Health Education & Wellness

Sexual Health

College is a time of choices regarding sexual activity. How and when to make choices such as whether to remain celibate or to become or remain sexually active, are important facets of the college experience. Interest in interpersonal sexuality naturally ebbs and flows. Sex affects our emotional state, no matter how experienced we are sexually, from encounters that leave us feeling exuberant, contented, or excited, to those that leave us confused, scared, depressed, or angry. Mentally categorizing an encounter as “hook up” or casual, does not mean we won’t have to deal with feelings about it. The bottom line is that we need to be aware of our sexual feelings and treat them with respect, doing only what we feel is right.

It’s your decision – think it through:


Birth Control

By openly discussing birth control prior to a sexual relationship, partners do more than prevent pregnancies. Such sharing enhances mutual trust and caring, and increases the likelihood of using the chosen birth control successfully. Some feel that raising the topic of birth control in an intimate situation interferes with spontaneity and romance – this is a myth that needs to be dispelled. It is when birth control is not discussed that spontaneity goes out the window and mutual respect is undermined. Romance is better preserved, in both causal and long-term relationships, when birth control is acknowledged as a shared responsibility.

“Which Method to Choose”

Choosing a birth control method, like choosing a sexual partner, depends mostly on individual preferences. What’s right for one person may not work for another. More importantly, what works may not be appropriate later on as lifestyles and relationships change. Therefore, birth control methods need to be reevaluated from time to time.

Deciding which method to use can be a confusing process. Make an appointment with the Women’s Clinic at the Student Health Center or ask a medical professional of your choice.

Many people get their sexual information or expectations from the media. Countless figures in the entertainment industry serve as powerful role models, but rarely do these images of sexuality and sexual health accurately reflect true sexual realities.

STI Facts

  • 1 in 2 sexually active young people will get an STD by the age of 25 and most won’t know they have one.
  • About 1 in 6 people are infected with Herpes in the U.S.
  • More than 50% of sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives.
  • 1 in 5 people living with HIV in the U.S. don’t know they are positive.
  • Chlamydia is the #1 most reported STD in the U.S. An estimated 3 million Americans are infected each year.

The Center for Health Education and Wellness wants you to think about:

As you make your sexual health decisions, remember the best decisions are informed decisions.

Check out the campus, community, and online resources below.

Make your sexual health a priority.

You have a right and a responsibility to be active in your decision making.
Information Adapted: Women’s
Information Adapted: American Sexual Health Association Creating a Healthy Nation

Campus Resources

Student Counseling Center – works to promote the psychological, educational, and social well-being of UT students and to help prepare them to be productive members of society. The Center is available for walk-in intake; crisis intervention; individual, couples and group counseling and psychotherapy; and psychoeducational workshops and consultation.

LGBT OUTreach Center – works to provide a safe and welcoming environment for UT’s diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and ally communities. As a physical symbol of UT’s commitment to diversity, OUTreach provides support, resources, and a community space for UT’s LGBTQQI and ally students, faculty, and staff, as well as anyone who seeks to learn about sexual orientation or gender identity. OUTreach sponsors programs and events that raise awareness, increase visibility, and engage in advocacy regarding LGBTQQIA issues.

Student Health Center – provides outpatient medical care for all currently enrolled students who have paid their full University Programs and Services Fee. Physicians are seen by appointment, and UTSHC provides a variety tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

Women’s Health Clinic –works to meet the healthcare needs specific to UT’s female student population. Students may request to be seen by a male or female health provider. Services provided include annual female examinations, pap smears, birth control, pregnancy testing, and screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

Community Resources

Knox County Health Department – seeks to encourage, promote and assure the development of an active, healthy community through innovative public health practices. The Health Department houses a Women’s Health Clinic, Community Health Office and a Clinical Health Office.

Planned Parenthood – is a healthcare provider, educational resource, and advocate for sexual and reproductive health. Planned Parenthood delivers reproductive health care, sex-education, and information to individuals in communities around the world.

Online Resources

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Sexual Health Resource – provides information and resources about topics including, but not limited to: sexually transmitted infections, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention, men’s health, and LGBT health.

Health Central – learn more about sexual health and view Sexual Health slideshows.

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