14 Things Every College Student Should Do This January To Improve Their Sexual Health
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It's that time of year again, my friends. Everyone is running around trying to fulfill their resolutions of working out regularly, eating healthier foods, and focusing more on academics. But what's just as important as these resolutions is the decision to better your sexual health. As college students actively exploring our sexualities, we are always at risk for unwanted STIs and pregnancies, so it's time we take charge of our bodies this year and work to be safer when we have sex.

Here are 14 sexual health resolutions that you can easily make in your life to improve your wellbeing in 2019:

1. Carry your own condoms, lube, and other incidentals 

It's important that you are always prepared for an unanticipated sexual encounter. If you're going to a bar or a party where you know you could meet a potential hookup, be sure to have the necessary means of protection. That is, keep condoms in your pocket, wallet, or purse if you're interested in having sex with men. It's not a bad idea to also invest in lubricant, dental dams, and other items that will lessen your risk of contracting an STI or becoming pregnant.

2. Get screened for STIs

What better way to kick off the new year than by ensuring that you are entering it STD-free? Book an appointment to get tested at a local clinic, a nearby Planned Parenthood, or at your university's health center. A lot of colleges offer free screenings for HIV and other prevalent STDs, so why not take advantage of the offer and confirm that you're 100% healthy?

3. Make sure your birth control method still works for you

Whether you have an intrauterine device (IUD), the patch, or the pill, it's critical that you're happy with the method of birth control you choose to use. You have every right to be comfortable in the process of being protected. If something doesn't feel right, don't be afraid to talk to your physician or OB/GYN about adjusting your treatment plan to suit your needs.

4. Consider getting the HPV vaccine

Contrary to popular belief, the HPV vaccine isn't just for high school teenagers. It's recommended for people from age 9 to 45 because it not only guards you against the STD itself, but it also protects you from HPV-related genital warts and cancers of the cervix, anus, vulva, and vagina. If you engage in a lot of high-risk sexual activity or are knowingly exposed to partners who have HPV, you might want to arm yourself with the vaccine. If anything, it'll allow you some peace at mind the next time you hook up.

5. Get into the habit of peeing after sex

Women in particular are advised to urinate no later than fifteen minutes after sex. Why? Because voiding your bladder flushes out any bacteria that might have been introduced to your urethra during intercourse. Your vagina has a sensitive pH balance that may be interrupted when you engage in sexual activity. By peeing after a sexual encounter, you lower your risk of disrupting your natural probiotic bacteria and contracting an STI or a urinary tract infection (UTI).

6. Try limiting your hookups (or be more cautious about them)

As long as you're being safe and smart about your hookups, you don't need to worry about your sexual partners in terms of quantity alone. But perhaps you fear that more encounters will expose you to unwanted diseases and risks of pregnancy. If you're looking to break away from the hookup scene, you have every right to limit yourself and refuse to engage in casual relations. At the end of the day, no one else's opinions matter—it's all about your sexual health and your comfort.

7. Take time to get to know your own body

That's right—I'm talking about the intimate art of self-pleasure. How can you expect someone else to satisfy your desires, after all, if you hardly know what you enjoy yourself? Find some private time in your day to explore your body and your sexual preferences. Experiment with different stimuli and you will be sure to discover a combination that works best for you. And besides, masturbating feels good and can relax you after a long, stressful day.

8. Don't have sex when you're drunk or high

Being sober during sex is the best way to stay alert and grounded to what is going on. If you're tipsy or buzzed, it may be harder for you to excuse yourself from risky situations and you may put yourself in a position where you could be taken advantage of. It's never your fault if you are violated while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, but you can prevent these tragedies altogether by keeping your mind clear when having sex. Unless you're with a trusted romantic partner, keep the drinks or the smoking to a minimum when engaging in casual sex.

9. Treat your STI as soon as you know you have it

Some STIs are curable with the proper medications and procedures. If you test positive for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or trichomoniasis, diligently taking the needed antibiotics will clear up the infection. Advise your sexual partners (that is, anyone who may have been exposed to the infection) to receive treatment for these diseases as well. Unfortunately, there are no known cures for hepatitis B, HIV, HPV, or herpes simplex virus, but you can still manage your symptoms and prevent further complications down the road.

10. Talk with your roommate(s) about how you should go about having sex

It isn't exactly the most fun discussion to have, but it has to be done. Roommate etiquette is at stake here, and the last thing you and your roommates want is to barge in on someone else's private time or to be exiled from the space for hours on end without any advance warning. If you have a long-term partner that you plan on having over frequently, be courteous and tell your roommate(s) when you'll be together. Make an agreement that you are both entitled to having the room/apartment to yourselves now and then and always make an effort to respect each other's boundaries.

11. Practice better genital hygiene

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Forget about douching or using frilly scented soaps on your nether bits—practicing genital hygiene is a lot easier than you'd think. All you need is some mild, unscented soap or wash and a little bit of warm water and you're good to go. You can also think about grooming your pubic hair regularly if you'd rather not keep it grown out. Try to find a shaving cream that's specialized for sensitive skin, because ingrown hairs and stinging sensations in your crotch area are never a good time.

