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Sexual Health & Safety
Closeness, touching, and intimacy are good for health. Sex is an
act that is best done in a caring, loving and monogamous relationship and there are many reasons to
recommend that sexual intercourse be reserved for a marital relationship. The Catholic faith
maintains that sexual intercourse is to be simultaneously an act of the deepest intimacy and an act
open to the conception of new life. Because of this twofold purpose, intercourse is to be engaged
in only by marriage partners. Muslims and Jews share similar moral positions. The following
information should be used within the context of one's own religious, moral, and ethical values
about human sexuality. If you choose to be sexually active, consider your health and peace of mind
by playing it safe.
Safer sex means being intimate but using
measures that minimize the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Not
having sex, including intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, and genital to
genital contact is the only sure way to eliminate the risk for STDs.
Caressing, hugging, dry kissing, and masturbation are no risk or extremely
low-risk practices. So is limiting your sexual contact to one person your
entire life if your partner is also monogamous and does not have an STD.
Follow these measures to reduce the risk for
contracting an STD:
Use latex or polyurethane barriers, such as
condoms (male or female ones), dental dams, latex gloves, etc. These reduce
the spread of STDs when used properly and carefully and for every sex act.
They do not eliminate the risk entirely. Barriers made of natural membranes,
such as lamb skin do not offer effective protection against STDs. Unless
they are in a monogamous relationship in which neither partner has an STD,
both females and males should carry latex or polyurethane barriers and
insist that they be used every time they have genital contact and/or oral
sex. Use polyurethane condoms if either partner is allergic to latex.
||For oral-vaginal sex and oral-anal sex,
use latex dams ("doilies"). These are latex squares.
||For additional protection, use spermicidal
foams, jellies, or creams (especially with Nonoxynol-9 if you are not
allergic to this), and a diaphragm. Use these with (not instead of) a
condom. Use water-based lubricants, such as K-Y Brand Jelly. Don't
use oil-based or "petroleum" ones, such as Vaseline. They can damage
||Don't have sex while under the influence
of drugs or alcohol.
||Limit sexual partners. Sexual contact with
many persons increases the risk for STDs, especially if no protection is
||Discuss a new partner's sexual history
with him or her before beginning a sexual relationship. (Be aware,
though, that persons are not always honest about their sexual history.)
||Avoid sexual contact with persons whose
health status and health practices are not known.
||Avoid sex if either partner has signs and
symptoms of a genital infection, such as sores or a discharge.
||Wash the genitals with soap and water
before and after sexual intercourse.
||After manual, sexual contact in another
person's genital area, wash your hands with hot water and an
antibacterial soap, especially before you touch your eyes or anyone
||Talk to your health care provider about
getting vaccinated for hepatitis B.
If you have multiple sex partners, ask your
health care provider to check for STDs every 6 months (or as he or she
advises), even if you donít have any symptoms.
Seek treatment for a sexually transmitted
disease if you know your sex partner is infected.
For Information, Contact:
Your schoolís Student Health Center, your
health care provider, or your local health department
The National STD Hotline
American Social Health Association (ASHA)
Sexual assault is an unlawful act that may
involve the touching of intimate body parts, sexual intimidation, or forced
sexual penetration. This includes sexual intercourse, oral sex, and digital
Rape is forced sexual intercourse. Force may
be by verbal threats, physical restraint, or violence.
Rape is one of the most underreported,
violent crimes in the United States. Only about 16% of rapes are reported.
Acquaintance or date rape is forced or coerced sexual intercourse by a
friend or acquaintance, usually in a dating situation. About 80% of sexual
assault victims knew their assailant. Most acquaintance rape is sexually
motivated with violence or coercion as factors. Almost all sexual assaults
on college campuses are acquaintance rapes, and in most cases at least one
of the persons involved is under the influence of alcohol or another drug.
Safety Tips to
Reduce the Chances for Sexual Assault
Be aware of the risks of date rape with
drinking alcohol. About 75% of male students who take part in acquaintance
rape had been drinking; about 55% of female students had.
The best defense is to not drink. If you
drink, limit alcohol intake.
Donít drink anything you have not
brought or opened yourself. Donít drink from another personís container,
from a punch bowl, beer bong, etc. When at a bar or club, accept drinks
only from a bartender or waiter.
Keep your drink in your hand and under
your watch at all times. If needed, have a friend watch your drink. Do
the same for your friend(s).
Donít drink alcohol in a high-risk
setting for sexual assault (e.g., frat house or team parties or with
persons you donít know and/or trust).
Be aware of these ďdate-rapeĒ
drugs, which have no odor or color when mixed with drinks:
See the Drug Chart under "Drugs & Drug Safety" for the effects of
this drug, which can last 6 to 8 hours. This drug is added to drinks and
punches at parties, raves, etc., usually to lower sexual inhibitions in
females. When mixed with alcohol or other drugs, Rohypnol can cause
GLB. See the Drug Chart under "Drugs & Drug Safety" for the
effects of this drug, which last about 8 hours. If you have had this
drug, you may wake up partially clothed with no recollection of a sexual
assault. GHB is often made in homes with recipes and ingredients found
and purchased on the Internet. GHB can cause death.
Consider using a coaster or test strip made to detect date rape drugs in
drinks before you take a sip. An example is Drink Safe CoasterTM
by Drink Safe Technology. For information, contact
If you suspect you have been drugged keep a sample of your drink. Get
help immediately. Have a friend help you get medical care. Call EMS, if
necessary. Get tested for the drug within 12 hours of the suspected incident
at a hospital emergency department.
Do not have sex with a person who is
under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, which compromise consent. Also,
look out for the safety of your friends and yourself and donít put yourself
in vulnerable situations.
Alert your female friends (and the
authorities) to rumors of guys using date- rape drugs.
Don't assume that anyone under the
influence is "too nice a guy" to commit sexual assault. Intervene on a
friend's behalf (e.g., walk her out of a party, take her to a safe
Know your sexual limitations and
communicate them both verbally and nonverbally. If you sense you are
being pressured to have sex and don't want to, state your position
clearly. Say "NO" emphatically when you mean "NO!" Be aware, too, that a
female/partner does not need to say the word, "NO" to mean "NO." Listen
for words like, "I'm just not ready," "We're going too fast," etc. The
female/partner may be afraid to say "NO."
Attend your schoolís classes, etc., on
preventing acquaintance rape, sexual assault, etc. Take a class in
Carry a cell phone with you to call for
help, if needed.
Avoid being alone, especially in unsafe
situations and with strangers and persons you donít know well or feel
Keep the doors to your home and car
locked. Donít open doors to strangers. Donít tell strangers that you are
If Rape Occurs
Do not shower, clean or wash up in any
way, or change clothing before you go to the hospital emergency
department. Doing so could destroy evidence (e.g., blood type, hair
samples, etc.), which may not be legally acceptable if collected later
than 72 hours after the rape. If you have removed clothes worn at the
time of the rape, put them in a plastic bag and take them with you to
Get medical or police help right away.
(Date-rape drugs may not be detectable after 12 hours.) Go to the ER.
Recall and write down as much detail as you can. Report the rapist's
age, height, weight, race, hair color, clothing worn, noticeable body
marks, tattoos, etc. If a vehicle was involved, report its type, color,
licence plate, etc. Take a friend with you for comfort and support. At
the ER, you will get information about health care providers in your
area who can help you after the ER visit. You will likely use it at some
Talk to the emergency care provider
about emergency contraception and tests for STDs.
Contact your campus Sexual Assault
Crisis Center or call the Rape Crisis Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).