Improve your Sex: Learn and Live

As college students are wrapping up the semester, the social side of our higher education is about to emerge full force. Young adults deserve to know accurate things about their body and what to do to stay sexually healthy, mentally and physically.

No matter what sexual endeavors come up, knowing these things will benefit you and your partner (or partners).

1. Get Checked

According to Stanford University’s Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, one in four college students have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that although people ages 15-24 represent only 25 percent of the sexually active population, they account for more than half of the new STD diagnoses each year.

The rest of the population outweighs college students, but they are still contracting diseases more often. Getting checked is the only accurate way to tell where you stand with possible STDs. Some STDs have mild symptoms that get confused with another infections and some STDs give no symptoms at all.

Getting checked at a clinic is the only guarantee. At Georgia State, our on campus Planned Parenthood and our Student Health Clinic offer STD testing, all disclosure kept to the patient and the provider.

So, how often should you get checked? It depends. It depends on how many partners you have. If you are open and free with your sex partners, it is only the responsible thing to do for you and your partners to get checked twice a year. If you are unaware of a partner’s sexual history, sporadically use protection, or are in an open relationship; getting checked is the best way to quell any fears or paranoia.

2. Plain old water is all you need

Douche, body washes, soap and feminine “hygiene” products. According to the National Health Services, all of these are harmful for your hygiene and health. No matter what genitalia you have, whether it be a vagina, a penis or anything in between, these products are harming you more than helping you.

Applying soap and similar “cleaning products” to these areas can cause the mucosal lining to become dry and unhealthy.

Specifically speaking of using a douche, no matter what it advertises, it can severely offset your sexual health. With common advertisements claiming to “maintain” your pH balance, it does the opposite; pH balance is maintained by lactobacilli, that good bacteria that’s already in your vagina.

Your genitalia is not inherently gross. You are not dirty. Vaginas clean themselves and all you need to clean yourself is with your hand and with some water. Penises and vaginas alike.

3. Have the conversation

It might not be sexy and it might not be romantic, but it is necessary.

Ask your partner about sexual experiences they’ve had and communicate openly. Share what you are expecting and ask the same. Being non-judgmental and curious of things such as number of partners, what you like and what you expect of one another should all be on the table.

As far as health goes, be honest about if you have been checked and do not get offended when a partner feels more comfortable if you were to get tested.

4. Know yourself

Before you expect anyone to do right by you, you have to know yourself first. Be familiar with your own sex and know the parts of your genitalia.

Also, know your partner’s genitalia intimately. You shouldn’t expect to please your partner when you are sexually ignorant about their parts. For instance, the clitoris is a feature overlooked by both genders and essential in sexual well being when it comes to vaginas.

Masturbate. Stigmas aside, it can reduce stress, improve sleep and make you feel more comfortable about your parts and the parts of others.

According to Planned Parenthood, “People who feel good about their bodies, sex and masturbate are more likely to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy.”

Always use protection. Communicate honestly. Get tested. These are all things the majority of us have heard since we learned about sexually transmitted diseases in grade school. We are very familiar with but rarely follow these sincerely in our daily lives.

People with unhealthy sexual relationships and risky behavior are not an anomaly. Closing your eyes to risks mentally and physically and hoping for the best is not a good way to navigate your life. Empower yourself with knowledge and feel more at home in your body.