We know you don’t want to hear it, and you think you already know it, but a lot of this information really does bear repeating. Entering university is a transformative experience, marked by newfound independence, exciting adventures, and expanded horizons. Amidst the whirlwind of campus life, one aspect of personal well-being that often takes centre stage (but at the same time, goes under the radar) is sexual health. Here’s everything you need to know about practising safe sex at university…
We want to start off by saying there is no shame in having and enjoying sex, or not having and not enjoying sex. Neither are bad, neither are wrong; there is no need to shame yourself or anybody else for sexual activity. All that matters is your safety, which is why this blog post about safe sex at university is so important.
Protect yourself against STDs
As they have been for years, STDs are a real concern for those at university – you’ll be mixing with people from various backgrounds, and potentially having sex with people in the spur of the moment without knowing their sexual history. Use protection that physically protects you from catching an STD; barrier methods like condoms or the less common diaphragm will significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
Get regular check-ups
Following on from preventing STDs, you should also be sure to get regular check-ups. This is a responsible route to go down, protecting yourself and others. Most universities offer a free sexual health check service, or can at least point you in the right direction in your new city. Again, don’t be embarrassed when going to get checked: you’re doing the right thing!
The responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancy lies on both women and men. There are many different methods of contraception available for those who want to prevent pregnancy (such as the pill, the coil, the injection and more) and of course, barrier methods which anybody can carry. Remember that birth control methods *do not* prevent STDs, so if you’re sleeping with somebody who’s sexual history you’re unaware of then don’t rely on these for that purpose. An unwanted pregnancy can be a huge disruption in terms of future plans and academic goals, so it is worth doing everything you can to prevent this.
As well as your physical health and safety, it is also important to consider your emotional well-being when it comes to being sexually safe. Engaging in consensual, safe sex can contribute positively to one’s emotional well-being. Open communication, respect, and the use of protection can create a sense of trust and intimacy between partners, leading to more satisfying and enjoyable sexual experiences. But on the other hand, you might be using sex as a way to avoid feeling your emotions properly; if you think this might be you, take some time to work out why.
Effective communication with a sexual partner is essential for practising safe sex. Discuss your sexual history, boundaries, and desires openly if you can. Establish trust and make informed decisions together regarding contraception methods and sexual activity – this is one clear way to have safe sex at university. We know this is easier said than done, especially if you’re heading home from a night out with someone, but it doesn’t hurt to try and have these conversations.
Staying safe doesn’t mean not having sex; it just means using contraception, having open conversations, respecting each other and getting regular check-ups. Remember, there is no need to feel shame around your sexuality! Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy safe sex at university…