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Sex and sensibility

Sex is fun, exhilarating and desirable. During this titillating experience, we come to grips with the fact that we are nature's animals. It is a natural part of our "human-hood", and we should not feel embarrassed to explore our curiosities. As students we may find ourselves wanting to go beyond the frontiers of what we already know about sex and experiment, whether it's with the opposite or the same sex. One thing is for certain: we must play it safe.

Birth control and pregnancy are not the only concerns when it comes to being sexually active. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves, and our partner(s) from STIs (sexually transmitted infections). We may not know our partner's sexual history, nor is it any of our concern to ask. But even if you are both virgins at the time of contact and think it is okay to not use a condom, think again. One or both of you may have previously performed oral sex with other partners, leaving you susceptible to possibly contracting an STI. So, it's best to always be prepared.

When heading out for dates, parties, pubs and dance bars or to meet a "study-buddy", always bring a condom. There is no harm in being prepared for sex because we never know when it will happen – that is part of the excitement. Your partner will likely appreciate it as well. There is no need to feel any embarrassment in purchasing or carrying condoms with you; it only shows that you are well-prepared. This goes for you too, ladies.

What if neither of you has a condom when the moment of truth arrives? This can cause some unwanted pressure to not use protection (and completely ruin the moment). Be prepared and you can avoid that awkward moment
altogether.

Finally, regardless of how safe we are in our sex lives, it is important to get tested for STIs. If you live in residence, check with the staff of your house because they usually have condoms available. There are other precautions you can take when it comes to maintaining your sexual health, like HPV shots or regular Pap tests. The Student Health Centre offers these services (Pap and STI testing, HPV vaccines), and is located on the fourth floor of the University Centre. If you feel uncomfortable using on-campus health services, there are clinics throughout St. John's that you can visit as well. If you need more information regarding safe sex, STIs, other clinics, etc., you can always log on to www.mun.ca/health.

University is a place to discover ourselves, while pursuing knowledge. Sex can be a healthy, stress relieving break from our study life. Therefore, it is our responsibility to prevent the spread of STIs and make our campus a safe-sex
environment.

Joshua Duff is a third-year student majoring in political science and English language and literature at Memorial University. He can be reached at jrd218@mun.ca.

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