Let’s talk about sex

Mara Casey

Do you remember that popular Salt-N-Pepa song your parents wouldn’t let you listen to?

Sex is a hot topic among students on campus.

“Students, especially those that stay on campus, adjust to living on their own without their parents,” resident assistant Takisha Reeves said. “They make new friends, form new relationships and, sometimes, find their sexual identities.”

There are many sources on campus where students can find information about sex, from the health center to classes.

According to the most recent National College Health Assessment, the majority of heterosexual couples at Kent State are involved in sexual relationships. Students are also using methods to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.

The 2004 assessment, administered by the American College Health Association, showed that 24 percent of the sampled students at Kent State had no sexual partner in the previous 12 months, while 51 percent reported having only one and 11 percent reported having two.

The assessment also showed that 40 percent of students use condoms and another 40 percent use birth control pills as their favorite methods of contraception. Despite these encouraging results, many false theories about sex still exist. Reeves said some of her freshman residents have carried these myths to college after hearing them in high school.

For example, it is still believed that the “pull out” method is effective birth control. According to WebMD, this is when men withdraw before ejaculation, but those sperm can still cause pregnancy.

Other myths include: size matters; a woman can’t get pregnant the first time she has sex or while on her period; condoms take away all the feeling; and HIV/AIDS doesn’t happen in Kent.

“For World AIDS Day, I watched a documentary about a student from Kent that got AIDS from a man in Akron,” said senior theater arts major Kita Stone. “I use to think stuff like that didn’t happen in Kent, but the movie opened my eyes. That could be me.”

The best way to fight these misconceptions is with knowledge. Kent State has the DeWeese Health Center, located on Eastway Drive, and many other programs that provide students with information about safe sex.

“The health center has everything,” Stone said. “They have a special women’s clinic for exams and birth control. They also have STD testing, and everything is affordable.”

According to the health center’s Web site, DeWeese provides anonymous and free HIV testing. Other services vary in cost, but the health center does accept private insurance.

Along with visiting the health center, students can get class credit for learning about sex. The Health Education and Promotion Program offers classes in human sexuality, personal health and HIV/AIDS.

“I took human sexuality,” said senior marketing major Aaron Cephus. “I thought I knew a lot about sex, but the class gave me a lot of new information.”

Every year the Kent Interhall Council holds Sextoberfest, where students play games, learn important information about sex and receive free food and condoms. The Planned Parenthood in downtown Kent also provides contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Reeves also said there are many student organizations on campus that help with sexuality, such as PRIDE! Kent, the university’s gay, lesbian and bisexual organization.

Laurie Wagner, graduate student at Kent State, teaches several tips in her human sexuality class that students should follow:

• Communicate: Talk openly with your partner about issues involving sex.

• No means no: Don’t cross the line.

• Get tested: Know your health status to make educated decisions about sex.

• Use protection: Check the expiration date on condoms and birth control pills, and use them properly.

Contact general assignment reporter Mara Casey at [email protected].