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

How to Explore Your Sexuality Safely and Without Strings Attached

Is it bi-curiousity or is it something more?

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When you're young and in college, you're searching for ways to express and discover yourself—and often do so through other people. You might have even had some thoughts or fantasies that led you to believe that you might be LGBTQ+. While you're in the perfect setting for sexual exploration, you should take the opportunity to be curious and let yourself dabble in some same-sex shenanigans.

It's easier said than done, though, because not everyone is quite so sure where they should start. If you find yourself unsure of how to experiment with your sexuality in college, try to keep these in mind:

1. Stock up on necessary protection

No matter who you're hooking up with, protection will never be any less important. Consider using a female condom or a dental dam if you're hooking up with a girl. If you're getting with a guy, always use a condom and even think about bringing lubricant with you in case you have penetrative anal sex.

On that note, it's a common misconception that men who have sex with men are inherently dirty and diseased. Their sexual practices can be really risky, though (like anyone's), if they don't use condoms or aren't careful about how they have anal sex. You're also mistaken if you think that sex between two women doesn't carry any STD risks. While you are less likely to contract chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV through lesbian sex, women are still capable of transmitting nasty infections like HPV, herpes, and pubic lice. So regardless of what's in your partner's pants, it's critical that you're guarding yourself against STDs and other unwanted surprises.

SEE ALSO: 8 Excuses To Use To Get Out Of Wearing A Condom

2. Educate yourself on same-sex relationships and sexuality in general

How can you expect to explore your sexuality if you hardly have a grasp on how same-sex relationships work? Like with any other unfamiliar topics, do some research before you dive into a world you barely know. You can even ask your LGBTQ+ friends for some information and they'll happily give you some pointers about same-sex love and even the sex itself. If you'd rather keep your questions to yourself, simple Google searches like "what is it like to kiss a girl/boy" and "how do gay men/lesbians have sex" will suffice.

3. Be honest with yourself about what YOU want

What are you looking to take away from your same-sex experience? Are you looking for a little bit of drunken fun with one of your gal pals? Are you genuinely questioning your sexual orientation and want to put your feelings to the test? Whatever your reason is for sexual exploration, remember that you are always in control of how you act upon the thoughts you've been having. Whether or not you choose to experiment is solely your decision and no one has the authority to pressure you one way or the other. You need to be honest with yourself about your intentions before you can even consider moving forward.

4. Visit your campus's LGBTQ+ center for some advice

Almost every college and university has an on-campus LGBTQ+ center that's fully equipped to answer any questions you may have on the subjects of gender and sexuality. The staff members are likely LGBTQ+ individuals themselves, so they can offer you personal words of wisdom on how to gently go about questioning and experimenting. And who knows, you might even meet someone there who's willing to help you along, if you catch my drift…

5. Be picky about who you choose to experiment with

Life isn't exactly like a John Green novel. You probably won't find the perfect hookup as soon as you go looking for them. Go with your gut and don't be afraid to hold your potential hookup to your dating standards. You might not want to go out with them, per se, but if you're planning on being physically intimate with them, it's in your best interest to find someone you can trust to be kind and understanding of your situation. Whether your ideal partner is someone you bumped into at a party or your best friend, ensure that they respect your boundaries and are open to being your "guinea pig."

6. Tread carefully if you're thinking about hooking up with a friend

A friend might seem like the best option for a no-strings-attached hookup, but complicating the emotional relationship you already have with physical intimacy might spell out disaster in the future. Even though you know and trust this person with the connection you already have, you're moving on to completely unchartered territory when you decide to make out or have sex with them. Unrequited crushes and awkwardness may very well ensue when you least expected them to. There's no telling how either of you will react to the encounter after it's over, so you have to be prepared for the worst.

If you're that certain that your friendship will be unharmed, though, then by all means, go for it.

7. Always go into a hookup with a clear, (mostly) sober mind

It's okay and perfectly understandable if you need some liquid courage to jumpstart your self-exploration. At first glance, experimenting with your sexuality can seem like a daunting task, so approaching it in a buzzed state might be a good way to keep yourself moving. However, with drinking to calm your nerves, moderation is key. It's important that you're not so drunk that you become vulnerable to unwanted advances from the people around you. Being too drunk to control yourself is never the answer to any problem, no matter how intimidating it seems. If you plan on drinking to psych yourself up for a same-sex hookup, make sure you limit your intake and surround yourself with trusted friends who can keep an eye on you.

Also, it's best that you don't use same-sex exploration as a coping mechanism for a bad breakup. Don't save the decision to hook up with a random person for the heat of the moment. Make sure you've given the idea plenty of thought and that you don't use your emotions as an excuse to act out sexually.

8. Be honest with your partner about your intentions

Before you set someone up as your homosexual "test drive," make sure that they are fully aware of what's happening and why it's happening. Your partner deserves to know that your connection is strictly physical and that it was initiated in your quest to explore your sexuality. Clarifying the nature of your relationship from the start prevents either of you from reading too far into your interactions, sparing you both from hurt feelings later on.

Also, keep in mind that not every LGBTQ+ individual is open to bi-curious hookups. Your desired partner might be looking for a relationship with somebody who is more sure of their identity, and that's okay! There will definitely be another person down the road who's willing to guide you through your experimenting. Finding the ideal partner may take some time, but the search will be well worth it when you finally meet someone who satisfies all of your expectations.

