Getting Comfortable with Sex Talk 

Sex… Easier done than said. 

Talking about sex may make you feel vulnerable. You might feel afraid of being judged or rejected. But great sex doesn’t always come naturally! Discussing things like STI (sexually transmitted infection) status and sexual boundaries and preferences before engaging in sexual acts can make you feel reassured and confident. Communicating your feelings about sex and intimacy will take your relationships to a whole new level.  

For many students, college is a time in which they are exploring their bodies and having new experiences. This can be both exciting and intimidating! Once you get to know your own body, you can take better control of your pleasure. Learning how to communicate the things you like (and dislike!) with your partners can make the experience better for everyone involved. So how do you do it? 

Talk to your friends about it! If it feels too intimidating to bring up a new idea or constructive criticism to your partner, try talking to your friends about it. If you feel more comfortable with them, this can give you some practice with just saying the words out loud! 

Send it in a text! If you are not comfortable saying it to their face quite yet, shoot them a text instead. Let them know that you enjoyed X and Y that they did last time, and it would be cool if you could try Z next time. As you spend more time talking about sex with your partners, it will get easier to do. 

Bring it up to your partner in a non-sexual setting. If there is something especially intimidating you want to discuss, like STI status or a fetish or kink you would like to incorporate into sex, bring it up when things aren’t hot and heavy. A cool and collected environment can take the pressure off you and your partner and allow for more open discussion. 

Be vocal in bed. Your partner should enjoy making you feel good. They just need to know how! Don’t be afraid to say what you want. Try saying things like: “higher,” “slower,” or “a little to the left!” It shows that you’re really into what they’re doing and can make it that much more enjoyable for your partner as well.  

All of this starts with getting to know your body better. What do you like? What do you dislike? What do you wish your partners did more often? Explore yourself and learn what “great sex” means to you. Then share it with your partners! When you feel comfortable asking for what you want, your partners probably will too. Great communication means great relationships. Build that trust and build that confidence!  


-Kayla Bumgarner, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador 


Why Talking to Your Friends About Sex Can Mean a Safer Environment for Everyone 

Talking about sex, easy, right? For a lot of people within the OSU community, being a college student means entering adulthood and one thing that can come along with that is sex becoming a more common presence within life. However, that isn’t the case for all of us. You may be waiting, not planning on ever having sex, or just haven’t found the right person. Even if sex is a part of your life, that doesn’t mean that talking about it is easy. The thing is sex is taught as something very taboo. In most high schools, it’s often shown as something holding a lot of risk and isn’t spoken about openly, even by the educators meant to provide you with information on the topic. Sex is a normal part of life and something that we can take part in turning the tide on. You may already be speaking with your friends and those within your close circles about it, which is fantastic! If you aren’t or already are and are just curious to learn more, here are some reasons why making sex a topic of conversation can make your sex life better and create a safer environment for our whole community.  

  • Removing the stigma and the fear associated with the topic. As mentioned before, there is a massive stigma around sex in many areas of the world, including central Ohio. To not speak about such a major topic not only prevents us from learning from others, but also creates a sense of inability to ask for help or clarification. When we feel comfortable hearing about a topic, we’re much more likely to feel comfortable speaking on it as well. It’s, definitely, something worth figuring out the answers to.  
  • Talking about sex makes us more in tune with what is and is not ok. If we’re able to speak to those around us about sex, we’re able to learn from them. Not all knowledge can be found on JStor, and your friends can help you work out grey areas of what you might be wondering regarding boundaries when it comes to sexual acts. This can be important so that you’re able to tell your partner(s) what is or is not ok, as well as making you more understanding when your partner gives you their boundaries.  
  • Provides New Ideas for What You Might Like Consent and making sure that we’re holding ourselves and others accountable for our acts is a major aspect of having conversations on relationships and sexual interactions. However, it can also help us figure out what sounds like a good time. Maybe your friend has had an amazing experience in the bedroom (legally) incorporating a Lime scooter. You’ll never know if that sounds like something you want to try without hearing about. If you know someone who’s tried something that you’ve been curious about, talking about their experience may lead you to a new way to liven up the bedroom, dorm, or Honda Civic!  
  • Improves Your Ability to Communicate with Your Partners Destigmatizing the discussion of sex is an empowering thing, giving us the ability to bring up sex without feeling like it’s wrong. It’s essential to have good communication in a relationship, and, definitely, when engaging in sexual acts. A sexual act doesn’t have one definition, it tends to shift from person to person, so establishing boundaries with your partner and figuring out what each of you like means a safer experience, and one that can be more beneficial and enjoyable for all parties involved!  
  • Makes You Think Nobody wants to give a presentation on a topic without even knowing the topic ahead of time, it’s easy to have a hard time putting all of your thoughts together on the spot. In a similar way, it’s useful to have your mind made up or at least know the implications and importance of what your boundaries are. Even if you aren’t in a long-term relationship with someone, you should be able to let them know what works and doesn’t work for you, and vice versa. 
  • Speaking Up Returning to the importance of destigmatizing conversations, feeling comfortable with this topic gives us a chance to speak up when something is wrong. Whether that’s responding to something inappropriate that someone says in conversation or stepping in when an interaction that you’re seeing just looks off, feeling familiar with this topic makes us all allies to one another and provides us with the power to create a safer community on campus and when we go out into the world.  

