For students, college is a time to realize one’s aspirations and develop an appetite for life.
It may be for this reason that some begin to experiment with a sex life outside of their normal comfort zone.
Apart from the moral and religious beliefs attached to sexual experimentation, students must also consider the effects rushing into a same-sex, different-sex or “friends with benefits” relationship might have on their health.
A research study conducted last year by Wayne State University and Michigan State University found that two-thirds of their student populations had been in a “friends with benefits” relationship and 36 percent of them were currently in one.
The main advantage of such a relationship is that no commitments are involved, just the desire to have sex. Yet the biggest disadvantages are the development of feelings, broken friendships, negative emotions and sexually transmitted diseases (STD), according to the report.
In another study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more women in a college setting identified themselves as bi-sexual than as lesbian, potentially opening themselves up to a wider range of partners and, subsequently, diseases.
Though it doesn’t matter whom someone has a relationship with or how many sexual partners they have in today’s society, young adults should not put themselves in circumstances that could be detrimental to the future they are working so hard to create.
Many young, healthy adults foolishly think they are invincible to STDs, and therefore pursue promiscuous relationships without getting tested.
Yes, condoms can reduce the risk of transmitting diseases, but they do not eliminate it.
Though using contraceptives may be highly effective in protecting against STDs when used correctly, they may not protect against genital herpes, syphilis and chancroid unless the infected area or site of potential exposure is protected, according to the CDC. Condoms may not cover those areas.
Other protective measures listed by the CDC involve getting vaccinated for human papillomavirus, or HPV, to help prevent cervical cancer in women 26 years old or younger. In addition, sexually active individuals should be tested for STD’s every year, use condoms effectively and – the best option – maintain a monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested.
All sexually active students should be tested to avoid making mistakes that could be detrimental to their futures.
Whatever an individual’s choice might be, it must be based on thoughtful consideration that balances risk and consequences.
Zahira Babwani is a senior majoring in biomedical sciences.