9. Pace yourself and only go further if you're 100% comfortable

Regardless of your and your partner's sexuality or gender, consent is ALWAYS mandatory. BOTH of you must be consenting to what's happening at all times with the utmost enthusiasm for it to be a consensual encounter. As you explore your sexuality, know that you can revoke your consent at ANY TIME without having to make any excuses. Should you lose interest or start to feel anxious, you have every right to stop and remove yourself from the situation. Just because your partner is also a girl or is also a guy doesn't mean they are entitled to your body any more than a partner of the opposite sex is.

Don't feel ashamed for giving up on a same-sex hookup because you got too self-conscious or even felt afraid. You can experiment in small doses and go as slowly as you need to so you can maximize your comfort.

10. Don't be afraid to admit that experimenting isn't for you

So you kissed a girl and you didn't like it. Or you got with another guy and didn't feel any sort of spark when he touched you. It's okay for you to acknowledge that your same-sex encounter didn't ignite a major transformation in how you see yourself. It could have been that you didn't vibe with your partner or that you just don't vibe with the same sex altogether. Only you can determine why it didn't work for you. Don't assume that you MUST be heterosexual if your hookup didn't leave you feeling any different. Likewise, don't assume you must be gay if your hookup DID affect you physically and emotionally.

11. Don't let anyone label you— not even yourself

Labels do not determine your self-worth, nor do they get to dictate how you "should" behave and feel. Just because you had a homosexual encounter doesn't mean you're automatically gay, lesbian, bisexual, or anything else. Sometimes, a kiss is just a kiss, sex is just sex, and a crush is just fleeting and not deserving of a full-on identity crisis. You can apply a label to yourself if you feel it fits, but don't force yourself into a rigid mindset that doesn't work for you. Only use a specific label if you are 100% comfortable with what it entails. And if you're still confused about who you are, give yourself time to sort it out. In terms of your sexual orientation (and gender identity, for that matter), when you know, you know.

12. Let your feelings go wherever they're meant to

So what you anticipated to be a one-night stand seems to evolved over time into a romantic crush that you can't stop thinking about. Your first instinct might be to panic because "this wasn't supposed to happen," but honestly, how can you be so sure of that? If you are meant to develop feelings for someone of the same sex, then so be it! Clearly you are attracted to this person in more ways than one and clearly they have the potential to make you happier, so why not go for it? You deserve endless love and adventures with your special person, whomever they turn out to be. Let your heart guide you in the right direction and it will all work out in the way it's destined to.

Whether you're gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, or whatever else, you are every bit as valid as anyone else and you are entitled to love and happiness however you come by it. Experimenting may be a defining experience for you or it might not turn up any revelations at all, and it's okay either way. At least you know you put yourself out there and were brave enough to challenge conventional society and explore your sexuality.

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The Best Holiday-Themed Sex Positions That’ll Bring You Joy All Season Long

Looks like Santa's cumming down the chimney.

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Ho ho ho! As you and your S.O. stay in and warm up by a fire after a flirtatious snowball fight, it'll be time to ride Santa's sleigh! 'Tis the season for peace, joy, and dare I say it, pleasure! Celebrate the spirit of the season with risqué behaviors — treat yourself (and your partner)!

Sex doesn't pause for the holidays! If anything, it's your gift. The holidays are an essential time to bond with your loved ones and intimacy is a necessary, perfect way to connect with a lover.

1. Jingle balls

Do you hear the ringing bells? Maybe that's your man's package ringing for attention! Start the night off with a massage down under.

2. Santa's lap dance

The fire doesn't have to be the only source of heat. Grab your partner, push him on a chair, wrap your legs around, and start dancing! Have your partner sit on a chair as your legs wrap around and he guides your hips with his hands.

3. Mrs. Claws

This move is bound to have you claw at his back and rip at the mattress. Start with your no-frills missionary and quickly spice it up as your knees hit his chest or legs wrap around his shoulders.

4. Reindeer

Get on all fours and unleash your inner animal as he steers you from behind.

5. Ball drop

May your passionate New Year's kiss light a spark that has an "I need to have you right now" kind of vibe; hence, leading to a standing sex position before falling over the bed.

6. On the 69th day of Christmas...

Your true love gave to you **wink wink**

7. Stockings

Stuffing is definitely not the word we want to use, but as you guys spoon, the warm embrace will keep you snug and safe like a stocking.

8. Candy cane

Take a break from licking his candy cane and straddle him as you go for a ride.

9. Elf on a shelf

After baking cookies for Santa, treat yourself! Elves aren't the only ones that get to play, jump on the counter and put your winter cling where he belongs.

10. Vanilla and NUTmeg

After sharing your warm nutmeg, share your smoldering bodies with your vanilla's favorite missionary.

11. Mistletoe kisses

Take those mistletoe kisses up a notch as you both wrap your legs around one another into your lotus pose.

12. Sleigh riding

Here cums Santa Claus! Make sure to steal Santa's reigns, hop on, and hold his legs down as you show him how you ride.

These positions are described for heterosexual couples, but all moves can be altered for all lovebirds.

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