Nature appears to be on the side of males. Although the issue is still largely unresolved, traditional thought has it that a man’s body is less likely to be invaded by marauding bacteria than a woman’s. That’s because a woman’s vagina is dark, warm and moist—conditions under which bacteria thrive. Can’t say that about a penis. Plus, urination helps flush out whatever gets inside a man’s member.
On the flip side, men claim to have far more sexual partners over time than women, putting them at greater risk of exposure. While no one can say definitively whether men get STDs more or less than women, there is absolutely no question that if you have sex, you are susceptible. So here’s how to avoid the potential dangers.
Consider abstaining. Life offers few promises, but abstaining from sex pretty much guarantees you won’t get an STD. Unless you are in a healthy, monogamous relationship, you may want to contemplate sleeping alone until you meet that special someone you think you might have a future with.
Watch the numbers. Obviously, abstention isn’t for everyone. A 3,432-person study conducted through the National Opinion Research Center found that more than 50 percent of men claim to have had five or more sex partners after age 18.
Time to face up to facts: The more sexually active you are, the greater your potential risk for contracting an STD. And you don’t have to be a Don Juan or have a new partner each week to be at risk, says Robert E. Johnson, M.D., a research scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “For most people it’s the fact that they’re changing partners once every year or two,” Dr. Johnson says.
Count on prescription relief. Since the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s, diseases that had plagued men for centuries suddenly could be cured or controlled. So if you do contract an STD, there’s probably no need to take religious vows—just medication.
“Even with most advanced cases of gonorrhea or chlamydia, you can treat them and get good results,” Ingram says. “Just don’t slip in during the dark of night, get your treatment and disappear,” she adds. “You’ll need follow-up treatments and blood work” to confirm the treatment has worked.
Men’s Health-Erectile Dysfunction