We’re constantly being exposed to new ideas and it’s a great idea to take control of that and pursue your own knowledge, foster the spread of it within your groups, and help to create an environment where people feel empowered to speak up for themselves and others.  

-Molly Teller, Wellness Ambassador for the Student Wellness Center 

Dating Scares: Meeting the Family 

Dating can be difficult not only because you are meeting someone new, but also it may come down to meeting that special someone’s family. Meeting the family can often be difficult and overwhelming, but by knowing how to approach the situation, the encounter can be smooth and painless. 

A main tip for meeting someone’s family is making sure the relationship is ready. Meeting someone’s family can be a big step in a relationship and making sure your significant other and yourself are at that stage is the first steppingstone. By introducing someone to your family, it can often create stronger ties in the relationship, potentially making a breakup more difficult if your significant other and family connect. Know where the relationship stands and know if this relationship is worth introducing to your family, because it can make things more difficult if the relationship takes an unexpected turn.   

The first thing a couple can do for meeting each other’s family is preparing for it. By just generally talking about each other’s family, it can help familiarize your significant other with your family and give them a general idea what to prepare for. By knowing if the family is quiet and reserved, or louder and more open, it may help prepare each other for future conversations and encounters.   

Building off of the last idea, the most important thing about meeting your significant other’s family is being yourself. Although it’s cliché, it holds true for these encounters. Understand that if your significant other enjoys your presence and likes you, it may directly parallel to their family’s feelings towards you as well. Being comfortable in your own skin helps radiate confidence, which is always important in meeting new people in general. Also, the family wants to get to know you as a person, so feel free to share! Do not shy away from speaking about yourself and interests just because you are scared you won’t impress them. This is your time to shine!  

Another big thing that goes with meeting someone’s family is manners and body language. By including all the main things like eye contact, a respectable handshake, using please and thank you, and being respectful to their family will further deepen their respect for you and your relationship. Additionally, these actions further demonstrate you have confidence in yourself. By being respectful and “proper,” it will help the family further accept the relationship and enjoy your respectful presence.  

While being introduced to their family, the family will most likely be interested in your life. Do not be afraid to show an interest in them. By asking them questions about their own lives, it will help develop a connection between you and the family, as well as demonstrate that you care about them. People usually enjoy talking about themselves, so this will help create conversation. It may even help to think of things to ask about beforehand in case the conversations end up becoming duller than you would like.   

Meeting your significant other’s family can be daunting, but with proper preparation and calm execution it can be very easy! By being yourself and being respectful, meeting the family can become simpler, and remember, you only have to meet them once. You got this. 

-Ben Nagy, Relationship Education and Violence Prevention Volunteer

What Did Your Health Class Not Teach You About Sex? 

Content warning: This blog contains sensitive information regarding sexual assault. 

