The time spent at university represents a critical period for students in establishing their adult personal lives. During the transition from second-level school to university, students develop many new relationships, some platonic and some sexual in nature. Students also experiment more with their sexuality in the newly found independent living space in which they find themselves. This can present many challenges in terms of making good choices in relation to their sexual health and wellbeing.
Although many primary and post-primary schools have education programmes around sexual awareness they tend to focus on the biological aspects rather than on healthy relationships. Sexual consent education is not currently part of the second level school curriculum, although this is set to change in the future. In the meantime, it is vital that higher education institutions take responsibility for ensuring that this is available to all of their students. The question of sexual consent is problematic and this is an area of focus for the Sexual Health and Wellbeing Sub Group of Healthy UL.
For healthy sexual relationships, it is essential that consent is given and received by both parties and that people are able to communicate about safer sex and contraception as appropriate.
The aim of the Sexual Health and Wellbeing Sub Group is to promote and support sexual health and wellbeing for our student and staff populations.
The Sexual Health and Wellbeing Sub Group recognize that good communication is vital for healthy relationships. This is particularly important when it comes to discussing sex and having the confidence to state what you like and what you want and listening to what your partner wants. Positive relationships help to nourish us emotionally and contribute to a feeling of connection. All relationships, not just the romantic ones, need to be worked at to make them a success.
Good sexual health means making sure you have the knowledge, skills, and ability to make informed sexual choices and act responsibly to protect your health and the health of others.
Relevant resources and websites:
Belong To www.belongto.org/
Options – Positive Options www.positiveoptions.ie
Crisis Pregnancy Agency www.crisispregnancey.ie/
Johnnys Got You Covered www.yoursexualhealth.ie