Matt Weir/The Collegian
Valentine’s Day and sex go hand-in-hand. The annual commemoration isn’t a national holiday, but some people consider the day as a time to express love and affection for each other — by having sex.
According to A.E. Freeman in “Interesting Valentine’s Day Facts,” Feb. 14 is the highest day for condom sales. Also, at-home pregnancy test sales reach their peak in March.
Oh, the irony.
If you’re planning to indulge sexually on Valentine’s Day, then there are a few important factors that you should know.
Biology major Tim Walrod, one of the peer health educators at the Student Health Center, advises students to “always use protection whenever you’re with that special somebody.”
Public health major Hannah Day, student program coordinator at the Student Health Center, said protection includes barrier methods such as a male or female condoms and dental dams for engaging in any sexual activity.
“Whether it’s intercourse, oral or anal,” Day said. “Any facet in which one body is touching another.”
In addition to practicing safe sex physically, Day and Walrod said communication and STI testing is just as important.
“Really communicate what it is that you want to do on Valentine’s Day, if it’s to engage in those things or not,” Day said.
Communication is key to any relationship, physically involved or not physically involved. Being in a relationship also means being aware and being open with your partner — even about topics that aren’t always easy to discuss.
“In terms of being in a monogamous relationship, STI testing is always important,” Walrod said. “Make sure everything is OK in terms of that.”
Kathy Yarmo, health promotion and wellness coordinator, wants students to be aware of the multiple services and resources offered at the Student Health Center.
“Obviously the Family PACT is one of those resources and most of our students will qualify for that program,” Yarmo said.
The Family PACT Program is a statewide program that covers birth control, counseling, pregnancy testing, physical exams and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
“Once they enroll in that program, not only can they access the services here at our Student Health Center, but other clinics that have Family PACT,” Day said. “Like for example, Planned Parenthood is one of them.”
The eligibility requirements include a California address, capable of becoming pregnant or causing a pregnancy, under 55 years of age for women and 60 years of age for men and an income at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level.
Yarmo said that even if a student has insurance through their parents, but wants their information kept confidential, the student could apply and be eligible for the Family PACT Program if they meet the requirements.
Along with a green card that proves your Family PACT Program eligibility, students receive 36 condoms of various types.
National Condom Awareness Month is February and National Condom Awareness Day is coincidentally Valentine’s Day.
The Student Health Center celebrates condom awareness all year by selling Trojan Her Pleasure, Trojan Magnum and Trojan lubricated condoms at the pharmacy. Students can purchase five condoms for $1. Trojan condoms sell in a box of three for $5.99 at Walgreens and Durex condoms go for $5.49.
The Student Health Center pharmacy also sells Next Choice, an emergency contraceptive option that’s similar to Plan B.
The faculty and staff at the Student Health Center will be hosting a Valentine’s Day booth from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Free Speech Area. Students will have a chance to grab condom roses and heart-shaped notes with how-to make love to your partner without having sex.
Some ideas include playing footsie, going to the park, sharing an ice cream cone and doing things for each other without being asked.
They’re also planning to do a fun event in March at the University Student Union called “Speed Friending,” a new twist to the classic speed-dating model. The difference is that the pressure isn’t too great to make a connection.
“Say there is a romance connection, who knows?” Day said. “It could happen.”
Despite your views about Valentine’s Day, take extra time to be safe by taking precautions. The Student Health Center opens at 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. today for all you last-minute planners.