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Risk in Sexuality


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I have read many times posters telling others not to do things sexually based on the risk associated with it.


I do agree that risk needs to be assessed. We need to understand the risk and of course the best ways to minimize those risks. But do we allow our fears of the "risk" to shape our sexuality?


In life we are presented with risk everyday. The decisions we make everyday directly impact our lives and our futures. I guess for every risk there is a chance at a reward, and of course every reward has its share of risk. Nothing worth doing is without risk. As some even say the greatest risk of all is in not taking any risks.


So I guess my curiosity is why do we shun so greatly the efforts/activities of sexuality with fears involving risks? Is it that those people who cry about "risk" don't truly understand the reward? At what point do we allow "risk" to dictate us?


We all know about risk takers in life. Those daredevils, who jump out of airplanes, build giant corporations, play sports, drive fast, don’t wear their seatbelts, ect. What about choosing a life partner, committing to love, a lifelong relationship? There is definitely risk associated with those as well.


To understand great love you must be willing to risk great pain. This is true in all aspects of relationships. Think about the great risk to pain you will endure when your life partner is taken away from this world. Or even sadly when they disappoint and hurt us. But do we stop from loving again? Do we then decide to keep all people at arms length away, ensuring less pain if they leave?


In sexuality there are a great number of things to enjoy. There is nothing inherently wrong with sex. Why limit your sexuality? If you like a certain activity, try it. Want to open up sexuality with your partner? Why are you afraid to act on those desires? Fantasies? Why hold yourself back from experiencing great joy? Understand yourself. Be honest with yourself. Base your sexuality on your internal guidelines (morals) not fear.


My point is that to tell people to not do certain things because of the risk is just like saying, "Why jump out of an airplane when you don’t have to." Why climb Mt. Everest? Why start your own business? Why agree to marriage and love? Why have children? It is one thing to point out the risk. Awareness is the key to understanding and taking preventive steps.


I am not advocating careless, open sex with every person you meet (want). Let's not kid ourselves. Sex has risk, and some have pretty harsh consequences (both emotionally and physically). What I am trying to point out is that you decide your sexual interest and levels of comfort (maybe push them a bit). Understand the risk associated and make an informed decision as to pursue or not pursue that sexual lifestyle. If you decide to pursue your sexuality do so by minimizing the risk and maximizing enjoyment.


The only for sure method of avoiding any sexual risk is to abstain from it. But if you do that, you risk nothing, and you will not experience the greatness from it either.

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Because risk is relative - I am not a risk taker when it comes to physical activity but I am far more fearless than the average person when it comes to social interaction.


I was in college when AIDS first spread beyond the homosexual community -when it first became a health crisis. I was still a virgin and had not engaged in any risky activity. It didn't shape my sexuality because I had decided before the crisis that I wanted to wait for marriage (which I ended up not doing, but I did wait until I was 24). Three years later one of my supervisors who was a wonderful man died of AIDs. My hunch is that people in their 20s now may not have experienced a personal friend or colleague dying of AIDs and that might have changed their outlook.


I was not willing to take the risk of getting pregnant where the choice would have most likely had to be abortion - despite being pro-choice I was not personally pro-choice. I was not willing to take the risks of getting herpes or AIDs because I wanted a family someday and knew the risks associated with both STDs and effects on fertility, etc. And there were other health related reasons of course.


As far as being sexually adventurous, I never related personally to that translating to multiple partners - I never enjoyed the idea or experience of variety (as far as experience I never had casual sex or more than a few partners total - and with all it was in the context of long term committed relationships with strong potential for marriage -- but I knew I wouldn't enjoy variety for variety's sake). For me the health risks were part of the decision making process but only part - most of my decision was based on desire or lack of desire and values.


I think advising someone to "take the plunge" isn't that productive because it depends on so many different factors just like the advice "life is risky" or "love requires risks" - to me the relevance is the nature of the risk, the person's life situation, etc which those generalizations don't address. There is a wide spectrum of choices other than abstinence so the argument that "if you won't take risks you'll miss out entirely" doesn't make much sense to me - taking a risk by using the pill and a condom is not the same as taking a risk by using the pull out method, for example.


