“Q: What is ‘sexual health’? And how do I stay healthy?
A: There are many aspects of sexual health, which means there is more than one way to be ‘healthy’ and there are many factors that affect your sexual health. Let’s chat about some must haves:
Cultivate healthy relationships. Sexual health doesn’t just refer to your physical health, it also refers to your emotional and mental wellbeing. Fostering healthy relationships, as well as getting consent, are important parts of your sexual health.
Why are these things so important? Building positive relationships lays the foundation for communication and trust, which are essential in any sexual relationship.
Always get consent. Consent is key in a healthy relationship, whether you’re making out or having sex, it’s a step that can’t be skipped or skimmed over.
Consent should always be freely and actively given, reciprocal, informed, mutually understandable and ongoing.
Consent should be practiced in non sexual parts of your relationships as well. Practicing consent in all of your relationships, and in all settings of your life, will not only build stronger relationships, but will make you more comfortable asking for and negotiating consent in your romantic relationships.
Trust your gut. Being healthy sexually looks different for every person, so it’s important to know your body. When in doubt, get it checked out. If you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.
Talk to a healthcare provider as soon as you start to notice anything that doesn’t feel right, because the faster you treat any health issue, whether that be a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), the better.
Safer Sex. Practicing safer sex and getting tested regularly if you’re sexually active, are a vital part of having a happy and healthy sex life.
Safe sex looks different for every individual, just like sex looks different for every individual. Providers and the Sexual Health Team at Student Health Services can help you learn more about barrier methods and contraception to decide what might work best for you and your lifestyle.
Know your resources. Knowing your resources can help make all of these essentials easier, and here at Oregon State University we have access to some of the best care and support in our community.
OSU’s Student Health Services offers annual exams and low cost, self-referral lab testing, pregnancy testing and counseling, contraceptive counseling and services, prevention and wellness programs, workshops and events, as well as treatment of sexual transmitted diseases and other conditions affecting sexual health.
Student Health Services can also assist you in signing up for CCare, a state program providing free contraceptive methods including the ring, patch, IUD, shot, implant, diaphragm, pills, external condoms and emergency contraceptives. Call 541-737-9140 or stop by Plageman room 110 for more info and help signing up.
Looking for safe sex supplies? Stop by any of the Student Health Services locations (Plageman, Dixon and Tebeau), or one of the cultural centers on campus to access a variety of barriers at our Safer Sex Spots.
-Answered by Oregon State University’s Prevention and Wellness Sexual Health Team.