Here’s a little something to test your knowledge on sexual and reproductive health
Sex is everywhere and nowhere. Everywhere because it’s in our heads, in our pants (ah, urges), on ads we see, in innuendos people use and in pop culture and the media we indulge in. Nowhere because for something that everyone is exposed to at some point during the day and in some way, it’s a no-touch topic. It’s often dismissed as a private, can’t-talk-about-it matter, inappropriate or “why the incognito tab was invented.”
When it comes to sex, sex as in sex appeal trumps sex as in sex ed any day. “Sex, in the sex education format, is something covered most of the time in middle school or high school and isn’t repeated down the line,” shares Dr. Irene Quinio, M.D., a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist and practicing obstetrician-gynecologist at The Medical City. “It’s covered in the particular grade level wherein most girls are expected to have their first menstruation, for example, and once the basics are covered, that’s it.” Quinio goes on to elaborate that while knowledge of the average professional Filipino about reproductive and sexual health is adequate, the sources the general public turns to are not enough. “Beyond what is taught in school, unfortunately, a lot of what people know is from social media, the internet, movies and television,” she says. “The internet is a great learning and search tool, but it’s important also that people don’t just have access to information, but access to the correct information.” And what isn’t searchable on the internet is left to discussions with friends and relatives, risqué movies and TV series or good ‘ol XXX websites.
Here, we implore you, dear reader (who is obviously curious about this stuff since you did click on the headline): how much do you know about sex? Class is back in session.
1. Which of the following is not a sign of puberty in girls?
Sweat glands going into overdrive is actually one of the tall-tale signs of puberty. This goes for both girls and boys.
2. Which of the following is not a sign of puberty in boys?
A boy’s voice box grows in size along with the more physically evident growth spurt. One of the most noticeable changes at this point is the dropping or deepening of the voice. Before this happens, however, a boy’s voice will begin to “crack” or “break” (known to Pinoys as piyok), which typically occurs between ages 12 and 14.
3. Is it possible for a girl to get pregnant prior to getting her first period?
Since ovulation, the stage wherein an egg is expected to be either fertilized by a sperm cell or left to shed, occurs before menstruation, it is possible for a girl to get pregnant before experiencing her first period. This is a rare occurrence, but it can happen.
4. What is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the Philippines?
Chlamydia, caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, is the most common STD in the country. It can be found in semen and vaginal fluids, therefore can be transmitted to both men (urethra, rectum or throat) and women (cervix, rectum or throat).
5. True or false: breastfeeding is a natural form of birth control.
Breastfeeding is a legitimate albeit temporary birth control method called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method or LAM. When a mother exclusively breastfeeds her child up to six months after giving birth, the milk-making hormone in her body called prolactin works to also suppress the release of hormones that give way to ovulation.
6. In which part of the woman’s reproductive tract does the egg become fertilized by the sperm?
The egg, making its way from the ovary, meets the sperm cell in the fallopian tube, is fertilized and travels down to the uterus, where the embryo, then, grows.
7. Which is the most effective form of birth control?
No sex at all is still the safest sex.
8. True or false: a woman who has sex on the last day of her period can no longer get pregnant.
A woman can still get pregnant should she have sex on the last day of her period, but this another rare event. Sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to five days; this coinciding with a woman’s early ovulation, another rare event, makes pregnancy possible.
9. When should a woman get her first pap smear?
It is recommended that a woman undergo her first pap smear at age 21 or within the first three years of her first sexual encounter.
10. What is a pap smear for anyway?
A pap smear or a pap test is a procedure wherein sample cells from the lining of a woman’s cervix are obtained for analysis. The microscopic examination aims to detect early cancer cells in women.
11. True or false: biological sex and gender identity are two completely different things.
Biological sex refers to the gender assigned at birth based on anatomy, while gender identity refers to personal identification or an individual’s personal sense of gender.
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Art Alexandra Lara