Having the Talk: Sexual Health in College
By Olivia Lawnick, Student at Newberry College
Not everything they teach you in school is useful when you are learning it, but you might find you need that information later in the real world. Algebra at the grocery store, spelling on a job application and sex education in … well, wherever.
Besides the basics covered in health class, sex education can also come from your parents. Some of you might have a great relationship with your parents and have easily and comfortably discussed this topic before. But for the rest of you, your parents aren’t exactly the first people you would talk to about your sexual health questions. That is OK, understandable and expected. However, there are other ways you can find information to help you safe.
Have a Talk With Your Doctor
Your doctor, especially your gynecologist, is someone you should consider as a reference source and a guide.
If you have questions about birth control, you should ask them, especially since they need to write the prescription. Are you nervous or don’t know how to bring up the topic? Try easing into the question.
Do not be afraid to ask your doctor about birth control because you think they will jump to the conclusion that you are sexually active. The pill, as it is sometimes called, can be used for other medical reasons besides preventing pregnancy. It can be helpful to women who have irregular or painful periods. However, while it can reduce the possibility of pregnancy, it does not totally eliminate it. Also, it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections at all.
Don’t have a doctor in your college town? Your campus most likely has an office specifically focusing on sexual health where you can go for information.
Consult Reputable Websites
You might be nervous to ask your health teacher or your parents questions, but Google doesn’t judge you, right? Well, while searching for your questions may be convenient, the search results will be overwhelming as well as misleading. Google can’t determine if the information is reputable. It is best to search your question on a respectable and trustworthy website.
Great sources of accurate information in can be found on these highly recommended and useful sites such as Planned Parenthood and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These resources have information and advice on topics ranging from birth control to STIs and their treatments. Even if none of the topics concern you right now, it is still a good idea to look through some of the information. Not knowing anything is a lot worse than knowing a little bit about something.
Don’t Solely Go on Friends’ Advice
Just as there are good sources of information, there are also bad sources. PLEASE do not only take sexual health advice from your friends. They are not health professionals and might just be talking from personal experience. Also, they could be misinformed.
If you have questions, don’t you want the right answers? Do yourself a favor and learn accurate, true information. Also, Cosmopolitan magazine and other media that claim to have sex advice should be read carefully. The content of those articles are more aimed towards “skill” and sensations rather than health and safety. Your sexual priorities should definitely be your well-being over your sexual finesse.
Maybe you didn’t make an A in health class, but you should definitely learn how to protect yourself. Take the time to learn how to take care of your body properly. You might not need that knowledge right now, but you do not want to risk not knowing it at all.
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