Although sexual education is widely important, stigmatized views on the subject have tainted the perception. To break this barrier, the Office of Health Promotion hosted the Sex in the Dark event on Sept. 2 to open up a discussion about sex, sex health and relationships to Sam Houston State University students. The questions provided were all anonymously submitted by students here on campus.
Mental Health Counselor at the Student Health Center Viviane Santiago dissected the mental toll sex and sexual relationships take on students, encouraging students to engage in a conversation with themselves.
“Talk as if you’re ordering from a menu,” Santiago said. “Listing to the things you like and don’t like.”
According to Santiago, one of the most important parts of intimacy is being comfortable with a partner and being present at the moment.
Students were also reminded to not forget about the potential spread of COVID-19. Registered nurse at the Student Health Center Deborah Wynne-Hester explained that having sexual relations with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 puts you at a much higher risk of getting the virus.
Though the virus is not known to be a sexually transmitted infection, certain sexual acts such as kissing can transfer infected droplets causing COVID-19.
Having so much focused on COVID-19, the importance of sexual health has been neglected despite the rapid spread of STIs. With 70% of Sam Houston students having at least one sexual partner in the last 12 months, Hester stressed the importance of getting tested regularly for STI’s available at the Student Health Center.
Several students asked about the privacy of their results and whether or not their partner would be notified. Hester explained that only the patient would be notified of their test results. However, she did encourage students to use an anonymous app to make their partners aware of any positive results to ensure their safety.
The Sex in the Dark event stressed the importance of opening up a conversation to help promote a safe environment for all parties.
“Because we don’t have quality sex-ed, we need these kinds of events to help normalize things and honor the real people and connection,” Santiago said. “Conversations like these are what makes the sex worth having.”