12. Be more confident about expressing your desires in bed

Your pleasure is just as important as your partner's. No matter what the circumstances of your sexual relations are, you should be comfortable expressing your desires in the bedroom and receptive to your partner's suggestions as well. The experience will be best for both of you if you stay invested in each other's satisfaction from beginning to end. Don't be too shy to talk about what you enjoy beforehand or speak up during intercourse—it's all about both parties being engaged by what's happening at all times.

13. Don't be afraid to ask for your partners' sexual histories

You have every right to know where your partners have been in the past. You are, after all, having sex with every one of your partner's previous partners when you have sex with them. Likewise, you are morally obligated to disclose your own sexual history if your partner asks you, too. For both of your sakes, make sure there's no air of mystery between you that will come back to surprise you later.

14. If you have experienced sexual violence, consider talking to a counselor

If you are a victim of sexual assault of any kind, know that you are not alone and that a critical part of healing from what happened is acknowledging that you have the strength to get better. Talk to someone you trust about your feelings, whether that's a loved one, significant other, a doctor, a teacher, or a counselor. You owe it to yourself to believe in a new beginning, and that all starts with moving on from this tragedy at your own pace.

2019 is going to be the year that we all take care of ourselves more than we ever have before.

Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

Hickeys Are Killing Teens, Young Love Isn't As Innocent As You Think

Hickeys might just be the next cause of your death.

Hgflores
Hgflores
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An article by Mirror has revealed that a teen by the name of, Julio Macias Gonzalez, died because of a stroke caused by a bite mark left by his girlfriend.

The teen was spending time with his family eating dinner, after meeting with his girlfriend, when he started having convulsions and died of a stroke.

Hickeys, or bruises on the skin, as defined by Merriam-Webster, are usually caused by harsh sucking that burst small blood vessels.

These bruises usually last about 5- 12 days as stated through recent publishing by 54 Health.

The article also claims that the amount of time can also vary depending upon your own state of health & the amount of destruction the hickey caused.

"Some hickeys are more severe than others and take a longer time to heal," says 54 Health.

But, sometimes, there can be no room left for healing as some of these bruises can be extremely severe.

These hickeys on your skin can quickly turn into your next nightmare if it completely destroys your blood vessel wall.

In an interview given to Cosmopolitan's Relationship Editor, Julia Pugachevsky, Dr. Jessica O'Reilly said, "According to research, it is possible for hickeys to be dangerous if the pressure is applied over the carotid arteries."

"Too much pressure could injure the blood vessel wall and lead to a smaller clot that could clog an artery and cause a stroke," says Dr. O'Reilly.

Other experts, such as Dr. Teddy Wu, have made it clear that these strokes may not only result in your death but can also cause paralysis.

Even though the result of paralysis or death from receiving a hickey are of low-risk, consider the next time that you give your lover a mark or bruise on their skin - you might just end up being known as a "murderer," among their family & friends.

Hgflores
Hgflores

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My Parents Always Talked About Sex Openly With Me, And I'm So Grateful For Their Candor

And now, I write about sex.

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My mom and dad talk about sex. They never hid it from me and never freaked out when I came home with sex ed diagrams of female and male genitalia. Instead, my dad quizzed me on the fill-in-the-blank diagrams because I was determined to get an A (as I am with any other test).

I was never uncomfortable bringing this material to my parents to laugh at and discuss. I'm grateful that they weren't mortified either.

My parents are my best friends and it's always been this way. I share everything with them, including boys and all that fun stuff. This is how my older brother and I were raised—we can tell our parents anything, they will always be there. I am a mature, independent young woman who can make her own choices. I am not my parents' puppet to control. They are here to guide me so that I can handle all parts of life.

Sex is just another part of life's journey and they get it.

I never had the sex talk with my parents. Life just flowed naturally and I was always open with them. I will always be their baby girl, but I'm getting older and older. If I had a question, they were there. When I had my first kiss, I couldn't stop bugging them about it: "I kissed a boyyyy! I kissed a boyyyy!" When I had boy drama, my dad was the one who helped me reply to texts as he speaks boy-talk and can relate to what a teenage boy is thinking. Not so long ago, my mom and dad were horny teenagers themselves learning about relationships, love, and heartbreak. I've heard the stories!

And now, I write about sex. Neither of them questioned it and I'm so lucky to have that. When my parents speak of my work, my dad will make note that some pieces aren't for the lighthearted, but neither of them is ashamed. What is there to be embarrassed about? S.E.X. Sex. It's natural, most everyone has or will experience intimacy. Humans crave this attention and connection. I was taught how to enjoy the world and be safe. I could ask questions and never be judged.

I couldn't ask for anything more.

When I have kids of my own, they will grow up knowing what sex is. They will know how to protect themselves. Know how to say "no." Know who to come to when they need help. I don't want them going to others with the risk of being misinformed. I want to provide a safe environment and not have "The Talk" be so awkward.

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