DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm 19. I caught a very personal infection from a guy I met at a beach in Ontario, came home with it and ran to the clinic. I got rid of it with medication in a week and went back to the beach last weekend. I met a cute guy and we went down to the beach after the party and I was totally scared to do the wild thing with him. I went home a few days later and wondered if I would ever have my confidence back again. I know that people like my parents would think I am promiscuous, wanting to have sex with two guys in two weeks, but in this world, you have to find good sex where you can. I don't want a regular boyfriend because I am going to university and have major plans that don't include marriage and kids until I am in my 30s. Right now I want to be free, but I have lost my guts to even get a little affection. I am young and athletic and I need it badly or I stress out. I am a highly sexed woman and I get into a very bad mood if I go too long. -- Young and Alive, Osborne Village
Dear Young and Alive: Having sex with casual new partners who don't give a darn about you and don't feel like they need to confess any afflictions or pests they might be carrying is like playing roulette. Sooner or later you will end up with a partner who passes on a commonly spread infection such as herpes or gonorrhea, or a miniature zoo. Let's talk turkey: Every encounter you have doesn't have to end in intercourse. You can play around to a degree, and both pleasure yourselves a bit later to orgasm at home -- no need to be frustrated.
If you are serious about protecting yourself from sexually-transmitted infections, limit the men you have sex with to people who actually matter to you and you know well, at least as a friend. Limit the full-blown sex to a man you know well enough to trust that he isn't sleeping around. Buying and using good-quality latex condoms is necessary 100 per cent of the time as a barrier to protect you. The woman who must bear the consequences of failed protection should determine the quality and the newness of the condoms used. You don't necessarily have to buy them, but you have to inspect them.
Please send questions and comments to Miss Lonelyhearts at firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters to the Winnipeg Free Press at 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg Mb. R2X 3B6