I am currently taking Western University's Human Sexuality course (Psychology 2075), and it has taught me a lot about the positive and negative implications of sex. Sexual health is a vital component
of your overall wellbeing, but it consists of more than just practicing safe sex and getting regular check-ups (although both are important)!
The WHO defines sexual health as “A state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality, not merely the absence of disease
” and “a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.
Western University offers resources that help students achieve sexual health
in all of the above areas. Educating yourself on topics in sexuality that are relevant to your age group is important, and so is knowing what services are available near you.
Sexual Health for College and University Students
I consulted with Dr. William Fischer
, a professor at Western who teaches Psychology 2075, to gather information about key areas of focus for College and University-aged students.
Dr. Fischer suggested that young people come up with separate “agendas
” or plans to satisfy various needs that are crucial for sexual health. Agendas you should consider are contraception, STD prevention, consent, and communication between you and your partner(s).
He pointed out that sometimes young adults use contraception (e.g, the pill or an IUD
), but do not use them in combination with STI prevention (e.g, using condoms). As a result, they have little to no risk of becoming pregnant, but a high risk of contracting an STI if they are not in a monogamous relationship. For this reason, students should combine these two agendas so that both are taken care of.
Young women and men should get vaccinated against HPV. Most people who have HPV do not show symptoms, and some strains are potentially cancerous. The Gardasil vaccination protects against HPV and is available across Ontario
Dr. Fischer emphasized that sexual activity is not expected. Whether you are sexually active or not is simply your choice. Sexually active students are no more “normal
” than students who abstain from sexual activity, and vice versa.
Sexual wellness is another important subject: assuming that the sexual relationship in question includes protection and contraception, is it enjoyable? As the WHO definition of sexual health entails, sex is not only about preventing illness, it is also about having positive, pleasurable experiences.
Resources On Campus
Students may book an appointment with an SHS physician to screen for all common STIs. Call Student Health Services at 519-661-3030 to book an appointment. The SHS office is located on the bottom floor of the UCC.
Birth Control Information
Student Health Services at Western offers free 45-minute group sessions that provide you with information on types of birth control available and proper use. Call SHS to sign up for a session!
For more information on methods of birth control in Ontario, visit https://www.visitdoctor.ca/article/birth-control-ontario.
UWO's Student Services Building offers psychological services including counselling, and assists students who are victims of sexual assault in accessing appropriate services.
Sexual Assault Centre London
Students can reach SACL's 24 hour crisis and support hotline at 519-438-2272.
Courses on Sexuality
There are courses in several different faculties that you can take to further educate yourself on sexuality:
- Psychology 2075: Human Sexuality
- Health Sciences 3630: Sexuality, Gender, and Health
- Women's Studies 2160: Intimate Relations – Sex, Gender, Love
- Philosophy 2077: Gender and Sexuality