If someone tells me they definitely do not want children ever (like Rose21) I would feel I was giving bad advice if I advised that person to take too much of a risk as far as birth control because I don't consider abortion to be an appropriate form of birth control.

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It's all about being smart. I'm a nurse in an inner city ER, and let me tell you, there are some dumb people having sex.


Unprotected sex, multiple-multiple partners with no protection, no form of birth control and then wondering why they are pregnant with their 4th child at 24, STDs up the wazoo. INCREDIBLY dumb people.


Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that you can be smart and have a fabulous sex life if that's what you choose to do. Anytime before you have sex you need to prepare yourself--having multiple forms of protection and putting yourself in safe situations.


Now I'm just talking about the physical and health aspects of sex, not the emotional side. That's a whole different ball game. Emotionally, taking a risk and having sex can be extremely fulfilling. Trying different things, seeing what you enjoy and things you won't do ever again. You can have a fulfilling sex life and be smart about it and keeping yourself safe and out of unwanted situations like pregnancy and STDs. We all know what is out there and how to prevent it.


No matter how you cut it, sex is always a risk physically and emotionally, but you can enjoy yourself while keeping yourself safe. Just make sure you can handle the consequences if they should occur.

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I think that a lot of the time, people on ENA lays OUT the risk for the poster asking these questions and then LET THEM decide on their own whether they will go through with it or not. Most of the time, they choose/agree that having promiscuous sex is too much of a risk to take.



Batyaa brought up very good points. A lot of the time, people want sex without thinking about the risks. Pregnancy scare is a big big one.

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But skydiving doesn't involve:


* Potential pregnancy.

* Potential trauma from abortion or adoption.

* Potential life alteration from keeping the baby.

* Potential financial ruin to young men paying 18 years of child support

* Potential broken heart from falling in love with someone who only wants sex.

* Destruction of marriages and relationships.

* Associating with unsavory people who lie about their circumstances to get sex.

* Potential physical dangers from meeting strangers for sex.

* Potential lifetime altering of sexual habits/access to new partners due to STDs like


* Potential life altering and expensive illness like HIV and Hepatitis.

* Potential loss of life due to AIDS and Hepatitis.


There are indeed risks to everything in life, but one has to carefully evaluate the risk vs. the benefits (a cost/benefit analysis). For many, a little fun sex is not worth assuming all that risk.


One mitigates risk by not engaging in sex lightly, or by carefully controlling the number and types of partners one takes into their beds.


Sure, it can be a lot of fun, but then it can also bring huge devastation in people's lives as well, so it doesn't equate to a simple 'sport' though you are trying to make that argument.

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I'm not saying skydiving isn't risky (because it is, obviously since many insurance companies won't even cover you if you skydive and injure or kill yourself), but i am saying that sex involves many more and varied risks, that can have impacts that reverberate throughout one's life so it is not in the same category as a simple sport when evaluating risk.

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Another aspect to the risk factor is when you realize just how many people don't even want to know if they are infected with any stds. I was infected by someone who either didn't know, or didn't care.


So now on my tally of risks I have to consider the risk of infecting someone else, and that risk is too high unless they already have what I have, herpes.


In a way, having hsv has made the decision whether to have sex or not much simpler. Unfortunately it has made it simpler on the don't really ever get to say yes side.


The other phenomenon is that when two people with the exact same set of stds meet there is often an assumption that sex will ensue because it's not often that there is a conscience appeasing opportunity. That really turns me off when the man thinks I'm going to have sex with him just because I haven't had sex in a while.


So, the good news is I am responsible and the bad news is I've learned to lower my expectations regarding sex to nearly nothing.


Some risks, like living with either infecting someone else or having sex regret, just aren't worth it.

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I agree with BSBH.


I am all for having fun in life and I agree that sometimes taking risks can pay off.

