cutting connected to risky sex

Self-injury (aka cutting) has gotten a lot more attention in the last few years. One of the results of this has been to make some cutters more defensive about what they do.

I’ve heard girls say things like, "Why do people care so much? It’s not like I’m hurting anyone else." Others explain that they are not suicidal, and that self-injury is just the best way they have found to release emotional pain.

I understand this logic. But the problem with it is that in addition to the fact that a cutter may accidentally injure herself more seriously than she intends, cutting is a band aid solution. It’s not a long term cure. So while cutting might temporarily make someone feel better by distracting them from their issues, it’s not going to make those issues go away.

Adding to these concerns about cutting is a new one. A recent study found that girls who cut, are also less likely to use condoms when they have sex.

According to WebMD,

"Self-cutters were three-and-a-half times more likely to report infrequent condom use than teens who did not self-cut."

A lot of cutters have been victims of sexual abuse or rape. Survivors of sex crimes often have feelings of worthlessness, especially when it comes to sex. Many can’t speak up about using condoms. Others just don’t see the point.

Though many cutters don’t realize it, a lot of the issues that drive them to self injure can be helped. Counseling doesn’t offer instant results, but it can make a big difference. Having to deal with a sexually transmitted infection or unwanted pregnancy can make a big difference too. But that usually isn’t the kind of difference that someone who is cutting needs to add to her plate.

What do you think?

Photo provided by natalie_guinsler

Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed
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  • Brittany

    What is the point of this article? To make cutters like myself feel worse? I’ve been a cutter for 8 months and would never consider having sex without a condom. I’m a virgin so I’m speaking in theory. I don’t really see how these 2 are connected.

  • Chelsea

    Personally, I don't think that condom use and cutting are as directly correlated as you suggest. As a recovering cutter myself, I understand that feeling of worthlessness. Which isn't helped by non-cutters who just make blanket statements like self-harmers just don't realize that its possible to get help. We know that. Or that cutting leads to promiscuity. There is so much negative press, so to speak, surrounding self injury. Sure, it seems like a band-aid fix…but for many people so is counseling. It makes you feel better when you're there, but many people lose sight of the future and/or reality and counseling stops helping.
    Until I became depressed and started using SI as a means of coping, I was just like the rest of the world–Convinced that SI was just a cry for attention and if they really wanted to get better they would work for it. But now I'm in a situation where SI is my ONLY means of coping, because nobody seems to believe me enough to help me help myself. Just because you hurt yourself doesn't make you irresponsible, promiscuous, or ignorant. We're not. We know what we're doing. Many of us want help.
    It's the ignorance of non-cutters that seems to make matters worse. But thats just my opinion.

  • jess

    I just want to say that i dn't think being a cutter has anything to do with useing a comdom… i personaly do not use comdom and i was a cutter for 7 years but thats not why i don't use comdoms…i will be 18 in a week and i am expecting a little boy….in 2 weeks