I like every part except “decision-making that would enable YOUNG WOMEN to protect themselves and say no.” What, young men have no responsibility in this decision making process? We have got to move past this idea that women must constantly be on guard against the dangers of sex. Here’s why:
If women are always told that they must “protect themselves” and “say no” this leaves no room (or hinders their ability) to experience sexual desire. If all we are telling women is to say ‘no’ to things they never try to figure out when they want to say yes. Their only reasons to say ‘yes’ are not for their own pleasure but to keep their (ostensibly) male partner happy.
If men are told that their only motivation in sexual contact is pleasure and multiple partners, they engage in risky sex by not using condoms while possibly having sex with many different partners. Women are caught in a bind of “keeping themselves safe” and making male partners happy by helping them engage in what they think is appropriate/natural sexual behavior for men.
Decision making should be about a) understanding risks and b) having the agency to engage in what you feel comfortable with. We shouldn’t just say “OHMIGOD! Use condoms dumbass!” because if someone doesn’t they’ll feel guilty and not want to go get tested because of the guilt.
Better to say: “Condoms are the best way to prevent STDs during intercourse of any type. If you don’t use them, get tested, as many STDs are treatable.” Instilling fear and shame leads people to hiding. Hiding means that an otherwise treatable/manageable STD can spread through the body and cause lots of damage.
P.S. If you have unprotected sex, do not have unprotected sex with another partner for AT LEAST 6-8 weeks. Many STDs are the most transmissible and sometimes hard to detect during that time frame. (ie HIV).
Risk management yo. It’s what the cool kids do.