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TRENDS THE UNIVERSITY STAR

riverclean up Geography students can unite at the fifth annual undergraduate picnic 5 p.m. Thursday at Sewell Park. Food will be provided. For students interested in geography or seeking service hours, the Geography Student Organization is hosting a river clean up 2 p.m. Friday at Sewell Park. Snorkels will be provided on a first come, first serve basis. For more information on either event, please e-mail sg1050@txstate.edu.

Thursday, September 20, 2007 - Page 6

Trends Contact — Clara Cobb, starentertainment@txstate.edu

Abstinent life choice realistic for Texas State student By Erica Rodriguez Features Reporter Katie Ellis, English senior, is a woman of conviction. She’s blond-haired, hazel-eyed and is on a full four-year scholarship. She’s also sexually abstinent. Unlike the 54 percent of Texas State students who reported having at least one sex partner in 2006, Ellis has chosen to remain abstinent until marriage citing religious and personal convictions. “It’s not that I don’t want to have sex,” she said, a smile spreading across her face. “One of these days on my honeymoon, I will. I don’t do it for (my future husband) — I do it for me and God.” But what does it mean to be abstinent from a public health perspective? “Not engaging in vaginal, oral or anal sex or anything that could lead to an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or pregnancy,” said Julie Eckert, peer education coordinator for the alcohol and drug resource center, and adviser for the student health awareness organization, the Network. According to the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year there are approximately 19 million new STIs, and almost half of them are among youth aged 15 to 24. Information provided on the Student Health Center Web site states although there may be differences from campus to campus, chlamydia, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and genital herpes appear to be the most common STIs among

“I

don’t think abstinence is the only thing that should be taught, but I do believe it should be done.”

—Julie Eckert peer education coordinator, alcohol and drug resource center

Texas State and college students in general. “Young people need to know levels of risk. What’s no risk, what’s a low risk and a high risk in terms of sexual behavior,” Eckert said. “There’re a lot of misconceptions about what can put you at risk for an STI.” Surprisingly, she said, most people have differing views of what it means to be sexually abstinent. “There’s a health perspective, there’s a cultural perspective, there’s a religious perspective,” Eckert said. “It’s all defined differently depending on the arena you are in.” Ellis said she believes even though one has abstained from sex in the fullest sense of the word, they still aren’t remaining physically or emotionally whole for their future husband or wife because of the emotional connection sex can incur. “Emotionally there’s definitely a bonding, an attachment. You look to that person for affirmation emotionally and physically,” she said. “When those emotions aren’t fulfilled outside of the physical act that just leads to hurt and low selfworth.”

Source: 2006 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment

Joseph Borsage, psychologist at the counseling center, said he believes sex can incur stress for reasons besides emotional attachments. “From a counseling perspective, I’ve seen more people come in here who are distressed who have got some type of STI and it really has affected their lives than people who are choosing to abstain,” he said. “They have different issues.” Contrary to what some may believe, abstinence isn’t just something that’s handed down from a pulpit to sexually promiscuous young adults. It’s something that’s taught in sexuality education programs in colleges and talked about at family planning centers. “The first thing we always talk about is abstinence

and then monogamous partnerships,” said Vicky Taylor, clinic manager for the Community Action Inc. Family Planning Clinic in San Marcos. However, teaching abstinence as the only option for teens and young adults is not a safe alternative. According to the Planned Parenthood Web site, there is little evidence that participants of abstinence-only programs actually abstain from intercourse longer than their peers. “I support abstinence as part of a fully comprehensive sexuality program,” Eckert said. “I don’t think abstinence is the only thing that should be taught, but I do believe it should be done.” Eckert said she believes programs should provide options for students.

No one can argue the Network, an organization renowned for passing out condom goodie bags in The Quad, hasn’t done its part in creating options for those who choose to be sexually active, said Kelsea McLain, psychology senior, and president of the Network. “We don’t condemn or judge anyone for their decision. We basically provide information for people to remain as healthy as possible for the remainder of their adult lives,” she said. In the end, for students like Ellis, it all boils down to personal convictions and not what others believe. “I wait because it’s what God wants me to do,” Ellis said. “They may not understand or want to change their lifestyle, but they still respect it.”

Bridal Web sites create presidential database for women s a female educator, “A I would prefer seeing a site that informed all By Cheryl Jones Features Reporter

Preparing for a wedding is one of the most stressing and rewarding self-appointed duties for a woman. Hiring a caterer, picking the flowers, the dresses, the music and so much more is break out, headache and madness. But when everything finally comes together, it’s a night to remember forever. A new unchecked box might be making its way on brides’ to-do list soon. Voting decisions could be the next step in wedding planning. Two leading wedding Web sites, www.theknot. com and www.weddingchannel.com, teamed up to create a one-stop destination for engaged or newlywed women to be informed of the 2008 presidential candidates’ political views. The site, www.bridesdecide.com, is a free database and forum for women to educate and discuss all of the presidential hopefuls. “As a female educator, I would prefer seeing a site that informed all women about the stances of all candidates, particularly the candidates’ stances on women’s issues,” said Kay Hofer, political science professor. Potential presidents have pages listing their political stances, biography and wedding day bliss stories. The site includes photos of the candidates on their wedding days in their tuxes and gowns. According to the site, there are more than 12 million nearly-weds and newlyweds involved in

women about the stances of all candidates, particularly the candidates’ stances on women’s issues.”

—Kay Hofer political science professor

Internet communities across the nation. According to Texas State’s enrollment offices, there are approximately 1,008 married female students this semester. Jennifer Dewitt, political science senior, has been married for four years and said she is apprehensive about getting information on such an important issue off a site linked with weddings. “For me, I’d rather do my own research to find this type of information,” she said. “It almost seems sexist how they’ve set it up. Just because I’m a bride doesn’t mean I’d automatically go to it.” Perlesta Martin, a health and fitness management senior, is engaged. She said she believes the behavior of politicians in the past has tarnished a bride’s perception of them. “I don’t know why I’d want to see it especially since so many politicians cheat on their spouses

with men or women,” Martin said. The site was not strictly for engaged or newlywed women. Any person wanting to gain a better understanding of the candidates has the ability to look — just don’t mind the flowers and bows said www.bridesdecide.com spokesperson, Jacalyn Lee. “We encourage men to visit the site,” she said. “Many brides discuss their wedding plans with their future husbands at home, the issue of politics and the upcoming election is sure to come up.” According to the site’s homepage, the forum was designed to educate savvy women. The election, which will take place Nov. 4, 2008, currently has 18 potential candidates. The bridal-based site makes for an interesting, easy perusal, but double-checking a “list” and facts is a wise choice, regardless of the search portal used to obtain candidate information, Hofer said. “The more informed each American is, the stronger our democracy can become.”

✯ FYI To see presidential candidate’s wedding photos and read their views on top issues visit www.bridesdecide.com.

—Graphic Courtesy of MCT

09 20 2007  
09 20 2007  
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