An anonymous college senior learned about STDs the hard way after she met a man on a cruise during her spring break.
The student, who had never had sexual intercourse before, participated in oral sex with the man she met. Upon her return from the cruise, she noticed that she was developing painful blisters and went to her student health center.
There, she learned that she had contracted genital herpes, and later recalled a conversation she had with the man about how he thought he was getting a cold sore.
“The scary, but very real part about this story is that this is a very intelligent person who made a bad decision to participate in oral sex that was unprotected,” said human sexuality professor Moriah Zimmerman. “She will now have herpes for the rest of her life and have to notify any partner in the future.”
This week, the Temple Health Empowerment Office is celebrating National Sexual Responsibility Week. The BACCHUS Network, an organization that promotes health education for students, works with college campus health offices like THEO to promote sexual health and awareness across the country.
“The greatest disservice that we, as a society, have done is hide sex, sweep it under the carpet, so people think it’s taboo and don’t talk about it,” said THEO coordinator Dina Stonberg.
THEO’s services are always available to Temple students, but by participating in Sexual Responsibility Week, THEO aims to reach out to students even more throug h special events. THEO plans to celebrate observance with condom-grams, sex jeopardy and dating bingo.
“We’re a really fantastic group of people working together for a common cause,” said junior public health major and THEO member Ryanne Smith.
On Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., THEO will be selling condom-grams for a dollar to promote sexual responsibility and celebrate Valentine’s Day. The condom-grams are packages of 10 condoms that come with bags of candy decorated for Valentine’s Day and a note where students can add their own messages. THEO also offers 10 condoms for a dollar throughout the semester.
“Condoms are so key,” Zimmerman said. “If you’re sexually active with one person or 100 people, you should be using condoms.”
THEO will also be holding Sex Jeopardy at 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 in the IBC Student Recreation Center. The purpose of this event is to share information about sexual responsibility so that students can learn things they may not already know about sex and make informed decisions, focusing on proper contraceptive usage. THEO members said they hope the event reaches out to students who live off campus, and who don’t always take advantage of what THEO has to offer.
On Friday Feb. 15 THEO will help host McLovin’ Bingo from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Student Center. This event intends to offer students a healthy alternative to drinking while encouraging healthy dating and sex. Through this event, THEO members said they hope to reach out to both sexually active and non-sexually active students, showing that sexuality is natural and healthy – but must be kept safe.
“Sex is a normal part of life, but we have to realize that there is more to the act than just pleasure,” said freshman journalism major Samantha Krotzer. “I don’t think anyone is really craving to pick up an STD or juggle a baby along with 15 credit hours.”
Through this week’s activities, THEO members hope to get people talking about sexual activity as a natural part of life, while still enforcing how life changing one mistake regarding sex can be.
“Everyone has an opinion of when, where and how you should engage in sexual behavior,” Zimmerman said. “It all comes down to taking responsibility for whatever you act on. If you are not taking the necessary precautions when you have sex to ensure disease prevention, then you have to accept any consequences that come from that.”
Nicole Saylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the know…
Sex Jeopardy: Brush up on anything and everything you didn’t know about safe sex. Feb. 12, IBC, 7 p.m.
McLovin’ Bingo: A non-alcoholic alternative that encourages healthy dating and safe sex.
Feb. 15, Student Center, 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Condom-grams: Send a pack of 10 condoms paired with candy to your Valentine this year for $1.
Feb. 14, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.