Were you told that abstinence is key? Were you told that if you have sex you will become pregnant and be tainted with an STI?  That’s what I was taught in middle school. I can remember being handed a notecard that said I would abstain from sex, drugs, and alcohol. That was the end of my sexual education. The education provided in our schools is severely lacking. This is definitely something to consider when thinking about the rates of sexual assault and harassment in our society, especially on college campuses. Among undergraduate students 23.1% of women and 5.4% of men experience rape or sexual assault (RAINN). These numbers are quite shocking and mean that you likely know someone who has experienced sexual violence. So why are the rates of sexual assault and rape so high? Many factors contribute to the problem, but sex education practices may be harmful.  Let’s think about the things many of us were taught and try to understand why some of these practices can be harmful. 

Only 24 states and DC in the United States mandate sex education, and most of them require abstinence as part of the curriculum (KFF). Why is teaching abstinence so harmful? The problem with teaching only abstinence is that we are being told simply not to have sex. This is harmful for a lot of reasons. First, it is discouraging the conversation about sex and placing a negative connotation of what sex is. Nobody wants to say it out loud and nobody wants to ask questions about it. In the few states that do mandate sex education, it is often skimmed over, focused on abstinence, and presented in a tone promoting shame. Where are we supposed to learn about sex? Who are we supposed to have these meaningful conversations with when society makes it such a shameful topic?  What do we do when the one place we are supposed to talk about it they leave out the most important aspects? 

Nobody ever learns what’s right and wrong. We don’t learn that what is portrayed in the media is not an accurate representation of what these experiences are supposed to be like. The media often has little to no representation of consent at all. Even more harmful, media often portrays signals of saying no and refusing consent as a reason to try harder. In our society, the movies we watch, the books we read, and the media we consume foster a stigma and negative connotation of sex. The lack of education around consent creates skewed beliefs and ideas of what sexual encounters should look like. A combination of these factors contributes to the high rates of sexual assault and rape.  

So how do we stop this, and how do we decrease the number of people’s lives that are being devastated by these acts? It is our responsibility to educate each other. To speak up when music lyrics talks about “taking what he wants when he wants it” or when the former president of the United States talks about the same thing. Start the conversation. The more openly we discuss the complexities of sexual relationships, the less stigma and shame will be associated with the topic of sex. We can help people understand that we have a responsibility to treat each other with respect and consideration in sexual relationships. 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to raise awareness about sexual violence and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it.

-Sarah Frederick

Should I see my doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Short answer: yes! 

For some people, the thought of visiting a clinic, doctors office, or hospital can be anxiety-provoking during these times. It is especially concerning to college students who often only have access to one health center. Most students think, “Why would you go to the doctor if you’re not sick, especially during the pandemic?”   

Here are a few reasons why you should continue to keep in contact with your healthcare providers during this time.  

  1. Delaying treatment can hurt your physical health in the long run. We want you to advocate for your health! Sometimes, this means taking charge and scheduling that appointment that you really don’t want to go to. You should continue to get your yearly physical exam and make sure to schedule any additional appointments you normally have. For example, if you are 21 and have a cervixyou should be getting a routine Pap smear at least every three years by your sexual healthcare provider. If you think you have been exposed to an STI or are having symptoms, it is also important to reach out to your provider as they can help get you and your partner(s) tested and treated ASAP!  
  2. If you are not inclined to go visit a provider in person, there are many options to see them virtually. Many offices have begun to offer telemedicine services where you can talk to a provider from your own home. The Wilce Student Health Center is currently scheduling telemedicine appointments for certain concerns or conditions. Here is a link to the Student Health Services website: 
  3. You should continue to update your provider on your success and struggles on medication. For example, if you need to switch your method of hormonal birth control, talking to your provider or scheduling an appointment would be a better option than coming off your birth control without direction from a healthcare professional, and leaving yourself unprotected against pregnancy (if you’re having sex!) You should also communicate with your doctor about medication for your mental health. This includes scheduling appointments as needed for refills and continuing to monitor your mental health while on the medication.  

Accessing healthcare that you need is important to keeping you well. College is a stressful time and we shouldn’t let our health fall to the wayside. We are learning how to be young adults, and part of that is the responsibility to take care of our health, so we can continue to build healthy habits for life! 

-By Grace Axelson, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador

Sharing (your STI diagnosis) is Caring

So, you or someone you know just found out you have a sexually transmitted infection… what is a safe way to tell previous sexual partners about it?  

