I think this topic may be my most consistent post. Happy decade of annual posts to me! TEN years in a row I have managed to address the ills of this “holiday.” That’s exciting, and even though I’m very tired and short of time, here’s me making it happen.
I try each year to convey why Valentine’s Day is fake and ultimately negative. See my “Valentine’s” Tag for prior topics which include feminism, environment, and capitalism among other things. I really do hate this “holiday” and hope I won’t have to be inundated with it at work Saturday. Hair salons are the WORST on Valentine’s day, followed by schools, but I imagine the YMCA will not be able to ignore the day, and I’m dreading that. This year I will focus on. . . Sex. The inevitable conclusion of the day. How could I have just remembered to write about THIS?!
-the holiday emphasizes the man wining/dining and spoiling women with gifts. This emphasizes women as receivers, and passive. It also is a little prostitution-positive = You give me (women) valuable things and I’ll have sex with you (men)!
So we can ascertain that all the Valentine’s hype DOES in fact lead to this logical conclusion: Sex. And as we know there are a lot of consequences of sex, and contemplating and preventing those issues is notoriously not our strong point as humans. Here is some information about some of those–which do play a part on February 14th.
-In their study, Grimley and her colleagues focused on 224 men — all with STD symptoms — who sought treatment in a Birmingham STD clinic. The average age was 26. In face-to-face, private interviews, each was asked the same set of questions. Among them:
How often have you used a condom in the past month?
How long have you been using condoms?
Do you have any intention of starting condom use?
Why do you use condoms?
Do you wear condoms for STD prevention or to protect your partner from pregnancy and disease?
Why don’t you use condoms?
And the results:
80% reported that most people their age did not use condoms consistently. They also said that 61% of people their age had gonorrhea.
81% acknowledged sexual contact with two or more partners during the preceding six months.
45% reported sexual relationships that overlapped.
65% said they had been diagnosed with one or more STDs in the past.
Of those men with one main sexual partner, two-thirds were not motivated to use condoms.
STDs are not only a social ill, but they are financially costly to everyone:
-CDC’s new [2/13/13] estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections
in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system
nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone.
America’s youth shoulder a substantial burden of these infections.
CDC estimates that half of all new STIs in the country occur among
young men and women. In addition, CDC published an overall estimate of the number of prevalent STIs in the nation. Prevalence is the total number of new and existing infections at a given time. CDC’s new data suggest that there are more than 110 million total STIs among men and women across the nation.
-STIs place a significant economic strain on the U.S. healthcare system. CDC conservatively estimates that the lifetime cost of treating eight of the most common STIs contracted in just one year is $15.6 billion.
Is it any accident that National Adoption Month is 9 months after Valentine’s Day? Only speculation, here. . .
So that’s really icky. Also, let’s not forget HIV/AIDS is an ever-present threat on the scene and any holiday that emphasizes that we must copulate threatens to make this scare even bigger than it already is. How about a day in which caution is practiced?!
-at-home pregnancy tests also see a spike in sales in March (early at home pregnancy test month–for reals!). It’s the highest sales month all year, as a matter-of-fact.
-Consumers spend more than $15 million on pregnancy and infertility test kits during the second, third and fourth weeks of March, with the third week of March ranking number one in sales.
Another obvious conclusion to romantic nights are the pregnancies that stem from them. Many of them unplanned, unaffordable, or at worst–unwanted.
-Currently, about half (51%) of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the United States each year (3.4 million) are unintended. In 2008, there were 54 unintended pregnancies for every 1,000 women aged 15–44. In other words, about 5% of reproductive-age women have an unintended pregnancy each year.
• By age 45, more than half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and three in 10 will have had an abortion..
• The U.S. unintended pregnancy rate is significantly higher than the rate in many other developed countries. In 2008, two-thirds (65%) of the 1.7 million births resulting from unintended pregnancies were paid for by public insurance programs, primarily Medicaid. In comparison, 48% of births overall and 36% of births resulting from intended pregnancies were funded by these programs.
• In 14 states and the District of Columbia, at least 70% of births resulting from unintended pregnancies were paid for by public programs. Mississippi was the state with the highest proportion (83%), and the District of Columbia’s proportion was 90%.
• Total public expenditures for births resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide were estimated to be $12.5 billion in 2008. Of that, $7.3 billion were federal expenditures and $5.2 billion were state expenditures.
So though I did much cut & pasting this year (I apologize) because of my work schedule and residual tiredness, I’m sticking with my opinion, Valentine’s day is full of bad side-affects, among them STDs and pregnancy along with all the fallout that goes along with those two things. Please reconsider supporting such a day. And if you must celebrate, and have sex, remember to be responsible and take so many precautions.