Image Credit: WordPress
Author: Natalee Wheeler
Safer sex is important to ensure the health and safety of both you and your sexual partner/partners. Safer sex includes STI screening, consent and communication, and the use of contraception. Safer sex can result in more intimacy with a partner, better communication between partners, and better sex!
Why should I get screened for STIs? Can I get tested for free?
Getting screened and tested for STIs is important because it helps maintain a healthier you and prevents long term complications. You can get screened for STIs for free at MSU through Medical Services located at the Swing Health Building (East side of the SUB). Even if you are on your parent’s insurance plan, the information will be kept private and your parents will not know that you were screened for STIs.
What types of contraception should I use?
Every person is different and therefore may prefer a different kind of contraception. The most common types include condoms and birth control pills. Other types of birth control include
Emergency Contraception (Morning-After Pill), a Contraceptive Patch (Evra), Intravaginal Ring (Nuvaring), IUDs (intrauterine devices), Diaphragm and Cervical Cap, and Spermicide. Ask your provider about which birth control option is the best for you.
Some important questions to think about regarding your choice of birth control may include:
- How much does this method cost?
- What are the potential side effects?
- What are the health risks?
- How well does this method prevent pregnancy?
- Will using this method help my partner and I reduce the change of acquiring or transmitting a STI?
- Will I or my partner remember to use it very time?
Sex can be a part of a healthy relationship, but just because you may have a partner, you or your partner may not want to have sex. Before initiating sex, it is important to get consent!
What does it mean to have consent?
Consent is a verbal affirmation and agreement to engage in sexual activities with someone else that you are comfortable with. Consent to one type of sexual activity doesn’t automatically mean consent to all sexual activities. It is important to communicate with your sexual partner about the types of sexual activities you are both comfortable engaging in. Consent is clear, on-going, and willingly given.
Consent is NOT when someone feels pressured, forced, persuaded, or guilty to have sex with another person. If someone says “no”, “maybe not”, “not now”, or “maybe later” that means NO!
Alcohol and Consent
If someone is intoxicated, they cannot legally give consent. If someone is unconscious, blacked out, or asleep, they cannot give consent.
Asking for consent may seem awkward or make you nervous, but here are a few examples of how you could ask someone for consent:
- “I’d really like to kiss you, is it okay if I do?”
- “I think it would be sexy if you took your shirt off. How would you feel if I take it off for you?”
- “I really like where things are going and I want to have sex with you. Would you be okay with that?”
- “Is this okay?”
- “Does this feel good?”
- “Do you want to keep going?”
- “Should I do anything differently?”
- “Do you still want to do this?”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are several resources on campus to help you. The VOICE Center (see below), University Police (http://www.montana.edu/police/sexual-assault-victim-information.html), and HAVEN (see below) are all helpful to direct you to the care you need.
Resources available at MSU:
There are many resources available at MSU! Places like OHA, the Voice Center, and UHP Medical Services offer free condoms for anyone. There are also many resources available in the Bozeman community.
The Office of Health Advancement: http://www.montana.edu/oha/index.html
Services: FREE CONDOMS! OHA also provides students with information regarding sexual health, bulletin boards to Resident Advisors, and referrals to other resources!
Located at 1102/1106 S. 6th Ave., Bozeman, MT.
Telephone: (406) 994-4380
Hours: 8 am – 5 pm during the academic semester
MSU UHP Medical Services: http://www.montana.edu/health/medical.html
Services: Medical Services provides STI screening, non-permanent contraceptives, annual women’s health exams, pregnancy testing, and initiation and maintenance of hormone therapy for transgender individuals is available.
Location: Swingle Building – East of the SUB
Telephone: (406) 994-2311
Hours: During a regular academic semester, their hours are Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
VOICE Center: http://www.montana.edu/oha/voice/
Services: Free and confidential support for survivors, partners, friends, and family of people affected by sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. Advocates are available 24 hours a day to assist with reporting, referrals, academic concerns, protective orders, and medical advocacy. You can always remain anonymous.
Location: 370 Strand Union Building (SUB) on the third floor above Leigh Lounge and Avogadros Number
24-Hour Confidential Support Line 1-406-994-7069
Hours (walk-in): 10 am – 4 pm during the regular academic semester. Other appointments can be made as needed.
Services: BridgerCare provides affordable options for a variety of sexual health needs, including contraception, STI testing, cancer screenings, LGBTQIQ+ services and more! (also, free condoms!!)
Location: 1288 N 14th Ave, Suite 201, Bozeman, MT 59715
Hours: Monday 9am-3pm, Tuesday 10:15am-5:30pm, Wednesday and Thursday 9am-5:30pm, Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday – Sunday CLOSED
Services: HAVEN offers support and services for those affected by domestic abuse and violence, sexual assault, and stalking. They provide emergency shelter, crisis intervention, on-going support, referrals, and education.
Telephone/Support line: 406-586-4111
Want to learn more? Here is a list of useful websites!
Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/
I Wanna Know: http://www.iwannaknow.org/