It’s the heat of the moment. Lights are low. Candles are lit. Sweet, smooth jazz is playing in the background. Conversation is minimal, and deep, sexy eye contact is happening. The mood is set.
Okay, so most college kids don’t really go that far to set the mood in the bedroom, but most are still concerned with making sure that things remain sexy and go smoothly when engaging in alone time with a partner. They are looking for hushed kisses and intimate conversation—not unsexy topics like, “Have you been tested recently?” or “How many partners have you had?”
A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 75.9% of college students aged 18 to 24 had participated in intercourse or oral sex in their lifetime. Sex, in whatever capacity you define it, is prevalent on all college campuses including UC Berkeley.
While students have been exposed to all sorts of health and sexual health resources over the years, a lot of students are in new territory when charting the waters of discussion in the bedroom. Sex isn’t just about making sure you put on a condom properly (though that is really important!). It’s also about nuanced things like conversation: relating to your partner, making preferences known, and discussing boundaries. These are deeply personal issues and preferences that your seventh-grade health class probably didn’t cover.
Everyone has a personal definition of what “sex” is. It could be oral sex, vaginal penetration, or making out. While all are valid, you won’t know how your partner defines sex unless you talk to them. The idea of bringing up the topic may seem uncomfortable or “weird,” but it’s an important part of being sexually active. If you know where your partner is coming from, then you can be mindful of your boundaries as well as theirs.
This kind of conversation could also be a chance for the two of you to discuss things you like and dislike—a great way to learn something about the other person that you might not have known otherwise. Having a conversation beforehand is something that reaches beyond emotional health—you owe it to yourself and your partner to be clear about your sexual health, and the best way to know that information is to be tested regularly.
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know if your partner has gotten tested. It’s not good enough to assume. This topic is also tricky for college students—there can be a stigma attached to getting tested, and no one wants to make their partner feel bad or “unclean.” To remedy this bit of awkwardness, suggest getting tested together. It’s a chance for you both to be up to date on your health and avoid sexually transmitted infections.
Communication is the key to a lot of bedroom issues. It clears up the misunderstandings and confusion that low lighting and candles can bring. Take the time to talk things out with your partner. You may come out of the situation with a new paradigm, a new way to please your partner, and a deeper understanding of who he or she is.
Article by Ally Rondoni
Feature Image Source: CheatSheet