College students are usually making the switch from living with their parents to being on their own.
The majority of students (94%, according to a recent study) are sexually active and many engage in a variety of sexual risks.
Students often go to college without the proper knowledge about sexual health and find themselves engaging in sexual acts that place them at unintended risks such as HIV, pregnancy and STDs.
College students should strive for “healthy relationships” with their significant others. Healthy relationships don’t look the same for every relationship since everyone has different needs. Each relationship is different and deserves to be approached differently, which is why communication is key in every relationship. Open communication, trust and honesty are all key factors to creating a healthy relationship.
Sexual health is more than STDs and HIV. Coming up with just one set definition is a task but the American Sexual Health Association defines it as, “The ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives. It is an important part of our physical and emotional health. Being sexually healthy means: Understanding that sexuality is a natural part of life and involves more than sexual behavior. Recognizing and respecting the sexual rights we all share. Having access to sexual health information, education, and care. Making an effort to prevent unintended pregnancies and STDs and seek care and treatment when needed. Being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired. Being able to communicate about sexual health with others including sexual partners and healthcare providers.”
Getting tested regularly and practicing safe sex are essential when it comes to sexual health. Third year health science major Jaliyah Jones says being in college and practicing healthy, safe sex is an easy task for her, and others should follow suit.
“While being in college, I’ve seen a lot of my friends participate in unhealthy sexual acts ad not taking care of themselves,” Jones said. “I try to be the one to help them out and teach them ways to be smarter and healthier.”
Jones added, “It’s not a hard thing to do, get tested regularly, wear condoms, and ask the other person for their results too. I think the disconnect with most students is they think the other person wouldn’t intentionally give them something but the honest truth is, some people would, and that is not OK.”
For college students in need to talk to someone or do their own research, ASHA (American Sexual Health Association) is willing to teach and share their knowledge. Visit ashasexualhealth.org for more information.