Opinion: Let’s talk about sex, baby

When discussing condom use outside of a sexual situation, it’s very easy to say, “Of course I’ll use one.” Not many people think about the extenuating circumstances that often happen: being allergic to latex or spermicide, not getting the right size, or the actual responsibility of stopping in the middle of a heated moment to put on a condom.

This Wednesday, FSU’s Support Education Action Leadership and Strength (SEALS) organization had a table in the McCarthy lobby in celebration of National Condom Day.

At this table, students were handing out a series of different condoms including glow in the dark, pride mix (specially designed for homosexual couples), latex-free, lollipop, super sensitive, and female condoms. They also had a bucket of different lubricants and flavored dental dams.
SEALS, in collaboration with the Health Center, had the goal of informing students that all of these contraceptives, and more, are available at the Health Center.

“We do STD or STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing and counseling on safer sex in general,” said Pamela Lehmberg, a Nurse Practitioner in the Health Center specializing in Health Education Outreach. “We also do pregnancy testing and we like to talk about healthy relationships and the signs of a healthy relationship.”

SEALS also focuses on helping students reduce stress, improve better sleeping habits, abstain from drugs or alcohol, identify and report sexual assault, and improve body image. Upcoming events include screenings of informative films and a table focusing on body image.

The Health Center offers support in informing students about different kinds of contraception, STI/STD testing, counseling for couples or individuals about safe sex, pregnancy testing, healthy relationships, and even emergency contraception. They can also write prescriptions.

It is clear that students are not aware of the resources available to them concerning their sexual health here on campus. Many students are afraid to even talk about it.

The Health Center offers advice on how to have these conversations with your partner and even suggests sometimes bringing your partner in with you to have an open and safe dialogue about each other’s sexual health. During these discussions they offer advice on consent, STD prevention and past infections.

“We suggest people get tested before they start a new relationship,” Lehmberg said. “And if someone does have an infection we have their partners come in so we can treat them as well.”

Most students in relationships admitted to not using condoms because they have birth control. Single students tended to say that they used birth control and condoms when with someone they were not committed to.

Unfortunately, couples aren’t comfortable with talking about using protection, using birth control, one another’s sexual history, and getting tested. These topics should be talked about openly without you or your partner feeling embarrassed or disgusted. Sexual intercourse is a natural thing that many college students participate in, but never ask questions about.

When first having sex, partners usually assume that the girl is on birth control or the guy will have condoms. There is generally no dialogue between the two during the first act of physical intimacy. This shouldn’t be the case. Our high school health teachers taught us that all it takes is one time and mistakes commonly happen.

As up-and-coming adults, we should not be afraid to take responsibility of our own sexual health. It is beneficial to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to what forms of contraception to use.
SEALS, and the Health Center, offer support to any students open to learning about traditional or alternative methods. They are also looking for new students to join the SEALS organization.

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