Safe Sex Isn’t Just About Condoms

When you think of the term “safe sex” you tend to think about protection such as condoms. Condoms are a key factor in having safe sex, especially when you take the STI and pregnancy statistics among colleges into consideration.

However, I’m here to talk about the other side of safe sex: getting STI tested and having open communication with your partner.

It is extremely important that you get tested for STI’s, especially after you engage in sexual activity with a new partner or a partner you haven’t engaged with in a while. Also, it’s not a bad idea to get tested even if you have a steady partner because not everyone is as loyal as they should be. Not every STI makes itself known when you have one, and the longer you go without getting treatment you risk having some serious health complications and not being able to have children. You also risk the chance of spreading an STI to someone else.

Most universities offer free STI testing (I know KU does), but if you didn’t want to go to your college’s health and wellness center you can get tested at your local Planned Parenthood or local clinic. Both places allow you to pay for the test out-of-pocket at an affordable price, so if you’re on your parent’s insurance you don’t have to worry about them finding out.

Along with being tested, you should always feel comfortable with your partner. It is okay, encouraged even, to ask your partner when the last time was they got tested. If they refuse to answer or get upset at you for asking, you’re allowed to change your mind and not partake in sexual activity with that person. It cannot be stressed enough how essential communication is for having a healthy sex life, even beyond talking about STI’s. It is important for both parties to have a clear and consensual idea of what is happening. Keep in mind that just because you said yes once doesn’t mean you have to say yes again.

Sexual health is no joke and needs to be taken seriously.

Safe sex in all aspects are important, so remember to use condoms, get tested and don’t be afraid to talk to your partner.