Posted in Weekly Wipe-Out

Usher’s “Burn” and Taking Control of Your Sexual Health

I remember when Usher came out with the Confessions album. I was a freshman in high school and pretty naive about sex. Classmates were gossiping about the song “Burn” being more than a confession of cheating, but of giving someone a STD. I thought, NO WAY!

Thirteen years later, maybe my classmates were right after-all. Usher’s been in the news recently for a case brought against him alleging that he failed to disclose that he had herpes to sexual partners. According to an article from The Guardian he was formally diagnosed in 2009-2010 after a partner brought similar accusations. Usher paid over a million dollars to keep that case quiet.

If Usher knew that he had herpes and has consciously decided not to disclose this to partners, that is a huge failure on his part. His failure is also an opportunity for a larger discussion on a few topics: protection, testing, and disclosing.

The best way to avoid getting an STD is to not have sex (haha). Of course everyone is having sex, so what’s the next step? PROTECTION! I get it, maybe it ‘feels better’ without a condom or it’s awkward in the heat of the moment to bring it up, but isn’t going to your doctor for an STD more embarrassing? Isn’t disclosing to every future partner you have more embarrassing?

Even if you’re using protection and being careful you still need to get tested if you’re sleeping with multiple partners and they should too. This isn’t something your doctor is going to bring up at your annual check-up, but it’s something that you should request. If you don’t have health insurance utilize the services Planned Parenthood offers for protection and prevention. Consider making a donation and following legislation threatening to remove this critical resource.

So, you’ve been diagnosed with an STD, now what? I get it, it’s scary. Your whole life has changed in a phone call. You’re now asked to recall past partners and inform new partners while it sinks in. It’s okay to spend some time wallowing in self pity, but then it’s time for you to be concerned about others. Remember how you felt when you found out and draw strength from there to overcome the embarrassment.

It’s also important to know that you aren’t alone. If numbers help check out the Center for Disease Control. There were 1.5 million NEW cases in 2015 alone. A rough estimate is that there are 110 million Americans living with an STD right now.

Furthermore, if disclosing to new partners is too terrifying to handle there are sites and apps out there for those who have tested positive like Hift and STD Friends. (I linked the first two I found so this is not an exhaustive list. There are a ton out there!)

The bottom line is that you are responsible for your sexual health. You are responsible for knowing your status and for disclosing it to your partners. Yes it’s embarrassing, but you’ve got this!

Posted in Weekly Wipe-Out

“Witness” Katy Perry’s Departure

I fell in love with Katy Perry’s second album “One of the Boys.” It was catchy, angsty, and fun. As her third and fourth album came out I did not connect in the same way, but still found plenty of tracks that I enjoyed. The world tour for Prism concluded in October of 2015 and Perry had been relatively quiet since.

Earlier this year, I noticed that she had completely changed her look and was coming out with new music. I thought “Chained To The Rhythm” was alright, but nothing special. I failed to get excited for her album as “Swish Swish” and “Bon Appetit” came out. I began to wonder what she was doing. Forbes confirms that the single releases for this album were a dud with “Chained To The Rhythm” as the only one breaking the top 40.

Reading this New York Times interview gave me some clarity on the departure from her previous image. Perry felt that image wasn’t a reflection of her true self was no longer willing to make that compromise.

The new look and sound are her attempts to be more honest and create an image that is closer to who she really is. She sought out someone new for A&R to assist her with her vision for “Witness” and didn’t even play the new music for Capitol Records until very late in the process. It was a ballsy move that makes me admire her despite my disappointment in the album.

While I’m not a fan of this album, all things considered it’s still a success for her. The Forbes article is actually about how the album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard top 200 despite the unimpressive singles. Perry’s fan base continues to support her unconditionally.