First off, what is a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? 

You may have also heard them called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They are what they sound like – an infection that can pass between people during sexual contact. Some STIs can be cured, meaning you will no longer have it or be able to give it to someone else unless you get infected again. Others are treatable, meaning the symptoms can be managed, but the infection does not go away, so you can still give it to someone else without precautions. More information on STIs can be found by visiting the Mayo Clinic website 

STIs can also be asymptomatic. This means that you might have the STI and can give it others, but you might not have symptoms at the moment. This is why it is important to not only get tested, but to tell your sexual partner(s) if you think you have been exposed or test positive for STI(s) because they could end up having serious symptoms, such as fevers, rashes, bleeding, pain during sex, and even death if left untreated.  

Why don’t people tell their partner(s) they have an STI? There could be many reasons. There is a stigma about STIs, so the person might feel embarrassed. Maybe they don’t know their recent partner(s) very well and don’t know how to talk about it. But the bottom line is that it is important that exposed partners know because STIs can cause harmful symptoms, especially if not treated! 

There are ways to anonymously tell your partner(s) that they’ve been exposed to an STI. Depending on the situation, someone might not be comfortable or able to talk with their partner(s) in person that they’ve been exposed to STI(s). This is okay! Free, online resources like will send an anonymous text or email to them letting them know they’ve been exposed and should get tested. The website does not ask for names or other information; just provide a partner(s) email or phone number and which STIs they might be exposed to. There is a space to either write a custom message or pick the pre-written message that will include necessary information.  

Overall, it is important to get tested for yourself and for your partner(s) to know if you are positive, even if it means telling them anonymously. 

Katie Kuhlwein, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador 

Breathing Yourself into Pleasure

Orgasms are one of the most fulfilling and climatic experiences that can come from sexual activity. So large it usually signals the end of the sexual experience (unless one decides to continue). It is interesting to see how exercising some control over breathing can increase a person’s erotic pleasure. First, consider what your breathing is like when you are having sex with someone else or alone? Are your breaths short, are you holding your breathe, is your exhale area your nose or mouth? These small things about breathing and allowing a larger air capacity can impact the pleasure of orgasms. 

It may feel pretty normal to hold one’s breath as one nears towards orgasm, but this has the ability to undermine the sensation. This can be a natural reaction from nervousness, excitement, and the need to be quiet to not disturb anyone or anything else, but holding ones breathe actually causes the body to tense up. This tension causes the flow of oxygen in the body to stagger and cease inhibiting the response to the orgasmic sensation. Prioritizing deep, full, and controlled breathing helps increases oxygen in blood flow, reduces stress, and stretches and relaxes muscles including the pelvic floor. This is essential to the sexual response cycle as it boosts the circulation of blood and internal movement within the body allowing one to feel the orgasm intensely all over. At the same time, don’t concentrate too hard on breathing and become self-conscious. This can lead to a disruption of the flow that is attempting to be achieved. The goal is to experience pleasure at a heighten stage, but do not force it; allow it 

Some tips for focusing on breathing and maximizing pleasure: 

  1. Practice breathing fully and deeply into and from the diaphragm while performing Kegel exercises with the pelvic floor. Kegels are using the pelvic floor muscles to contract and release. This exercise will increase pelvic floor strength, which increases contractions during orgasms. The breathing with allow blood and oxygen flowthe flow and circulation can help produce lubrication and erection as the pelvic area is focused on. **This can also be done without Kegels if desired! 
  2. Edging. Edging is purposefully denying orgasmic relief when close to it on multiple occasions in one occurrence until finally deciding to release. This can make an orgasm more powerful as the sensation receptors are being built up until ultimately they are released. In the process of denying oneself or allowing a partner to deny orgasmic relief, using those moments to also focus on breathing, keeps oxygen and blood flowing in the body to release tension that will make the final climax more enjoyable.  

Some college students are sexually active with partners, and some college students are only sexually active with themselves. Either way, they deserve to have fulfilling sexual experiences on their own terms. Sexual pleasure is an important aspect of sexual health, and maximizing that aspect is equally as important.  

Below are some resources filled with tips and helpful knowledge!  


