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 the following expectations:
- 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.