Safe Sex Basics
Using condoms and dental dams regularly and correctly support sexual well-being by protecting you and your partner(s) from transmitting sexually transmitted infections (STI) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This can make sex more enjoyable by offering peace-of-mind and allowing you and your partner to instead focus your attention on each other.
Barrier methods are available for oral, anal and vaginal sex and come in a variety of options:
- Internal condom
- External condom
- Dental dam
Free condoms are included in your Student Health Fee and available at the Student Health Center. We currently have the following options:
- SATIN Dams
- Trojan Ultra Thin Lubricated Condoms
- Trojan ENZ Condoms
- LifeStyles Non-Latex Lubricated Condoms
Using Barrier Methods Correctly
Respectful sexuality means knowing your status for your own well-being and that of your partner(s). Sexually active adults, meaning those engaging in anal, vaginal and/or oral sex, should be tested for common STIs like chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV.
How Often Should I Get Tested?
Testing guidelines vary and are dependent upon considerations like number of partners, whether barrier methods are used, if a partner is positive for STIs and others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer general guidelines: Which STD Tests Should I Get?
STI Testing at the Student Health Center
We offer testing for students experiencing symptoms or simply for peace-of-mind for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV. Current students are also eligible for our Free STI Testing Clinic once per semester, by appointment.
Just like in many other areas of our lives, communication is key when it comes to sex. Sexual communication helps us convey consent, preferences and information sharing like STI status. The more you practice talking about sex, the easier it gets. Below are “4 P’s” of sexual communication that can help start your conversation.
All partners engaged in sexual activity should feel comfortable. Have conversations about your preferences for before, during and after sex and what you find pleasurable prior to engaging in sexual activity.
Discuss previous practices such as STI and HIV testing and results, past partners and experiences that are important for the safety and enjoyment of you and your partner.
Correct and consistent use of condoms and dental dams are among the most effective ways to promote harm reduction by preventing STI/HIV transmission. Informing your partner that you want to use a condom or dental dam is normal and supports your and your partner’s sexual health by fostering safety and respect.
Disclosing the presence of past trauma or partner violence may help you feel safe with your current partner and help your partner respect your boundaries.
* adapted from American College Health Association, “Best Practices for Sexual Health Promotion and Clinical Care in College Health Settings”.