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Sexual Health

Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

Adapted from the World Health Organization, Gender and Human Rights

Sexual health resources

Student Health Services provides comprehensive resources for sexually active men and women on campus. Medical appointments can be scheduled online or by calling 314-935-6666, and are available with female or male providers. Mental Health counselors are available to discuss issues related to sex, sexual orientation, sexuality, gender identity, assault and abuse, and more. If you would like to take advantage of your 9 free counseling sessions, your first appointment must be scheduled by phone at 314-935-6695. You can read more about sexual health resources crosslink to Medical & Health Care>Sexual Health provided by Medical Services.

Am I ready?

“Hooking up” or having sex with a partner is a big decision. It involves many feelings, responsibilities and choices. Before you engage in a sexual relationship, it can be helpful to check in with your feelings and emotional state. Think about your personal values and goals—what feelings do you have about the emotional and physical risks you are willing to take? How clear can you be with your partner about what you want and don’t want to happen? Are you feeling pressured to engage in activities that you don’t feel ready for? Remember, you never obligated to do anything you do not want to do.

Practicing safe sex

Exploring sexuality is a natural part of adult human behavior, but all forms of sexual activity beyond masturbation and fantasy carry risk. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are present on campus and in the community, and some forms of sexual activity carry the risk of pregnancy. Disregarding a partner’s active consent can be a form of rape. To maximize pleasure and minimize negative consequences:

  • Prophylactics, when used properly, reduce the risk of STI transmission. Male and female condoms and dental dams provide protection as well as prevent pregnancy. Make sure to check the expiration dates on condoms—expired condoms are more likely to break.
  • Use safe and reliable contraceptives such as hormonal contraceptives (the pill, patch, ring, implant or intrauterine devices) along with condoms or dental dams to avoid unintended pregnancy or infection. The Habif Health & Wellness Center and many organizations on campus provide free condoms and dental dams.
  • When other contraceptive measures fail, emergency contraceptives (EC) can prevent pregnancy up to 120 hours after the fact. EC is safe and effective but should not be used as regular contraception.
  • Learn the symptoms of STIs, and get regular screenings. Ask your partners to get screened as well.
  • Be careful when engaging in sexual activity under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol impairs judgment and impedes the ability to give (or obtain) proper consent.
  • Sex without consent is rape. Ask someone if they want to engage in sexual activities, and give them the opportunity to say no. Never pressure someone into engaging in sexual activities that they do not want. Consent is the presence of an active yes, not the absence of a no.
  • Safe sex means mutual respect. Be clear about what you do and do not want to do and respect each other’s limits. Be attentive to each other’s pleasure.

More sexual health information

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on sexual health.

Didja Know advocates safe sex and has information about STIs, prevention, and more.

bedsider.org

choiceproject.wustl.edu

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