September’s here, and freshers week’s upon us! For all students looking to have a good time and meet someone new, this is one of the most exciting times of the year, as the city becomes a melting pot of people from different cultures and backgrounds. It is a time where you feel liberated to be yourself and when you can experience the excitement of meeting someone that ‘ticks all your boxes’. Everyone’s experience during freshers week is different and, whether or not you choose to have sex during your first weeks of uni, we’ve got some essential tips on how to stay safe and still have the best time:
- Be aware of the risks- no matter how exciting being with someone new for the first time is, you should always remember that every sexual intercourse has its risks. A sexually transmitted infection (STI) can be caught from only one encounter and, many people who have never been tested can pass the virus onto others without realising. If you and your partner want to make sure there’s nothing to worry about, there are confidential clinics in Cardiff ,where you can get your sexual health checked and, if needed, receive professional help and advice.
- Always stay protected- Whether it’s an impulsive hook-up or an encounter with your long-time partner, wearing a condom is absolutely necessary. This is the easiest way to stay protected from STIs and prevent pregnancy and, with the free condom dispenser in Cardiff University’s Student Union provided by SHAG, you really have no excuse not to use one. It’s the responsible thing to do if you respect your body and the wellbeing of your partner.
- Saying ‘no’ is okay- You’ve met someone you fancy during your first night out in the city but you’re not sure if you want to move things further just yet? If you feel hesitant about having sex with someone you don’t know that well yet, DO NOT be afraid to speak up and let them know how you feel. If they really are interested in you, they’ll be understanding and respect the boundaries you set.
- Educate yourself– sexual awareness and sexual health are not something that everyone have been taught about. That’s why, before embarking on your journey towards university life, it’s important to get informed about the most common STIs, forms of contraception and protection. Being knowledgeable on the topic will help you to not only reduce the risk of getting infected during sexual intercourse, but it will help you make a quick and informed decision if a problem arises.
Freshers is all about making new life-long friends, so make sure they take care of themselves too! Help others out by sharing information on the possible risks of sexual intercourse and how to avoid them. Being a first-time student can be quite overwhelming, which is why taking care of your physical and mental health is something that shouldn’t be neglected.
Come and get yourself a SHAG pack at the Freshers Fair on the 27th of September, and, if in need of FREE condoms, lube and dental dams, make sure to sign up for our C-Card scheme, every Wednesday between 1-3pm in room 3D of the Students Union.