This week, we're handing the mic to our good friend, Eleanor Cochrane at Sexpression:UK, an independent UK charity that aims to empower young people to make informed decisions about sex and relationships. Their informal and comprehensive RSHE (relationships and sex education) sessions = legendary. Who better to lay it out for you about starting uni, sexual health, and those super thin halls walls...
Freshers week has a reputation. We all know what it’s about; meeting new people, attending big events and maybe getting lucky - right?
But with new corona-risks, what will Freshers look like 2 meters apart? What if you fall for someone outside your social bubble? And most importantly, how can you get off if you can’t go out?
Your orgasm has been dispatched
Many of you will have finally flown the nest and the eagle-eyed gaze of your parents. At last, no one around to snoop through your search history or rattle your post like a kid on Christmas Eve. The internet can help to unlock a wealth of items that can help you to understand and explore your body. Most brands will post your parcels in discreet packaging and of course, the experience is free from any checkout embarrassment. Whether it's sex toys or condoms, lube or free home STI kits, the internet offers it all from a safe distance.
Not only is solo-sex the safest way to find pleasure right now, masturbation can be an excellent way of gaining familiarity with your body and learning what you enjoy. With paper-thin student-hall walls, this can be a little nerve-wracking at first, but turn on some music and rest assured that your housemates are probably doing the same thing.
With the events of the year ahead so difficult to predict, it can be easy to adopt the ‘it ain’t gonna happen’ attitude. But this can catch you out.
Take some time to reflect on what your boundaries are. Sex might look different post-lockdown. Perhaps you’d be comfortable having sex with someone outside your household but only if you’re both wearing masks. Or maybe you’d prefer to stay within the warm embrace of your social bubble. Setting personal boundaries can empower you to have frank conversations around consent and pleasure – making for more confident and fun sex.
A note on consent
Consent is a huge topic to discuss, but for now, let’s keep it simple. When it comes to consent, all you need to remember is FRIES. No, not the kind that you grab from Maccys after a night out. Consent is Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic and Specific. Consider it a negotiation, helping one another to have the most pleasurable experience possible. Anyone involved can change their mind at any point and this must be respected.
If you are having sex with other people, the safest person is someone that you live with. In terms, of catching Covid-19 that is... sex and relationships with housemates can definitely come with their own turbulence. But who knows? In the past, students would likely advise that you steer clear from sleeping with your housemates, but post-lockdown, perhaps this will become the norm.
Finally, if you are having sex with outside your household or bubble, where possible, keep your number of partners to a minimum and avoid having group sex. Make sure that you’re washing your hands with soap and clean any sex toys too.
Oldie but Goldie
In the midst of the pandemic, COVID-19 has certainly captured our attention, but don’t let that distract from the other risks of sex. Condoms, dental dams and PrEP serve your best methods of protection against STIs. For contraception, there are a wealth of options available to suit your personal needs, have a chat with your GP or local GUM clinic to find something that suits you.
Thanks Eleanor, head to Sexpression:UK's Instagram for more info on keeping yourself safe'n'satisfied during Freshers Week here and check out Eleanor and her colleagues at Sexpression:UK who have been shortlisted in the Brook X SH24 Sexual Health Awards here. 🤞🤞🤞