Sex is a fact of life for many students: 60% of students who participated in the 2015 Student Beans annual student sex survey reported they’d had a one night stand.
Sex is nothing to be ashamed of and looking after your sexual health is as important as any other aspect of your health.
We’ve prepared some top tips for dealing with a one night stand.
You can’t always predict when you’re going to have sex, but its important you are prepared to look after yourself.
An essential piece of kit and the best way to protect yourself against a sexually transmitted infection. You can get condoms FREE from the Students Union, sexual health clinics and University Health Service. Alternatively you can buy them in supermarkets, 24 hour convenience stores, petrol stations, pharmacies and pub vending machines. Always carry one in your wallet and make sure you know how to use one. The biggest reason condoms fail or split is because they haven’t been used correctly.
Condoms are an effective form of contraception but it’s important to know about your other options. The full range of contraceptive choices can be found on the University Health Service App and online.
Remember it’s OK to say no to anything you don’t want to do. If you’ve been forced to do something you didn’t consent to then you can get confidential advice and support. This NHS Guide contains a number of sources of support and guidance.
Thames Valley Police have produced this superb short video explaining consent. This is a must watch short film for everyone who has sex.
Know where you’re going and how to get home
There’s nothing worse than being lost! It’s always sensible to know where you are going and how you can get away safely. If you’ve gone out with friends consider letting them know where you are and that you’re safe.
Watch the Alcohol
Being drunk is associated with riskier sex. We’ll be writing more about this next week.
The morning after the night before
There will be many thoughts going through your mind the day after. Here are some of important things you should consider.
Consider STI screening
If you had any form of sex (oral, vaginal, anal) without a condom then its worth discussing having a sexual health check-up with a health care professional at University Health Service or Sexual Health Sheffield. STI’s can affect the mouth, vagina and anus so it’s important not to be too shy about this when you go for a check up. It won’t be the first time the doctor or nurse will have heard about sex: they won’t judge you. Health care professionals will advise on which tests are best and when to do them.
Know where to get the morning after pill.
If you’re female and had sex with a male partner without a condom or the condom split then emergency contraception should be considered. You can get it from University Health Service, sexual health clinics and the NHS walk-in centre for free. You can also buy the morning after-pill from some pharmacies.
You should try to get emergency contraception as soon as possible after the event. The sooner you get emergency contraception the more effective it is. There are two types of morning after pill which can be taken up to 72 hours after (levonelle) and 5 days after (EllaOne). The intrauterine device (IUD/Copper Coil) can also be inserted as a method of emergency contraception up to 5 days after sex without a condom.
If you’ve had sex without a condom or the condom split then HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may prevent you from developing HIV infection if you’ve been exposed to the virus. However, it doesn’t always work.
PEP is a course of anti-HIV medication which must be taken for 4 weeks. You should start PEP as soon as possible (ideally within a few hours). It is unlikely to work if started after 72 hours and it won’t usually be prescribed after this time. PEP isn’t 100% effective and does not work against some strains of HIV. It is not a alternative to a condom.
You can get PEP from a sexual health clinic in the week or from A&E at the weekend. Health care staff will ask some questions, assess your risk and advise you on the best course of action.
To find out more about PEP visit the Terence Higgins Trust website.
If you’re female and your period is late then do a pregnancy test. You can get these in pharmacies and supermarkets. You dont need to book a doctor’s appointment.
If you are pregnant then there will be a lot for you to consider. You can discuss your options with a doctor at University Health Service or the sexual health clinic. Alternatively you can speak to an advisor at the British Pregnancy Advice Service.
The psychological aftermath
You might be jubilant. You may feel disappointed. You might just feel hungover. Remember sex is nothing to be ashamed of and you aren’t committing yourself to a relationship with the other person. Be fair on yourself and the other person. Don’t judge yourself too harshly.
Petra’s article covers lots of the questions you may ask yourself in this situation.
Join us on Tuesday 15th December 2015 at 12:30pm for our next Twitter Chat on sexual health and alcohol. @healthy_uos #healthycampus