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Consent means all participants in a sexual encounter agree to it. Consent is verbally expressed, enthusiastic, fun, sober and conscious, freely given, can be withdrawn at anytime and true for all participants. Consenting to one behavior (such as kissing) does not obligate you to consent to any other behaviors (like having sexual intercourse). Giving consent on one occasion does not mean you’ve given consent for future occasions.
Consent is permission from a partner to engage in any type of sexual activity. The easiest way to determine if a person wants to give consent is simply to ask, which eliminates the uncertainty of guessing and trying to interpret signals. Consent is an on-going dialogue between you and a partner. If your partner seems to become hesitant or uncomfortable, you should stop.
Certain circumstances make it impossible for a person to legally give consent. These circumstances usually involve cases in which a person is not mentally or physically capable of choosing whether to engage in sexual behavior. For example, if someone is drunk or high on drugs, then that person cannot give consent. This means that, even if someone seems eager to engage in sexual behavior, doing so can be considered sexual assault or rape if he or she is intoxicated. The use of alcohol or drugs may seriously interfere with the participants' judgment about whether consent has been sought and given.
Making sure that your partners consent to a sexual encounter is one of the most important parts of having a mutually satisfying and ethical experience. Check in with yourself and your partner often to make sure that both of you are comfortable with what is happening, and respect the feelings that each of you have.
Your partner might consent to oral sex but not to sexual intercourse, or you might consent to genital touching on one occasion but not another. You always have the right to say no, and anytime either you or your partner says no, the other person must respect that decision. Even though talking beforehand does not mean that both people will consent later, it makes it more likely that you and your partner will understand each other's values and feelings.
If you are concerned for you or a friend, contact the UNL Victim Advocate, Morgan, at (402) 472-0203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also call the local Voices of Hope 24-hour crisis line at (402) 475-7273 seven days a week for confidential support and assistance. Visit involved.unl.edu/gender/advocate.php for more information.Local Resources
- UNLPD (University Nebraska Lincoln Police Department: (402) 472-2222
- LPD (Lincoln Police Department): (402) 441-7204
- University Health Center for University UNL students (402) 472-5000
- Planned Parenthood: (402) 441-3300
- Voices of Hope 24-hours Crisis Line: (402) 475-7273
- Susan Foster, J.D., UNL Title IX Coordinator: (402) 472-3417
STI and HIV Testing
If you are sexually active, it's your responsibility to ensure you don't put your or your partners' health at risk. STI and HIV tests are easy, quick, inexpensive and painless. Get tested annually.
10 million young people ages 15-24 are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection each year.
Women can have long term effects of these diseases, including pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, tubal scarring, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
Many STIs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of people infected or mild symptoms that can be easily overlooked.
Common STI Tests Chlamydia Swab of genital area or urine sample Gonorrhea Swab of genital area or urine sample Syphilis Blood test or sample from sore Hepatitis A, B, C Blood test Oral Herpes Visual diagnosis Genital Herpes Blood test or swab of affected area HIV Blood test
Sometimes a diagnosis can be made based on symptoms or a physical exam. Treatment could be prescribed right away. Other times, your provider may need to send a sample away to a lab.
Waiting for results can be stressful. Always follow up! If you don’t get your results, you might as well have not gotten tested at all. Don’t assume your results are negative if you don’t hear back — find out for sure.
STIs are not like allergies; you can’t do a massive test for all the major ones out there. STI tests are specific to each infection. You and your health care provider will decide which STIs you should be tested for.
Most importantly, you need to speak up and ask to get tested. You can’t assume that you have been tested for STIs if you have had blood taken, given a urine sample or (for women) had a pelvic exam or pap test. If you want to know, ASK to be tested.
Be honest and open with your health care provider about your sexual history. They are there to help you, not to judge you.
Your health care provider will help you make important decisions about test(s) you may need. Certain STIs are so common that your health care provider may suggest that you get tested regularly for them.
