by Dr. Boyce Watkins
Trojan, the company that makes the little packets that might save your life, just did a survey on the thing they know best. The researchers came to some interesting conclusions that got my attention. The results are especially thought-provoking in light of what’s been happening with STDs and unwanted pregnancies in the African American community.
Dr. Tyreese Gaines summarizes some of the results for TheGrio.com, at least those that pertain to “us.”
The first stat got my attention, that men think about sex more than women. I’ve always believed that men and women both love sex, but men seem to be the ones who allow it to get them into the most trouble. The stat that jumped out off of the page and into my face was the one that said that most black men have had 38 sex partners in their lifetime, compare to 10 for women. If these numbers are accurate, they are entirely too high.
A study by the Kinsey Institute says that the average male between the ages of 30 and 44 has 6 – 8 sex partners during that time. A study by the Center for Disease Control says that the average American man has 7 sex partners in his lifetime, and the average woman has just four. This means that for the population at large, if the study is to be believed, most Americans have far less sex than black people, and the gap between men and women is not nearly as great.
I am not here to attack, bible thump or pretend that anyone is perfect, but if you’re seeing what I’m seeing, you’re probably as disturbed as I am. Somehow, someone spread the ridiculous lie that it makes sense to have sex with two or three people per year, and that as long as you put on a condom, you can do whatever, wherever, with whomever. I’m sorry folks, but that’s just not the case.
When one considers the rampant spread of HIV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes, and HPV being spread through the black female population, we’d be silly not to link this spread to the behavior of heterosexual black men. Every time a little black boy turns on TV or the radio, he usually hears some hip hop artist telling him how many women he slept with last week. This built-in hypermasculinity, along with numerical imbalances between non-incarcerated (or educated) black men and women, can cause some men to lose their damn minds and keep a Rolodex as thick as a phone book, filled with readily-available sex partners.
Women can’t be let off the hook either. The black female fascination with the gay, downlow boogeyman can often cause them to make themselves vulnerable to the heterosexual man who sleeps all over the place. If your man is sleeping with you and he hasn’t been to the doctor since he was a newborn, you are asking for problems. A man whose genitals have been all over the world and back probably has some kind of venereal disease, so putting his sex organ anywhere in your body (there are multiple places it might go) can cause you a world of problems. What’s unfortunate is that the women who’ve been hit by the STD epidemic don’t exactly wear t-shirts announcing their status, so young women never get to learn from the mistakes of those before them.
Lower marital rates in the black community also play a role in what’s been happening, but it’s hard to convince people to do something that doesn’t work half the time. At the same time, we must be mindful that an unmarried person usually has more sex partners than a married one (at least that’s the way it’s supposed to be). Black women don’t have nearly as many eligible men as white women, largely because of the criminal justice system issuing life sentences served to keep these men from ever having the ability to support a family. Additionally, poor educational systems and employment discrimination create a world where its easier for a black man to find a gun, a mic or a basketball than it is for him to find a good education and gainful employment.
While getting married may not be the answer for you, we have to remember that our bodies are prizes to be protected and only shared in mature situations that might be safe. This is a tough rule to stick by, but one can’t condone the flippant engagement in something as powerful as the human reproductive process. Sex is the foundation of the creation of all human life, so it is nothing to be toyed around with.
The results are what they are, and we can leave it to each individual to interpret the study. But the truth is that what you do in the bedroom can kill you these days, so following the crowd might be just a little bit ‘ignant.’ Let’s rise above the madness.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Financial Lovemaking 101: Merging Assets with Your Partner in Ways that Feel Good.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.