Kiana Rattliff, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador 

Condoms: So Many Choices, So Little Time

Ribbed or regular? Latex or polyurethane? Flavored or not? When it comes to condoms, there are so many things to consider that deciding which kind to buy can feel overwhelming. As a college student, it’s important to buy condoms that work well for you, because condoms are crucial in preventing unintended pregnancy and they are the only contraceptive that can reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Here’s a guide to help you separate myths from facts and choose the best condoms for you! 

Size matters
One of the most important parts of using a condom is making sure it fits! Condoms that are too tight can cause pain, and condoms that are too loose run the risk of slipping off during sex. Sizing varies depending on the brand, so your best bet is to try out your chosen brand’s standard size and then size up or down if the condom feels uncomfortably tight or slips off easily when you try to move it. Choosing a condom that fits well will help both you and your partner experience more pleasure and peace of mind — you’ll thank yourself for it! 

Latex to lambskin– choosing the right material
The most common type of condoms you’ll find at your local drugstore are made of latex. Latex pairs well with water-based lubricant; silicone-based and other types of lube can cause latex to tear. Latex works well for many people, but if you or your partner has a latex allergy, you’ll want to look for other options. Polyurethane and lambskin condoms are alternatives to the traditional latex condom. Polyurethane is a form of plastic, and condoms made of this material are effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs; however, polyurethane is thinner and breaks more easily than latex, so it’s a good idea to use a water- or silicone-based lube to help avoid breakage. Lambskin condoms are made of natural animal material and also prevent pregnancy, but they don’t prevent STIs. This means lambskin isn’t the best choice for most college students.  

Textures, flavors, and sensations, oh my!
If you’re like me, you’ve probably passed through the family planning aisle at your local drugstore and been astounded by the huge variety of textures and sensations promised by many of the brands: “ribbed for her pleasure,” “fire and ice,” just to name a few. Condoms that feature a ribbed or studded design are meant to increase the pleasure of the receptive partner during intercourse, but we’re all different, and not all of these work for everybody. It’s a good idea to try a number of these types of condoms if you’re interested in finding ways to increase pleasure. Thinner condoms can also be a good choice to increase sensation for both partners! 

Flavored condoms look fun, and they can be- but only for oral sex. They actually aren’t designed to be used for vaginal or anal sex because the sugary ingredients they contain can cause yeast infections.  

“Warming” condoms are designed to increase a sensation of warmth to make erections last longer, while “numbing” condoms desensitize both partners, which seems a little counterintuitive to the pleasure most people want during sex. These types of condoms can be fun to try, but they may cause irritation for some. If that happens, just opt for a different type of condom that feels good for both partners! 

Now that you can tell the many types of condoms available to you apart, go and find the best type of condom for you and any partners you might have. Remember, it can take some trial and error- but it’s worth it to keep you safe and feeling good. 

Note: This post is about external (male) condoms. Internal (female) condoms and dental dams are other barrier methods that are effective in preventing the spread of STIs. Resources with information about them are below.  




Sara Kleine, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador

Navigating Birth Control options doesn’t have to be Chaos

For a person with a uterus, there are many methods of birth control to choose from. These types of birth control can be hormonal or non-hormonal. You have options! In this post, I am going to break down the major differences between some of those options. 

Short-Acting Contraceptives  

Condoms are an easy and accessible non-hormonal method of birth control and STI (sexually transmitted infection) prevention. They don’t require a doctor visit or a prescription. Condoms are up to 98% effective in preventing pregnancy with perfect use. With typical use, that number drops to around 85% effectiveness. If you are a student living near or on campus, consider joining the Condom Club to purchase cheaper condoms. If you do not live near campus, the Ohio HIV/STI Hotline might be a great option to turn to; see the Resources section below to learn more! 

The Pill:
There are SO many types of birth control pills today. With so many formulations of hormones, you should end up finding what is right for your body after trying a few with a prescription. The pill works by suppressing ovulation and increasing cervical mucus, which both make it harder for you to get pregnant. With typical use (taking a pill each day), birth control is 91% effective. This means that around 9 in 100 people will get pregnant each year on the pill. The pill does not prevent against STIs; it becomes more effective if you combine it with a barrier method of protection (i.e., an external or internal condom, dental dam, finger cot, or latex glove). 