However, with skydiving (One assumes)- You go in knowing exactly what you are getting yourself into. You inform yourself and decide whether or not it's for you. You know the risks. And here's the main point- The decision is solely yours and the risks, outcome and experience are at your personal discretion.


Sex involves another person who you have to trust implicity.

Trust that they are telling you the truth, that they have your safety at heart, that they have similar beliefs and reasons for doing it, that they are as educated as you are, and that they've assessed the potential outcomes.

That's a lot of trust to give someone. Especially someone you may or may not know well, if at all.


Some people would have no problem giving that amount of trust to someone.

More power to them. Others (myself included) would not.

It all comes down to personal preference.

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Well I have never had a sexually risque lifestyle, but as far as risk taking, I think some is necessary, but I am not talking about sex. To me no risk of some sort equals no growth as a person.


On the other hand, some people are afraid to cross the county line. So it's a balance.

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I think the difference is that skydiving has risks that are pretty well known. There isn't much ignorance that skydiving is a dangerous sport. So people getting into it are well aware that they are taking a chance.


Not so with casual sex. There is still a lot of misinformation and general lack of awareness of the risks that you take. People need to be made aware of all the risks before they can make that risk/reward determination. Just take a look at how many posts are on the forum that ask "Do you think I could be pregnant?".

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I think the difference is that skydiving has risks that are pretty well known. There isn't much ignorance that skydiving is a dangerous sport. So people getting into it are well aware that they are taking a chance.


Not so with casual sex. There is still a lot of misinformation and general lack of awareness of the risks that you take. People need to be made aware of all the risks before they can make that risk/reward determination. Just take a look at how many posts are on the forum that ask "Do you think I could be pregnant?".


Another good point.

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There are varying degrees of risk, however. Some people are not risk takers, some people are moderate risk takers and some people are very high risk takers. It is like that with many things...from setting up a business, to investment choices to recreational activities. The consequences of success or failure of each type of risky venture has a variety of outcome levels. A high risk taker in investing could lose a major ton of money or they could make a major ton of money. A high risk taker who does extreme sports like skydiving could lose his life or could walk away with thrill of the experience. A high risk taker with sex could have a series of mind-blowing orgasms in many positions with many people or could end up with STDs, a child, an abortion etc and negative repurcussions for life. Some people just don't have the stomach for high risk and life-altering consequences.

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I honestly can not get the point of this thread very well. do you really think people do not risk about sexuality?? can't you see all these unwanted pregnancies, stds? actually they are getting very common and many people are suffering from life changing affects of it. I don't think it is wise to ask for risking more if you have physical risks as a target.

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most of the time when i see people trying to talk other people into 'risking' more for sex, it is someone trying to convert someone else into some non-mainstream sex with random people, like swinging, S&M clubs, extramarital affairs etc.


people can have extremely exciting sex lives and still be faithful to their partner and not swing, but swingers need new converts to keep their sex supply and fresh blood added to their game.


it's also a fallacy to think that couples can't have really exciting and unsual sex lives just because they don't sleep with anyone else but their own partner and do stay faithful to their partner. You can have an extremely exciting (even deviant by some people's standards) sex life without risking sex with strangers or third parties.

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I agree that taking risks is just a part of life, though like you said, there should be an element of safety and knowledge applied to it. The reason why I'm not for really risky sexual lifestyles is because of unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and STD's. Even when being safe there is still risk that any of the above can happen. Also, we need to decrease the rate of STD's. I don't know the stats but it seems like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes are up every year. To be honest, I'm kind of fed up with it, experiencing chlaymydia twice this summer. It's ridiculous, the person i got it from you would never suspect she had anything- really clean, sweet, outgoing. And I used a condom for cying out loud! You just don't know anymore. Anyone can have a STD, and honestly it's just not worth it anymore.


So yea, I'm frustrated that it has be like this, so I don't support open sexuality because if were more people were aware of this epidemic, there probably would be less of a percentage of STD's.

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