| 03.17.2018

Beyond condoms — Safe sex means more than latex and prescriptions


It’s Valentine’s Day — a time for love, appreciation and maybe even a little alone time with that special someone.
At the University of Idaho, there are plenty of resources for students who want to learn more about sexual health, or for those who just need some free condoms. The Women’s Center, the Vandal Health Education office and the Student Health Clinic can all help with this.

However, being safe goes beyond knowing about the mechanics of how to practice sex in ways to avoid pregnancy or the spread of STDs. Safe sex is just that — safe. Physically safe, but also mentally safe.

No one can address safe sex without also addressing the mental health components that come with it. Sex takes on many forms — from casual intercourse to a committed relationship, no two sexual partnerships are the same. Still, something that never changes is a need for partners to communicate and be on the same page.

That’s right — this is the consent talk.

Whether a couple is just getting to know one another or has been married for years, active and continued consent is a requirement for each and every sexual encounter.

Essentially this means partners should communicate and say ‘yes’ to get undressed. Even then, sex can bring with it many powerful emotions that participants should be aware of.

Sometimes, there aren’t many emotions associated with sex, and that’s alright. What’s important
is that partners understand what they want to do in that moment and in the future. Don’t let sex ruin a friendship, but don’t be afraid to talk about it with an interested party.

After the biological aspects of safe sex, the biggest rule to remember is “you do you.”

Intimate relationships can take many forms and change over time. Many of these are positive, but it’s important for students to take stock of what their needs and desires are, and if those are being met.

Students who find themselves in uncomfortable or controlling relationships can seek help at the Counseling and Testing Center on campus or the Women’s Center. Sexual health goes beyond someone listening to their body — it’s about remembering their mental needs as well.

This Valentine’s Day, take time to check in and make sure the sex is safe on all levels.

— LK

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