The University Health Center offers comprehensive STI testing, including free chlamydia and gonorrhea testing. We also offer free HIV testing.
Generally, medical information is kept confidential between the patient and health care provider.
Positive results for some STIs, like HIV or syphilis, may be shared with state or city health departments for tracking purposes, but there are laws preventing health departments from sharing your test results with your family, friends or employer.
If you use health insurance to get tested, you should consider who else has access to that information (like a parent or partner if you share health insurance).
Be sure to ask your health care provider who will know that you got tested and who will know your results, especially if you are using insurance. Ask questions and stay informed.
Okay, so you have an STI. Breathe. Remember, the side effects and health outcomes of many STIs can be treated, and many STIs are curable. There are different treatments for different STIs. For some STIs, there are several treatment options. Here are two examples:
If you test positive for chlamydia, you will be given a prescription for an antibiotic that will cure this case of chlamydia. It is important that you follow the treatment recommended by your health care provider completely. Always continue your medication until it is finished, even if your symptoms have gone away.
You could still get chlamydia again if you have sex with someone who has chlamydia, so it’s important that your partner(s) also get tested and treated for chlamydia before resuming sexual activity.
If you test positive for herpes, you can take medications to treat the symptoms. While herpes is not a curable STI, it is easily treatable with medication. Medications are also available to help prevent future outbreaks and minimize their severity, and to lower the chances of passing the virus on to partners.
About one in six adults have herpes in the U.S. — and they live normal, healthy lives. You’re not alone! Support groups for people with herpes are available to help you cope and prevent transmission to others.
Some conversations seem really difficult to have. Telling someone you have an STI is one of them. But it’s not just about you. Your partner needs to know so he or she can get tested and treated if necessary.
People contract an STI from someone else. Part of stopping the spread of STIs is open communication, so talk to your partner. Many couples report that this conversation actually brings them closer together.
Make a plan. As soon as you’re ready, discuss it with your partner. To help prepare you for the conversation, you could talk to someone else about it first and practice what you'll say, journal about it or practice talking in a mirror. You could even write your partner a letter. The main point is just to communicate. Be there for your partner the way you hope they would be there for you.
Birth Control Methods
There is more than just condoms! Learn about your options.
Talk to a University Health Center medical provider about your options. We carry most birth control methods in the clinic. Click here for more information about our women's health services and how to make an appointment.
How to Use Safe Sex Supplies
- For vaginal, anal, or oral sex and sex toy play
- Lubricants are a great way to increase pleasure and sensitivity during sex. When used with condoms, lube reduces the risk of breakage.
- Apply a small amount of lube inside the male condom and on the outside of the closed end of the female condom for added comfort and pleasure.
- Apply lube over the outside of the whole condom and re-apply during sex if necessary.
- For oral sex on a vagina or anus and sex toy play
- Dental dams are designed to prevent STI transmission during oral/vaginal or oral/anal sex.
- Place a few drops of lube between the dam and the vagina/anus to increase sensitivity and help hold it in place.
- Use hands to hold the dam in place.
- Never reuse a dental dam or flip it over and use the other side.
Talk to Your Partner(s) About Protection
"I don't have any kind of disease! Don't you trust me?"
"Of course I trust you, but anyone can have an STI and not even know it. This is just a way to take care of both of us."
"I don't like sex as much with a rubber. It doesn't feel the same."
"This is the only way I feel comfortable having sex but believe me, it'll still be good even with protection! And it lets us both just focus on each other instead of worrying about all that other stuff...."
"I'm [or you're] on the pill."
"But that doesn't protect us from STIs, so I still want to be safe — for both of us.
"I didn't bring any condoms."
"I have some right here."
"I don't know how to use them."
"I can show you. Want me to put it on for you?"
"Let's just do it without a condom this time."
It only takes one time to get pregnant or to get an STI. I just can't have sex unless I know I'm as safe as I can be."
"No one else makes me use a condom!"
"This is for both of us....and I won't have sex without protection. Let me show you how good it can be, even with a condom."