Healthy Minds Tip: Safer Sex

Man looking shocked
Image Credit: Student Communications Services

Did you know that condoms were believed to have been invented by the Egyptians in 3000 B.C.?  Although safer sex products have been around for thousands of years, today they remain the best way to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections or STIs. When used properly, in fact, male condoms and female condoms are approximately 97 and 95% effective respectively. Oral (or dental) dams are also a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of STIs during oral sex.

Aside from using condoms and oral dams, making smart choices is also key to reducing your risk of getting an STI. Getting regular testing to screen for STIs is part of responsible sexual health, and the UBC Student Health Service clinic offers confidential and convenient testing services to students. Knowing how to properly use condoms and oral dams is also important. Sexuality and U offers an excellent source of information about sexual health products along with other areas like STI prevention, testing and relationships.

On campus, the UBC Wellness Centre sells a broad selection of at-cost, safer sex products including male and female condoms, oral, lubricants and toys. Trained, student volunteers at the Centre, called Wellness Peers, are also available to answer your questions about sexual health or to refer you to other services on campus.

You can also read more about STIs on the Live Well Learn Well website.

Healthy Relationships 101

Guest Blogger: SASC Outreach Worker

Whether your significant other is new, or if you are high-school sweet-hearts, Valentines Day can be a perfect opportunity to check in about where your relationship is at. It can be very easy to go with the flow, and just ‘let things happen’, especially in a new relationship. I challenge you all to take a moment in your busy Valentines Day plans to communicate about your relationship, and check out if it is healthy for you, and for them.

So what is a healthy relationship? How do you know you’re in one?

First and foremost is communication. Healthy relationships are ones where you and your partner communicate openly about any problems or concerns. You listen respectfully to what they have to say, and are willing to compromise when their opinion differs from your own. Respecting them means valuing their beliefs and celebrating who they are. In a new relationship, this can mean respecting their boundaries and allowing them to have their own space to process.

Talking about your sexual decisions is very important! This can mean discussing everything from birth control methods to condoms types, from allergies to sexual boundaries. You should feel comfortable to communicate your sexual decisions, and respect your partner’s. Consent should be mutual and ongoing. You should both be aware of what is ok to do, and what is not. If you are unsure about something, simply ask your partner.

Along with communication and respect comes honesty and trust. It can take time to build up trust in a relationship, and the only path towards trusting each other completely is through honesty. Cliché as it may sound; being honest and truthful with yourself and your partner can be extremely difficult at times. Honesty means feeling safe and valued enough to share your thoughts and experiences. This does not mean that you have to share everything! It is ok to keep certain things private! Honesty simply means sharing feelings, situations, concerns or experiences that are relevant to the relationship.

Finally, a healthy relationship celebrates the individuals that are in it! Maintain your individuality. Yes, compromises are key to healthy relationships, but this should never mean hiding who you are, or pretending to be something that you are not.

So, take a moment to think about which aspects of your relationship are healthy, and identify the areas that need work. Taking the time to check in with these topics will result in a healthier, happier relationship!

For more info on the Sexual Assault Support Centre

(604) 827 – 5180
SUB 119 A/B