Part of college life perks is the independence to make your own choices. With this newly experienced freedom, it is important to be as prepared as possible in order to ensure you and your partners’ safety and well-being.

In 2015 the Center for Disease Control (CDC)saw an unprecedented increase in chlamydia (1.5 million), gonorrhea (395,000), and syphilis (nearly 24,000), largely in the 15-24 age group range. In 2016, chlamydia continued to climb to 1.6 million cases reported, with 46% of the cases being young females.

After reading those numbers you might be thinking oral sex just may be a better option. However, this is a myth in need of busting. The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) notes oral sex puts you at risk for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, human papillomavirus (HPV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The initial infections occur in the throat, genitals, urinary tract, and rectum. Often individuals can be symptom free.  Assessing if someone is a carrier of an STI is tricky business due to the lack of noticeable symptoms. Playing your odds at this guessing game has the potential to create regret. Who wants regret when you are building the foundation of your future here at college?

The bottom line is, you can contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) through genital contact via touching, engaging in vaginal, anal, or oral sex without protection. Protection is not a 100% guarantee from contracting a STI, but it definitely decreases the odds of contraction.

What to Do?

The ASHA suggests the following for oral sex:

  • Mouth to penis: Use a non-lubricated latex condom, or a polyurethane condom if there is a latex allergy.
  • Mouth to vagina or anus: Dental dams or cutting open a condom to create a square can provide a barrier.

Tips & Options:

  • When using a condom, make sure it fits snuggly. Size does matter here.
  • Take the time to understand the different STI’s and how they are tested.
  • Get tested for STI’s. The earlier an STI is detected the better for you and your sexual partner.
  • If you enter into a monogamous relationship, make a date for you and your partner to get tested.
  • If you are not in a monogamous relationship, ask if your sexual partner has been tested and get the details behind it. There is no guarantee you will get an honest answer. However, it does start an important conversation.
  • Avoid sex when you or your potential sexual partner are under the influence of alcohol. No morning regrets.
  • Get tested on a regular basis if you are sexually active.
  • There are flavored condoms, dental dams, and lube available on campus  designed for the use of oral sex, as well as other options for safe sex.
  • Abstaining is always an option as well.

Resources & Information

Final Takeaway

College is your home away from home. It’s an environment offering the opportunity to learn, explore, discover and define who you are, grow from your experiences, create social circles that can last a life time, and gain independence and responsibility along the way. What does this all have to do with sex? College is the foundation of your future. Taking unnecessary risks with sex can compromise your future health and well-being, as well as someone else’s.  So, please take care and remember to pair protection with sex.