Sexual Health: A Field Study to STIs

Our understanding of STIs starts from government complicity of Black and queer deaths

By Katie Harbinson and Maddie Womack

When it comes to our sexual health, STIs are more common than you might think. The CDC estimates that one in five people have had a sexually transmitted infection. And yet, with that prevalence, there’s still a stigma around STIs. 

You might have previously heard these infections called sexually transmitted diseases or STDs, but many professionals and activists are moving away from that term. The American Sexual Health Association explains: “the concept of ‘disease,’ as in STD, suggests a clear medical problem, usually some obvious signs or symptoms. But many common STDs have no signs or symptoms in most of the people who have them. Or they have mild signs and symptoms that can be easily overlooked. So the sexually transmitted virus or bacteria can be described as creating ‘infection,’ which may or may not result in ‘disease.’” Many public health professionals also prefer the term STI, because of the stigma associated with the word “disease.” Stigma around sexual health stems from many factors (don’t even get us started), but today we want to dive into the history of the sexual health field and how it has laid the groundwork for some of those stigmas.

It’s important to start at the beginning. Much of the information on STIs that we have today was discovered due to unethical testing on Black bodies and overall government neglect of queer health—resulting in unnecessary suffering and deaths. We’re going to walk through some of these histories, to help us all better understand and destigmatize STIs. History classes in the education system tend to skip over these stories, and even those who lived through these government-inflicted tragedies were actively fed misinformation. Hell, we still don’t even have the whole story. Not all deaths or illnesses involved in these events were accurately recorded. But these stories contribute to the rightful distrust of the government and its healthcare systems today, as well as the stigmas that resulted from them. In order to properly destigmatize sexually transmitted infections and sexual health in general, we believe we must first understand and learn of its roots. 

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Catcall-Approved Foreplay Toys

By Nicole Mitchell & Kelcie McKenney

In our experience, we’ve found that the best sex includes a little bit of magic in the mix. Sometimes that’s because you’ve had the hottest date with your partner or you’ve been reading smut all damn day or you bought a new lingerie set that has you feeling fantastic. And sometimes that magic came from being in juuuussst the right mood. And what better to set the mood than a solid sesh of foreplay. You heard it babes, this Catcall-approved list covers some of our favorite foreplay toys, games, and accessories to help you mix up the mood-making. As always, we try our best to recommend ethical stores that embrace and empower sexuaity in a healthy way. Let us know your faves! Sharing is caring.

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For All Your Sex Ed Questions, Call the Babes: A new column from Barrier Babes and Catcall

By Katie Harbinson and Maddie Womack

So here’s the deal. We’re really big fans of sex. 

Sex education to be exact. 

We’re Maddie and Katie, the faces behind Barrier Babes. Barrier Babes is an organization passionate about bringing unapologetic, inclusive, and comprehensive sex education across the midwest. You might have seen us at Kansas City abortion rallies or Women’s Marches. You might’ve even seen our condoms at venues around town. In our spare time, we enjoy drinking iced coffee and running across the Kansas City metro area to distribute free condoms. Simply put, we try to make risky behavior less risky. We’re proud to be longtime readers of Catcall and are beyond excited to officially partner with our favorite digital magazine!

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Catcall-Approved Sex Toys

By Nicole Mitchell, Kelcie McKenney, Sophie Oswald, and Emily Park

Let’s talk about sex, baby. More specifically, what we use to get off. Let’s be honest with ourselves, sometimes our fingers (or our partner’s fingers) aren’t enough to get off, and that’s okay. That’s when these rockstar toys come to play. Whether you’re an experienced viber or new to the scene, we’ve picked out a selection of sex toys made to please everyone. There’s sure to be one you’ll love. Plus we made sure to include some of our favorite LGBT+ and women-owned stores in the mix, so you can get off knowing that you’re supporting an ethical business too. Need a guide? This list goes from hot to SUPER HOT.

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New National SASH Club Program Empowers Youth to Confront Sexual Harassment and Assault

By Nicole Mitchell

When I was in high school, I was sexually harassed. This boy, a year older than me, would follow me around school daily, which made me uncomfortable. One time I even remember him pretending to drop something so he could look up my skirt. Actually, I wasn’t the only person he did that to. There were plenty of other young high school girls going through the same thing because of this person. At the time, there was nothing I could do about it. I was confused and had nowhere to go.

This has to change, and thankfully, there are programs being put in place that will help young people understand what sexual harassment really is and take a stand against it today. Stop Sexual Assault in Schools has created and launched its new initiative SASH Club to empower youth ages 13+ to take action against sexual harassment and assault.

SASH Club provides a set of free online, ready-to-use tools on their website for teens of all genders, races, ethnicities, and orientations to start the discussion and educate themselves and others about sexual harassment and assault, support survivors, and make real change in their schools and communities.

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