below, but they are all at least reasonable decisions given the circumstances.
So now, a peek into the bedrooms doctor’s offices of the monogamous.
Vaccines against STIs (such as Gardasil and Cervarix and any others that may come along eventually) are stupid. Of course they may or may not be good for “other people” but it makes no sense to subject a now-abstinent future-monogamous young person to them. After all, they will not ever be exposed to these STIs, and in the case that they should choose to marry someone who is, er, reformed, then they will have their engagement to get all of the vaccines.
There are fewer possible causes to consider when dealing with fertility issues. While just about no one actually thinks that their sexual history could possibly impact their fertility (after all, we all only slept with 2.2 people who looked very hygienic and always relied on synthetic materials which are 80% effective at preventing the transfer of STIs!) a doctor is more likely to be convinced that that is actually true if one has been monogamous.
When it comes to actually having babies, various tests and treatments for both mother and baby (all with their own minor risks) can be declined. Again, it is a completely different situation for a woman and her partner who are actually monogamous, compared with those of us who just feel good about our sexual history and know that we couldn’t possibly have anything like that to risk transmitting to our perfect little babies!
Speaking of babies, you can safely have more babies without stressing as much about your cervical health. Giving birth to three or more children increases your risk of cervical cancer. But you can give birth 20 times and cervical cancer will probably be no where near on your doctor’s list of worries if you are monogamous. That is not to say they won’t have lots of other worries about you, but that is beside the point.
And best of all, fewer Pap tests! Most women should have Pap tests every two years, but health care providers should be fine with few to none for women who really have virtually no risk whatsoever for cervical diseases.
There are, of course, many more differences, but I am a 25-year-old with no medical training, and who really needs to know more anyway?
The point is simply that you should know that health care is rightly different for couples who are sexually monogamous. Women in particular need to know their partner’s sexual history and whether they have been exposed to STIs despite only ever engaging in sexual activity with one man.
And while I am on the topic, let’s not pretend that exposure to STIs is a one-time-and-it-is-settled-forever thing. Previous stupid actions in which you risked exposure do not guarantee disease transmission. You (or your innocent, unknowing spouse) may have gotten lucky in a way which actually counts. So please don’t act as if there is no point in seeking testing and treatment and being smarter in the future. There is a point: your actions now matter for your health, regardless of what you have or have not done in the past.
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