This week is Sexual Responsibility Week
Being sexually responsible means knowing your limits, using protection, and getting tested.
Most people know that February is American Heart Month and Black History Month, but probably aren’t aware that it is also National Condom Month. Beth Grampetro, health and wellness educator in the Office of Residence Life, hopes that promoting Sexual Responsibility Week, which falls this week, will focus attention on sexual health and protection.
In addition to providing resident assistants with information on condoms and other forms of contraception and protection from sexually transmitted diseases, Grampetro will host a program called Contraceptive Myth Busters at 4 p.m. today, Wednesday, February 15, in the Health and Wellness Office at 19 Deerfield Street. The topics to be discussed include commonly held beliefs about different forms of contraception, Grampetro says, followed by more factual information.
“People know about condoms, but there are a lot of misconceptions about their use and how effective they are,” she says. “There are also a lot of other forms of contraception out there that people don’t know about or are holding some old beliefs about.”
Even if students are using protection, Grampetro urges them to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, which do not always show any symptoms. “I think that right now one in two people under the age of 25 will be diagnosed with some kind of sexually transmitted infection; it doesn’t mean it will be one of the incurable ones, but a lot of them left untreated can lead to some pretty serious problems,” she says. “If you don’t know you have an STD like gonorrhea or chlamydia, which can be cured with an antibiotic, it can progress and cause infertility.”
Being sexually responsible is more than just using protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, says Grampetro, It’s also about being conscious of your feelings about engaging in sexual activity.
“I think that part of sexual responsibility is protecting your health and the health of your partner, but also it can be about doing a little self-assessment to see where you stand on sexual activity emotionally and in terms of your values,” she says. “It’s also about being responsible for notifying your partners about those things and making your actions match the values you hold.”
One of Grampetro’s goals is to make students aware that sexual responsibility is about developing their own idea of what is appropriate for them. “Hopefully people really gain an understanding, not just from a week like this but throughout college, that it’s about developing your own value system about what is okay and not worrying so much about what others are doing,” she says. “Student should be thinking, ‘Is this activity good for me in terms of my emotions and what I value?’”