In true Jennifer Lawrence fashion, the Oscar winner recently got quite candid about a very relatable topic: sexual health. For a recent interview with the UK's The Sun, the actress admitted that specifically, she's terrified of contracting an STI (aka sexually transmitted infection). While her true-to-form self-deprecating nature was present, the actress seemed to recognize that the risk of STIs isn't something to be taken lightly—especially considering some shocking U.S. statistics we found. (More on that in a bit.)
Speaking to The Sun, Lawrence admitted that although she very commonly talks the talk where her sex life is concerned, she apparently doesn't walk the walk. In fact, is she's walking anywhere, it's to her doctor's office:
"I always talk like I want d**k, but the truth is when I look back at my sexual past it was always with boyfriends," she explains. "I talk like I like it, but I don't really do it." She continues, "I am mostly also a germaphobe. I have made it this far without an STI. D**k is dangerous. If I was at the point where I could get an STI, doctors have already been involved. That is how much of a germaphobe I am."
While yes, it's easy to chuckle at and appreciate her transparency on the topic, women's reproductive health has often top of mind for us. Still, some of the statistics we found concerning STIs kind of validate Lawrence's fear, at least in our minds.
According to the American Sexual Health Association, half of people who are sexually active will contract an STI by 25. To follow, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that "nearly 20 million new STIs occur every year in this country, half of those among young people aged 15 to 24." Furthermore (and here's where you can brace yourself), the CDC estimates that undiagnosed STIs lead to infertility in 24,000 women each year. This last staggering statistic pretty much made our stomach plunge.
So, what's a girl to do? Well, of course, there's the option to abstain completely à la Lawrence, but there are plenty of healthy strategies we can set in motion to ensure sex is as safe as it is enjoyable (most of which stem from the age-old notion that knowledge is power). From having the option of birth control to regularly getting tested to cultivating open and honest communication with your partners, STIs aren't a certainty, regardless of a shock-value statistic (or Lawrence's personal phobia).
For more must-read information regarding everything and anything related to female health, check out our series The V, and be sure to talk with your physician about your reproductive health needs.