The Ring:
The ring is an insertable hormonal contraceptive that requires a prescription. You insert the ring vaginally, almost like a tampon. The ring sits right next to your cervix when worn correctly and needs to be removed every three weeks. The typical use of the ring results in a 91% protection rate from pregnancy. This birth control method does not protect you against STIs (so be sure to use a barrier method with it) 


The Patch:
The patch is a hormonal birth control option that attaches to your skin like a band aid. It also requires a prescription. You can place the patch anywhere on your body except for your breasts. It is worn for one week, and then replaced with another patch. The typical use of the contraceptive patch results in around 91% protection from pregnancy and does not protect you from STIs.  


The Shot:
The shot is a hormonal birth control method that must be administered by a healthcare provider every three months (or a total of four times each year).  It is just like getting the flu shot in your arm.  The typical use of the shot results in around 99% protection from pregnancy but does not protect against STIs. 


Long- Acting Contraceptives 

The IUD:
The IUD, or intrauterine device, has both hormonal and non-hormonal options for protection against pregnancy. These devices can offer protection anywhere from three to 12 years after they are inserted into the uterus by your provider. An IUD is 99% effective against pregnancy. These devices do not offer protection against STIs (so remember to use a barrier method with it if needed). 

The Implant:
The implant is a small hormonal plastic bar that is inserted into your upper arm by a provider. This form of birth control offers protection for up to three years. The implant is 99% effective against pregnancy. This device also does not offer protection against STIs. 

Remember that birth control doesn’t need to be chaotic. Visit the resources below to learn more about your options and decide on the best method for you! 



Grace Axelson, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador 

Navigating Dating Apps in the Age of COVID-19 

The COVID-19 pandemic has halted a lot of things, but not everyone is letting it halt their search for a boo or a casual fling. Dating and hookup apps have risen in popularity in the past few years, and the new norms around social distancing and staying at home brought by the pandemic have made it more difficult to meet someone in person. Many college students use apps like Tinder and Bumble to look for anything from a no-strings-attached hookup to a potential long-term partner. While these apps are familiar to a lot of college students, the unspoken rules of interacting with others through the platforms have changed in the era of COVID-19. Here are some tips for navigating dating and hookup apps in these crazy times. 

Know the Risks  

You likely already know that coming into close contact with someone puts you at risk for spreading or contracting COVID-19. Knowing this, you can decide which activities you’d be comfortable with while on a date or during a hookup and which you’d rather avoid. Virtual dates over FaceTime or Zoom are a great, no-risk option for getting to know somebody. If it’s important to you to meet up in person, staying outdoors throughout the date can be a great way to lower your risk. Things like going on a hike, picnicking at a park, or getting lunch at a restaurant with outdoor seating can allow you to have a fun in-person date with lower risk. Bumble even has a feature for users that allows you to specify in your profile whether you’re comfortable with virtual dates only or in-person dates with or without a mask.  

Keep Open Communication 

Everyone’s comfort levels and the risks they’re willing to take are different, so it’s important to communicate openly and honestly with a potential partner and ask them what they are comfortable with. For example, if you and someone you’ve met on a dating app are planning to meet in person but you would be more comfortable if you both wore masks, let them know ahead of time and gauge their reaction. If they’re resistant to the idea, they may not be the best fit for you right now. Even though it may seem awkward, it’s also a good idea to talk about how far the two of you are willing to go physically, taking the pandemic into account. 

Treat COVID-19 like an STI 

If you and someone you’ve met decide you want to hook up, treat COVID-19 similarly to how you’d treat a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you both test negative and then stay at home and watch for symptoms up until meeting, you’ll feel more at ease and be at a lower risk of transmitting the virus to one another. Talking about where you’ve been and who you’ve been in contact with recently is also important. And while it might seem forward, you should make sure you’re on the same page about whether or not the two of you are seeing other people, which could increase your risk.  

Sex and romance during a pandemic can seem scary, and if you’re just not feeling it right now, that’s totally okay. But if you really want to get out there and meet new people, have fun and stay safe!  

– Sara Kleine, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador