College life is filled with study sessions, exams and textbook-filled nights. But college life also signifies independence. With this independence, many students indulge in nights out with friends, a few first dates, and most likely, sex. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to practice safe sex, it’s crucial to know exactly why you need to stay safe, what kinds of protections are available, and where to find them.
Awareness is key
Knowing why it’s so important to practice safe sex is the key to preventing negative consequences. Unless you abstain from sex, you risk contacting an STI, STD or becoming pregnant. Examples of STIs include gonorrhea, syphilis or HIV. An STD is an infection that became a permanent disease due to lack of treatment, like AIDS.
See a professional
Both women and men should see a doctor to get checked regularly for STIs. For women, it’s crucial to see a gynecologist after you become sexually active, so that they can perform a Pap Smear. Seeing a doctor regularly will help catch anything in time and keep a record of your health.
Using protection every time you engage in any sexual activity is vital to help prevent STIs or unplanned pregnancies. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed to communicate to sexual partners your choice to use protection. Explain to them that you would much rather feel comfortable and safe. Types of protection include condoms, birth control for women and dental dams for oral sex.
Where to find help
There are resources available for people who cannot afford birth control or regular doctor’s visits. Planned Parenthood, the nation-wide clinic, provides sexual health services like birth control options, free condoms and multiple gynecology services. Anyone can receive these services and if they cannot afford it, Planned Parenthood has financial assistance options. They will help you find a way to receive the services you need.
There are also new ways to order birth control without having to go see a doctor. There are multiple apps, like NURX, available that allow you to purchase birth control and have it delivered. They will match you with the right kind and type. You can also order birth control at Planned Parenthood’s website after you see them for your first consultation.
Staying healthy and enjoying yourself while feeling comfortable is important when engaging in sexual activities. Don’t be afraid to voice your decision to use protection to a sexual partner. Explain what using protection prevents and why you’d feel more comfortable using it.
Types of birth control