Things I Wish I'd Known About Sex Before Starting University
on 2 Nov 2016
There are so many things to consider when you’re preparing to go to university.
From packing pens to pizza cutters, we all want to feel as prepared as a soldier heading to battle as we move away from home for the first time.
We've all heard that students are notorious for two things: drinking and sex. While this is a stereotype, and certainly not applicable to every student, sex is an important part of many students’ lives and a recurring topic of our conversations.
Therefore, together with a group of my fellow students, I've picked out the top 6 things we wished we had known about sex before starting university.
1. Sex can last longer that 30 seconds
Now, when my housemate said this one, I could barely believe what I was hearing. I have always considered myself clued up about sex (and by no means does a partner have to last a full episode of The Walking Dead to be good at it).
However, I naively assumed that we all knew that sex can last longer than half a minute, and that if he does happen to finish a little prematurely, it doesn't necessarily mean the 'fun' part of sex is done and dusted.
But before university, my housemate genuinely didn’t realise that men could last any longer, which is why it comes in (pun intended) at number 1.
2. Your housemates have definitely heard you have sex
Unfortunately, there's no way to dress this one up: it's just a fact of cohabitation. I am pretty sure that there must be an unspoken law about the walls in student accommodation needing to be built out of cardboard.
No matter how hard you try, it's almost guaranteed that one night, over a drink or two, they will confess that they heard the complete event. The sooner you accept this (as well as the fact that you'll almost definitely hear them at some point, too) the less embarrassed you'll feel.
3. It's not the 'walk of shame', it's the 'stride of pride'
When I started university, I was single and one hundred percent ready to mingle, and during this time, I spent a few fun nights in beds that weren't my own.
This is quite common for many students, and you hear about the dreaded 'walk of shame' back to your flat the morning after, with your heels in your hand and last night's make-up resembling that of a circus clown.
I personally don't think there is anything 'shameful' about having fun, safe, consensual sex with somebody else if it's not hurting anyone! People may judge you for this, but they really aren't worth your time if they judge your character based on where you chose to spend last night. As long as you're safe, comfortable and happy, make sure you stride home with your head held high.
4. You don't get as many free condoms at freshers as you'd think
As fun as Fresher's Week was at university, this one surprised me. If you're one of the many students looking forward to exploring the world of sex on campus, make sure you're prepared!
Whether you bring some with you, or you go out and buy some when you're at university, don't rely solely on being stocked up with contraception freebies from the Fresher's Fair. You can check the NHS website for services close to your university where you can get condoms for free, or, alternatively, grab yourself a bumper pack for next to nothing on the Lovehoney website.
5. Masturbation isn't just for guys, and is completely normal
Back when I was in school, there seemed to be a belief that only boys masturbated. Of course, this is a complete myth!
Everyone and anyone can and does masturbate; exploring yourself is a natural thing, so don't be ashamed by it.
Uni's a great time to dabble in sex toys, too, as there's far less chance of your mum unearthing your vibrator when she comes to put the laundry away. Experiment, find out what you like, and have fun!
6. Having a sexual health check isn't as scary as it seems
Making sure you look after your sexual health can be a frightening prospect, especially if you think you need to go for an STI check.
But the nurses at our local clinic were friendly and made us feel so comfortable; if anything, in the end we felt a little silly for being so scared to go in the first place.
One of the biggest things I have learnt since being at university is that it is just as important to look after your sexual health as it is your physical and mental health. Make sure that you get checked regularly, particularly if you change sexual partners often, and don't be put off by embarrassment or fear - it's absolutely fine.
There you have it: 6 things I'd wish I'd known about sex before going to university. I'm always learning new things about sex by talking about it with my friends, and this list is by no means everything you need to know. The key thing to remember about sex at university is to stay safe, and enjoy yourself.
Megan is a Psychology student at the University of Exeter. She can't quite read minds, but can read bodies.
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