Whoever you like you should love safe sex. Whatever your sexuality, having sex is part of being human, but you must stay safe! Here are some services that will keep you safe if you choose to have sex. Remember, not everyone will be sexually active during their time at college and you shouldn’t feel pressurised into having sex because your friends are.
Contaception and Pregnancy
Sexual health is an important issue to keep in mind if you are sexually active in University. Remember, not everyone is sexually active and you shouldn’t feel pressurised into having sex. For those who choose to have sex, we run a condom shop from the Welfare Office where you can buy condoms or get some for free!
Prices are as follows:
3 – Free
9 – €3
30 – €10
144 – €33
We have a full range of condoms so stop by my office on the ground floor of the SU and stay protected. We will be giving out condoms at some SU events as well so you can pick up some at these events.
There are other forms of contraception and protection that you may wish to consider. These include dental dams, female condoms, diaphragms, intra-uterine devices, implants, patches and vaginal rings. For more information go towww.thinkcontraception.ie.
If you need someone to talk to, then the welfare officer is always available. If you don’t want to talk to the welfare officer they can put you in contact with people who can help. You can freetextLISTto50444for a list of services in the area of unplanned and crisis pregnancy.
Emergency contraception is a secondary form of contraception – it is used when other forms (e.g. a condom) have have failed or not been used at all. It is effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. If you need Emergency contraception (i.e. the morning after pill) then it can be prescribed and dispensed to you by Student Health for €15. When you go there, tell the receptionist that you need to get the morning after pill and you will be seen immediately. Alternatively, go to the nearest pharmacy and ask to see the pharmacist. Visitwww.thinkcontraception.ie/emergency for more information and FAQs about Emergency Contraception.
Termination of pregnancy
In Ireland, it is legal to have an abortion up to 12 weeks. More information is available here and remember your Students’ Union is always here for you.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Over 60% of sexually transmitted infections are diagnosed in the 20-29 year old age group – that means a lot of students fall within the high risk category. To protect against STIs a condom must be used each and every time you have sexual intercourse. To be fully protected, dental dams and condoms must be used during oral sex.
STIs break down into 3 rough categories:
Creepy crawlies like pubic lice (crabs) that live on you – these are passed on through skin to skin contact and sometimes through contact with infected bedclothes etc.
These are caused by bacteria and include Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Syphilis. Problematic but curable – these can generally be looked after and dealt with.
Hepatitis, HIV, Herpes – these all fall under the viral category. In general these can only be treated, not cured. And in HIV’s case, it can develop into AIDS. HPV (Genital warts) can lead to illnesses like cervical cancer.
A lot of STIs have NO symptoms until it’s too late e.g. Chlamydia can cause infertility in women but can have no symptoms until its late stages.
To be sure you’re 100% STI free – please get tested for STIs. Remember to get your status checked – our Student Health Centre now provides an STI screening
service. Contact them on 021 490 2311 to find out details on the service.
For More Information check out the contacts page for details on other STI testing facilities in Cork. For more details on STIs, their symptoms and their treatment, check out: www.thinkcontraception.ie
It’s important to stay safe, but it’s also important to know whether you are healthy or not. With the student health service offering STI tests there’s no excuse not to get tested. If you are worried about what a test might entail then you can contact the Health Service on 021 490 2311 for more information, but don’t be worried, it’s not as bad as you think. An STI test costs only €20 so if you are having sex, get tested and be safe, you’ll regret it if you don’t. Alternatively log on towww.sexualhealthcentre.comfor further information.
Communication and Consent
The most important part of any relationship (be it platonic, sexual, professional) is honest, open communication. Communication has a huge part to play in consent. No sex acts should take place unless both adults have given their full consent.
Abuse in Relationships
Both men and women can find themselves trapped in abusive relationships. If you are worried about your partner’s behaviour, please read on.
If your partner displays two or more of the following traits, you might want to consider the possibility that your relationship is not healthy or safe for you. Even if he/she displays just one (e.g. “my partner has pushed, slapped, punched or otherwise hurt me”) it can indicate an unsafe situation for you that needs to be addressed:
My partner is very jealous, gets jealous easily
My partner follows me around, checks up on me a lot
My partner tries to control how I dress or who I spend time with (friends, family, coworkers)
My partner yells, calls me names, puts me down
I hide things that I think would upset or anger my partner (phone numbers, letters, photos)
I am afraid to say no to sex
My partner threatens me, or has threatened me
My partner hits, throws or breaks things when angry
I am afraid to disagree with my partner
My partner has pushed, slapped, punched or otherwise hurt me
I feel like my partner’s anger is my fault
If you are trapped in an abusive relationship, please contact OSS Cork 1800 497 497 or read more on www.osscork.ie andwww.amen.ie– service for men in abusive relationships.