Whether you’re having sex or not, below are some tips to ensure every young adult can have a healthy, safe, and satisfying life – or to simply prepare yourself for when the time comes!
1. Get to know your sexual boundaries. Whether it’s through online research, talking about sex with friends, or experimenting with masturbation, find out what is and isn’t for you. Ask yourself:
- “Am I ready for sex?”
- “What kind of sex am I comfortable with?”
- “Do I want to ‘explore’ in college?”
2. Talk to your partner about consent and ways to ensure you both feel safe while engaging in sexual activity. Learn what consent means and how to practice it in everyday life—without killing the mood.
3. Educate yourself. Ask your RA or counselor where to find resources if you find yourself in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation. Find out who your college’s Title IX coordinator is and don’t be afraid to report an incident or intervene on behalf of a friend if you fear they might be in an unsafe situation.
4. Get tested! Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings, contraception, and sexual wellness visits (pap tests, breast and prostate exams, etc.) are all necessary to a healthy and enjoyable sex life. If you had sex in high school, now is a great time to get tested. It’s important to go for routine STI screenings, especially if you’ve been with a new partner.
5. Locate your college’s sexual health center or find a local clinic online that provides similar services. Check out the services covered by your college or personal insurance, or see if there are state programs that provide free or low-cost services.
6. Ask your health professional about contraception options and determine what’s right for you. Talk to friends about their experiences with various forms of birth control, but remember that choosing contraception is a personal choice.
7. Protect yourself! Regardless of the gender of your sexual partner, it’s essential to protect yourself against STIs and unwanted pregnancy. Condomfinder.org is a great resource for finding nearby locations where you can get free condoms.