The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

The ins and outs of safe sex

As WelcomeWeek dawns, so does the opportunity to be creepy as hell and still take a lucky lad or lady home from the club. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe

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With all the new experiences and opportunities that university offers, new responsibilities will, inevitably, arise. Many of you will undoubtedly be thankful for the new-fangled distance between you and your parents. Especially when it comes to having people over to stay—cheeky!

 

Boys, it should go without saying that the age-old proverb “Don’t be silly, wrap your willy” still applies. Not only do theses magical rubber balloons (don’t use previously inflated condoms as they aren’t as effective) protect you against unwanted infections, but they also ensure that you don’t have to change diapers after lectures any time soon.

From Trojans to a more snug fit, the range of condoms available today can cater not only for your personal proportion, but also enhance your performance (though no, they do not give you the skills of a sex god). No matter what sensation or size you go for, make sure that your condoms and lubes are in date and that your condoms have the BSA Kite mark and CE mark on the packet.

Manchester is currently leading the way in the development of a condom made from Graphene, a material only one atom thick, which head researcher, Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan hopes “will literally touch our everyday life in the most intimate way.”  Dental dams (essentially mouth condoms) are also recommended for any oral action. What’s more, free condoms can be obtained from the Advice Service in the Student’s Union!

 

For you ladies out there, there are more contraceptive methods available than ever before! It’s important to remember that although condoms are a wonderfully reliable method of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy, they are only 98 per cent effective. For this reason, it’s best that you come equipped too, as after all, sex is a team effort!

From the pill to more long-term alternatives, everybody’s needs and wants are different so it’s important to find out what suits you. Contraception can be obtained from the following clinics in Manchester: Palatine contraceptive and sexual health clinics (all ages), Fresh clinics (24s and under), Brook (19s and under) and your local GP.

In case you didn’t already know, female condoms are also a thing (although these are only 95 per cent effective). Essentially the same rules and guidelines apply as to their male counterpart; the shoe’s just on the other foot, so to speak…

On a slightly more serious note, sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) are in the nightmares of students everywhere. But don’t fret; free and confidential help, advice and sexual health checks are easily accessible in Manchester. Whether you suspect you may have a disease or simply want a check-up, GUM clinics are the place to go.

Alternatively you can book an appointment at the Manchester Center for Sexual Health, or its North and South Manchester equivalents. Affecting one in five young people in the UK, Chlamydia is the most prolific of all sexual transmitted infections in the UK. Scarily enough this super disease is becoming resistant to the very medicines designed to destroy it, so there’s yet another reason to wear a condom. If left untreated it can cause serious health problems such as infertility.

But never fear, RUClear is a chlamydia and gonorrhoea screening programme that you can do from the privacy of your own bedroom, kind of like internet shopping. All you have to do is request a kit from the RUClear website, pee in a pot and send it back! The programme also runs a similar service for syphillis and HIV screening with a small finger prick blood sample.

But safe sex isn’t just about contraception. Consent is also an essential factor. If you’re too drunk to consent, then perhaps so are they. Likewise, hygiene not only keeps you safe but also makes the whole experience more pleasant. At the most basic level, everybody should pee after sex—yes gentlemen, you too! For you kinky people out there, it’s important to remember to clean your sex toys, just don’t go leaving them in the communal sinks.

 

Oh and finally, don’t be tempted to use Original mint where the sun doesn’t shine, no matter how tingly it makes you feel: IT IS NOT LUBE.