One of the scariest things about going to college is leaving home and entering a completely new world of relationships. College is a place where you meet hundreds of new people and this alone can be daunting to most students. The media has done a great job of dressing college up with friendships, enemies and romance. Whether you like it or not, this will most likely be the place where you try things you’ve never heard of with people that you never knew existed.
Your sexuality is usually something that’s rather new by the time you hit freshmen year, and it can often times make or break your college experience. Most of us know what safe sex entails since we’ve all been to the orientation and had to sit through tedious and embarrassing sex education classes. But, what most of us don’t know, are what the effects of sex and sexual actions can be on our emotional and mental health.
I’ve been sexually active since I was 17 and had been in a wide variety of relationships. Some were long-term and some only for a few weeks. Each relationship was different and yielded different challenges and personal needs. Before I go into details, I want you to know one thing. There is no wrong way to have a sexual relationship.
We live in a day and age where self-acceptance is crucial. How you love and choose to love is entirely up you! It is your personal experience with that person and nobody else’s! Do not let friends tell you what is right and what is wrong, you have been educated enough to know what you shouldn’t be doing.
The challenge with all of this is knowing what your own personal limitations are and what you are emotionally ready for. Before you decide to sexually engage with someone, make sure you know yourself sexually first. This means knowing what you like, how you like it, what your limitations are, whether you have a safe space to make love in, how fast do you want to go, and what characteristic would you want your ideal partner to have.
Below is a comprehensive list of what I believe everyone should know and make note of if they wish to explore their sexuality and sexual relations.
1. Always, ALWAYS use a condom. Unless you are trying to have a child with your partner using a condom is a must. It’s a very easy and cheap way to ensure you are protected from STDs and having children. If your partner does not wish to use a condom, then they are probably not worthy of your wonderful self anyway.
2. If you are uncomfortable discussing sex and your preferences outright with your partner, you’re probably not ready for it.
3. Make sure you have someone in your life like a best friend, sibling or parent with whom you can talk about sex with. They will be there to listen and might ease any nervousness you might have.
4. Stop thinking sex is taboo. Everyone has it, but somehow society has managed to make it uncomfortable to talk about. Sex is wonderful. It gives you a chance to intimately connect with your partner, explore your sexuality and feels amazing, not to mention all the health benefits that come with sex.
5. Sex is a big emotional step. No matter how ready you think you are for sex, it’s likely that you probably aren’t. Having sex for the first time will affect you emotionally and mentally. That’s why it’s so important that you explore sex yourself before engaging in it for the first time.
6. Again, just for emphasis: There is no right or wrong way to have sex.
7. Make sure the place where you’re having sex is comfortable and safe for you. Feeling threatened or uneasy can take away from what the experience should be.
8. Realize that there are going to be some new and exciting sensations and they are normal. Feeling ashamed during sex is the last thing you need, so it’s important to know that no two people experience sex the same way.
9. The amount of sexual partners you wish to have is entirely up to you. There’s no universal or cultural norm for how many partners you wish to have. Just make sure you are taking the correct STD preventative measures and are emotionally and mentally ready for the relationships.
10. Finally, the most important part of sex is loving yourself. Be comfortable in your own skin, and allow yourself to feel ridiculously and undeniably sexy!