Yes, this is about sex, and sex talks can be awkward, but it’s on a LOT of people’s minds during the kick-off to uni. So, I’m going to help give you some advice without sounding like your grandparents.

This isn’t aimed just at guys or straight people, either! This is written with everyone in mind so that anybody can get the basics on sexual health and good sex.

1. Safety
Having protection is essential, even if this means dipping into the toilet as soon as you get to the club to buy a condom or going to the pharmacy the day before to get contraceptives.

Condoms, in particular, are a wonderful thing. They’re useful in that they provide protection from STDs and pregnancy and are widely available in a lot of university spaces or places like bars and clubs.
Before you go out, remember it’s better to have protection already prepared than not having sex because you forgot the condom, or having unprotected sex and putting yourself at risk.

Sexual protection also applies to LGBT sex and anal sex. Condoms or dental dams are always good to have on hand and sachets of lube are discreet and ideal for going out with because, let’s face it, nobody wants to be dancing with a bottle of Durex Cherry in their back pocket. If using lube with condoms, make sure it’s water or silicone based lube so it won’t damage or break your condoms.
Finally, as you hopefully already know, there are other forms of protection and contraceptives like The Pill, vasectomies, female condoms, spermicide etc, but I’ll let you research those yourself so you can find what suits you best.

2. Explore!
Want to try a threesome? Or start getting into erotic dancing? Maybe you’re just looking for your first kiss? Or perhaps you want an good ol’ fashioned whirlwind romance?
All these things are okay! Being young and away from home can be a huge deal in finding out who you are sexually. So, it doesn’t matter whether you want to try getting choked for the first time, or want to hold hands and kiss. Be safe and get consent and you’re good to go! Fuck away!

However, don’t feel pressured to explore if you don’t feel the need to! Some people aren’t ready for years which is absolutely fine, while others may identify with asexuality- a sexuality generally associated with a lack of sexual attraction.

3. Consent, consent, consent!
In its’ simplest form, consent is giving permission for something to happen. If you’re looking to bed someone, be sure to get VERBAL consent. Just because someone is letting you grind on them doesn’t necessarily mean they want to jump into bed with you.

As Fresher’s events usually entail young people absolutely out-of-their-mind drunk this is one the most important things to remember! If someone is unconscious, incapable of making proper decisions, or is making it clear that they don’t want to engage with you: leave them alone.
Sex without consent is rape, and it really is as black and white as it sounds.

If and when you’re having sex with somebody, remembering phrases like “Can I..?”, “Do you like it when…?” and “Do you wanna keep going?” are important and won’t ruin the mood (I promise). Asking questions makes communication clear and can help you discover something new you like. Sex is always nicer when everyone feels comfortable and nobody wants to start university off with a horror of an awkward sex story or a shiny, new STD.

4. Post-sex
Nobody’s perfect and sometimes you’ll have sex with somebody without protection. Visiting a sexual health (GUM) clinic, your GP or gynaecologist or your university doctor is always the wisest decision.
STDs are nearly always easier to treat if caught early, so visit a doctor immediately if you suspect you may have gotten something. For pregnancy scares, there are emergency contraceptives like the different types of morning after pills available. However, these aren’t as effective as normal contraceptives like condoms.

In the worst situations, like facing exposure to HIV, there are still things to be done. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) can help treat and prevent HIV infection if you begin taking it within three days of exposure. As always, if you think something’s wrong after having sex, seek medical help.

Finally, this information isn’t just for Freshers. Practising safe, healthy sex is a skill to take throughout life with you.If you want to look for some more sex info, I recommend the Sexplanations Youtube channel.