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Frequently in this space, we will consult a different entry in the 1987 book The Modern Man’s Guide to Life to see how the advice therein has aged. Last week, we covered sweat lodges; today, we’re talking sexually transmitted diseases.

We have now reached the portion of The Modern Man’s Guide to Life that covers venereal disease. Quite a bit has changed since the late ’80s in this regard: There’s better treatment, and also, no one calls this stuff VD anymore.


Let’s dive right in:

The only way to avoid sexually transmitted, incurable diseases is to avoid fucking people about whom you know little. (Although, actually, to be safe you don’t need to know very much. Forget names, interests, points of view. Just get a good medical dossier on your prospective partner and rut away to your heart’s content.)


That guy sounds like a real peach! Although technically, he’s not wrong. Get tested regularly, and make sure your partner is doing the same. And maybe, do like Monica does, and don’t get down on the first night.

Don’t forget the condoms, either:

Put your future in a good rubber if you want to pursue irresponsible acts without accepting responsibility for them. No other prophylaxis exists that deals with so many sexually transmitted problems (including surprise babies) as a trusty Trojan. Figure a 1- to 5-percent failure rate. Be careful during withdrawal; you could spill the beans.


The beans! That is a really gross euphemism for pulling out. But let’s not miss the point here: Wear a condom. But bear in mind that per the CDC, a condom isn’t always 100 percent effective in either preventing STIs (sexually transmitted infections, as we call them in 2015) or babies. This CDC fact sheet shows that condoms, in fact, have an 18-percent failure rate in the surprise-pregnancy department. And guess what, dudes? One of the most effective methods of preventing pregnancy is male sterilization. So, snip, snip, snip! The power lies within you.

Let’s explore STIs as we knew them in ’87 for a moment:

The symptoms of venereal disease vary slightly according to the nature of the ailment, but you can figure something’s amiss if you experience any of these:

  • Painful urination
  • Watery or thick, dripping discharges from your penis
  • Skin changes in the genital area, including blisters, sores, rashes, and warts
  • Acute itching
  • Lower abdominal pain

It’s quite possible to have a whole mixed salad of these symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor to determine whether or not you’ve got a transmittable disease. If you don’t have a doctor, call the National VD Hotline at 800-277-8922.


Mixed salad! While the nomenclature has changed, the symptoms of these diseases have not. Also, that hotline is still active: It’s the CDC STD line. So if you’ve got some of these symptoms, call your doctor. Here are some other resources, too. Most things are treatable; just try not to get herpes, because that’s some shit that follows you for life, like your own personal Jiminy Cricket (that lives on your dong).

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