Sexual health requires communication, education

One way to engage in safe sex is to use a condom, a thin pouch usually made out of latex to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. 

Latoya Oduniyi’s briefcase thuds on to the table with the words 'educator kit’ inscribed on the flap. From within she pulls out a female condom, which may be ten times the size of male condom, and proceeds to describe how to use it.

“When trying the female condom for the first time,” she says, “make sure you’re a little bit aware of yourself and your surroundings. So, if you’ve never seen your own vagina, you need to pull out a mirror and take a look.”

Oduniyi is the Health Promotion and Substance Abuse coordinator at Health Services, and says for general safe sex practices, the first step is deciding what risks you are willing to take.

Risky business

Sex is not a risk-free activity, so it must be approached from a high-risk to low-risk scale, with abstinence as the only 100 percent guaranteed safety, Oduniyi said.

“Most protective barriers, if used as directed, without human error, there’s the catch, should give you 99.9 percent protection, or 99.5, or 99.8 if used correctly,” she said.

Those forms of protective barriers include the male condom, female condom, dental dams and finger condoms.

“Your ultimate goal is to keep your fluids to yourself,” she said. “So, there’s no risk of transmission of any bacteria, any viruses or anything like that.”

Consent

Asking for consent does not have to be a drawn-out serious conversation; it can be flirty, but the consent itself needs to include a clear “yes,” or clear “no,” Oduniyi said.

“You want clarity, you don’t want, ‘Well she kinda batted her eyelashes at me, I think that was her way of saying yes,’ there needs to be no if’s and’s or but’s about it,” Oduniyi said.

Oduniyi said if no is not enough, then the student should question their relationship, friendship or “situation-ship.”

Blurred lines: sex under the influence

Oduniyi advises people to take sex off the table when drugs or alcohol are involved, no matter how strong the relationship. She said she doesn’t care how madly in love partners are. She said even with marriage, sex should be off the table under the influence.

“If you can’t remember what happened last night, and he or she can’t remember what happened last night, it just becomes a big ‘what if,’” she said.

Sometimes, partners can laugh it up as a crazy night, but when a partner is uncomfortable only remembering snippets of a sexual encounter, there are traumatizing effects from second-guessing a situation of which they have no recollection, she said.

“My one recommendation, even if you’re in a relationship, if you guys were out drinking, sleep it off.” She added with a laugh, “Then fool around.”

The briefcase and sex positivity

Oduniyi stood from her desk and rushed around to the front of her office to retrieve the briefcase that is complete with the safety tips and tools for safe sex and to demonstrate the use of the female condom.

While Health Services gives out samples of female condoms at on-campus events, securing a female condom can be as simple as a visit to the women’s clinic or a consult on birth control, Oduniyi said. The condoms are not available over the counter but are covered by third party health insurance and UTA’s health insurance, she said.

The idea behind the female condom is to empower women to carry condoms, Oduniyi said. Even men are stigmatized for having a bunch of condoms on them, she said.

“No one here is Niagra Falls”

For college-aged students or young-adults, lube tends to be a foreign thing, Oduniyi said.

“They’re like, ‘I’m young, I have all my natural juices flowing, why do we need lube,’” she said.

Young female adults can also run into issues staying lubricated when it comes to added stress level, the hormone fluctuations when it comes to birth control and just from the simple fact that no two women are the same, Oduniyi said.

Oduniyi describes saliva as momentary lubrication that can cause things to dry up faster. She recommends using a water-based lubricant because lubricants that are oil-based may break down your protective barriers.

The high risk in anal sex

Anal sex is a preference in sexual activity, but when done unprotected, it is the most risky because of the high presence of veins and capillaries in the area, Oduniyi said.

“Gay men are not high-risk, it’s the activity,” she said. “A women can have anal sex and you would be just as much at risk, and having anal sex doesn’t make you gay, so we dispute myths all day long.”

@blackmuse23

feature-editor@theshorthorn.com

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