Let’s talk about sex, baby. No really, let’s.
I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a public school system where I was offered sex ed. I remember sitting in my eighth grade health class, cringing at every mention of the word “condom” and being scarred from the “Miracle of Life” video. But no matter how incredibly awkward this class was, I was still taught that if you are going to have sex, you have to be safe about it. Some people in this world are not given that educational opportunity, and I think that is one of the biggest flaws of this country, but that’s for another editorial.
I feel as though most people know that college is a pretty sexual place. I can feel my parents cringing while reading this (Hi mom and dad!), but I would argue that it’s true. There is a certain hookup culture on college campuses that promotes promiscuity and sexual behavior, and I feel as though it is naive to sit around and pretend that it doesn’t exist. College students have sex with each other (consensually, of course, but like I said, that’s another editorial). It’s just what they do.
I am not here to comment on whether or not I think that hookup culture is wrong, because, honestly, I don’t think it’s my place to tell other people what they can and can’t do with their bodies. I am here, however, to advise you to be safe with whatever it is that you decide to do.
Unfortunately for college students, with great sex comes great responsibility. You most likely know that you can get pregnant from unprotected sex, and you may know that you can get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from unprotected sex. But did you know that, according to the UNH Health Services website, one half of all sexually active young people will get an STI by the time they are 25? Did you know that some STIs don’t show symptoms, even if you are contagious? Did you know that chlamydia is the most common STI in the United States, and has the highest rates in women ages 15-24, which is probably the demographic of some of you reading this right now? Probably not.
These facts aren’t meant to scare you, they are just reality. I cannot stress enough the importance of safe sex. Asking your partner about where they’ve been, using protection, etc. can be the difference between a fun-night-stand and some pretty uncomfortable conversations.
We as Wildcats are very fortunate to be on a campus that promotes safety in sexuality. On page eight, Contributing Writer Logan Pollock has covered a month-long event called “Get Yourself Tested Month” in which Health Services has decided to give confidential STI tests to students. Any students who participate receive a $5 gift card to Breaking New Grounds, Aroma Joe’s or The Juicery. If that’s not enough incentive to get tested, I don’t know what is.
There is really no reason to not be tested for STIs. If you do have one, it can most likely be treated and you are better off knowing so you don’t spread it to the people you are intimate with. If you don’t have one, then you don’t have one and that’s awesome too. You can never be too safe with this kind of thing, and it’s truly just the smart thing to do.
I encourage all of you to take this opportunity to go get tested and also to learn about, and practice, safe sex in your next endeavors. Take advantage of the opportunity you are given here, it’d be reckless and dumb not to. You’re always better safe than sorry.