Have you ever noticed how talking about sex can immediately bring up feelings of embarrassment, shame or even guilt? Despite the fact that most people will have a sexual experience in their lifetime, the topic itself is often stigmatized due to the negative consequences, which may result from a sexual encounter. The stigma (negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs) surrounding sex can discourage and often prevent people from seeking out resources.
While not all Fresno State students choose to be sexually active during their college experience, it is important for all students to know about the resources available on campus. Here are some tips for creating positive sexual health experiences
Talk openly with your partner(s)
Communication is key in a healthy relationship and talking about things like Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and/or unplanned pregnancies should be a topic of conversation. If you need help facilitating those conversations with your partner, consider scheduling a counseling appointment for you and your partner at the Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC).
Use barrier methods during every sexual encounter
Barrier methods, such as condoms and dental dams, help prevent the spread of STIs and protect against unplanned pregnancies. Barrier methods and other sexual health products can be purchased at a discounted price at the SHCC Pharmacy. External condoms can also be found for FREE at the SHCC, the Paws-N-Go Markets in North Gym, the Satellite Student Union and in the Atrium of University Courtyard.
Get tested annually
Most STIs do not show signs or symptoms for months or even years. STIs left untreated can lead to long-term health effects, such as infertility, discomfort and cancer. Testing is the only way to know a person’s STI status, so encourage your partner(s) to get tested as well. Students can receive testing and treatment at the SHCC at a discounted price.
Make a health education appointment
Meet with a health educator to learn more about STIs and how to get the most effective outcome of barrier methods. A health educator is also available to help you explore other STI prevention methods, as well as pregnancy planning or prevention methods. Make an appointment by visiting: www.fresnostate.edu/health.
Your health is a priority. Practice safer sex.
Most of what you hear about sex or sexual health in the media emphasizes the negative aspects associated with sex (i.e., rates of STIs and unplanned pregnancies). Sadly, these reports reinforce the shaming we see as a society. Rather than talking about the negatives, motivate yourself and encourage others to have nonjudgmental conversations with others about sexual health, seek protection like condoms or birth control, and get testing. Sex is a normal part of life and being a human, so let’s uplift each other in making healthier and safer sex choices.
Healthy Bulldogs is written by the staff of the Student Health and Counseling Center to encourage Fresno State students to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle.