It’s time to go back to school. Woohoo! Depending on how your summer went, this could either be a good or bad thing. But no matter your feelings on the subject, heading back to school means being prepared. While preparation definitely involves notebooks, pens, and an entire new back-to-school wardrobe, what it should also involve is all the necessary items to make sure you have yourself a semester full of safe and satisfying sex . You should never leave your dorm room without an arsenal of safe-sex goodies.
According to the American Sexual Health Association, one in two sexually-active people will contract an STI before they’re 25, and even more alarming is the fact that one in five college students have reported being sexually assaulted during their college career. These are terrifying numbers and something to consider as you pack up the back of mom and dad’s car and head off to school this year. Are you ready to discuss consent with your partner or talk to your doctor about the right contraception for you? You better be.
The ASHA has created a very important checklist for every student who’s headed back to school. So in between those boxes of Ramen, rolls of quarters for the laundromat, and that poster of Harry Styles you plan put on the wall next to your bed, here are some important facts to take with you, too.
1. Clear Knowledge Of Your Sexual Boundaries
If you’re an incoming freshman, your mind is about to be blown. After 18 years of being under your parents’ thumb you get to run wild and free! Have sex in a bed instead of a car, and maybe even let your inner kinky self go crazy!
But before you go down that road, it’s important to realize where you draw the line. Everyone has sexual boundaries and staying within them, is the best way to have not just great sex but sex that truly satisfies. If you meet someone who wants to try something that’s not your scene, then don’t do it. Never feel pressured or obligated when it comes to sex. It’s your body and you’re the decider.
2. Stock Up On Protection
It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man, gay or straight, a virgin or a seasoned sexual aficionado, you should always, always have protection with you at all times. You never know when you’re going to meet someone awesome and want to go for a quickie in the woods in between English 101 and Intro to Biology.
3. Get Yourself Tested
Whether you’ve had sex with only one person or many, it’s your responsibility to get tested for STIs on a regular basis. According to the Center for Disease Control, depending on how sexually active you are, you should get tested every three to six months.
4. Educate Yourself About All Things Sex Related
As much as I’d love to say, “Go ask your friends about sex,” considering the lack of knowledge my friends had about sex in college, I’m here to tell you that’s never the best idea. Instead, as awkward as it may seem at first, talk to your healthcare professional. It might seem new and scary for you, but there’s nothing they haven’t heard and they’re there to give it to you straight. They can also lead you toward the best contraception for you.
5. Learn About Consent
The best sex is consensual sex, and there is no grey area with it comes to it. Your body is yours alone and you get to say who, what, when, and where. As I said, you’re the decider, and consent is something you should practice in all areas of your life.
6. Acquaint Yourself With Safe People And Locations
When you’re away from home, it’s important to know who you can count on and where to go for sexual health. Make sure you know where your college’s sexual health clinic is (you’ll totally be able to score free condoms there) and establish a relationship with your RA. Your RA signed up for the position because they want to be in the position to counsel those who might need it.
Also, the ASHA suggests you find out who your Title IX coordinator is. Title IX is a law that requires universities and colleges to “combat gender-based violence and harassment, and respond to survivors’ needs in order to ensure that all students have equal access to education.” If you’ve found yourself in a precarious situation, don’t be afraid to tell someone. Honesty and communication are the two things that are going to make this year the best one ever.
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