Montana State University

Sexual Health

College Office

Healthy Relationships and Communication

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

STD Wizard - Take a brief quiz to see if you should be tested for an STI

Contraception and Birth Control Methods

Pregnancy Testing and Options

Healthy Relationships and Communication

Sexual health is about being emotionally, physically, and mentally aware of what you want and need within a relationship, including sexually. Listen to what your body and mind are telling you. The more you know yourself the better you will be able to share your needs and feelings with another person. Being able to communicate honestly is a very important part of any healthy sexual relationship.

When entering a new relationship it is important to talk about expectations.

Take the sexual health quiz here!
  • What are your boundaries?
  • What do you want physically?
  • What do you want emotionally?
  • What risks are you willing to take or not take?
  • Are you and your partner going to get tested?

Ultimately both partners should be on the 'same page' and you won't know this unless you have the conversation before you start having sex. For some people talking about sex can be uncomfortable. Before you start talking to your partner about sex look at how you communicate with them about other things. Are you able to talk openly and freely about your feelings for each other, previous relationships, peer and family relationships, and dealing with potential problems? If you do not feel comfortable, it might be wise to spend more time together and get to know one another.

One word about alcohol... Alcohol use is common on college campuses, and students frequently site alcohol (or other drugs) as a means to "relax" or help facilitate connection with others. This is typical and generally does not present a problem. However, college students are at particular risk when it comes to combining alcohol (or other drugs) and making decisions about sex. Alcohol is a depressant and reduces inhibitions and increases risk-taking. Engaging in sex under this influence of alcohol can lead to problems, including contracting disease, unplanned pregnancy, and sexual assault. It is important for both partners to be aware of this, including the fact that there is no legal consent for sex if your partner is heavily intoxicated. Have this discussion with your partner before drinking (if you chose to drink), limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink an hour, and be sure you have adequate protection readily available.

Contact Counseling & Psychological Services at 994-4531 if you would like to talk to someone about your relationship. Contact the VOICE Center at 994-7069 if you are concerned about unwanted sex, involving yourself or a friend.

Need to know anything else about your sexual health, but are afraid to ask.visit (Columbia University)

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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

STI Testing Options
The campus resource for confidential STI tests is MSU Student Health Service. Make appointments by calling 994-2311.

STI Prevention and Testing
Sexually active college students are at high risk for contracting a STI. The risks for contracting a STI can greatly be reduced by practicing safe sex. Here are some safe sex tips:

  • Know what you might say when your partner asks or does not ask about contraception.
  • Discuss you and your partner's sexual history before having sex.
  • Use latex or polyurethane condoms. If you or your partner is allergic to latex use polyurethane.
  • Natural membrane ("animal skin") condoms are NOT recommended for STI protection.
  • Look for the expiration date on the condom package.
  • Discuss the risks if condoms are not used.
  • Besides condoms you can use dental dams for oral sex, latex barriers, or water-soluble lubricants and plastic wrap.
  • Use water-based lubricants.
  • Remember STIs like herpes and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact.

Many of these safer sex supplies are available in the Health Promotion office, second floor of Student Health Service.

Need to know anything else about your sexual health, but are afraid to ask.visit (Columbia University)

Many STIs show no signs or symptoms. However, if you experience the following symptoms or think you need to be tested for and STI, contact Student Health Service at 994-2311 to make an appointment.

  • Sores, bumps or blisters near the genitals, rectum or mouth
  • Itching around your genitals
  • Burning and pain when you urinate or have a bowel movement
  • Swelling or redness in your throat
  • Swelling in your groin area
  • Unusual discharge or drips

STD Wizard
Take a brief quiz to see if you should be tested for an STI
(Based on screening processes from the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention)

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Birth Control Methods
The choice is yours regarding which type of birth control you use. Your partner, family, and friends may play a part in your decision, but ultimately you decide. For sexually active people the best method for protection is the one that is consistent with your beliefs, goals, and medical history.

Important questions to ask yourself before you choose a birth control

  • How much does this method cost?
  • What are the potential side effects?
  • What are the health risks?
  • How well does this method prevent pregnancy?
  • Will using this method help my partner and I reduce the change of acquiring or transmitting a STI?
  • Is this method is a barrier method, will I or my partner remember to use it very time.

Below are a variety of contraception methods.

  • The Pill
  • Progestin-Only Pill
  • Depo-Provera
  • Emergency Contraception (Morning-After Pill)
  • Contraceptive Patch (Evra)
  • Intravaginal Ring (Nuvaring)
  • IUD-Copper
  • IUD-Progesterone (Mirena)
  • Female Condom
  • Male Condom
  • Diaphragm and Cervical Cap
  • Spermicide

For a detailed explanation of each type of contraception and questionnaire to help you decide please visit

Birth Control Resources

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Pregnancy Testing and Options

Whether this is a cause for celebration or completely unplanned, pregnancy is highly emotional, for both men and women. Regardless if the pregnancy was planned or unplanned, there are options in our community. Student Health Service provides pregnancy testing if you think you may be pregnant. Some signs of pregnancy might include:
  • Absence of menstrual period
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Change in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Breast Tenderness

Other Pregnancy Resources:

Need to know anything else about pregnancy your sexual health, but are afraid to ask.visit (Columbia University)

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