“58 Happy Customers Served” – Mark

I’ve been watching the show Whitney on NBC.  It’s a new sitcom this year.  Whitney is the main character and Alex is her boyfriend.  They have the usual friend side kicks every episode.  In this episode, Alex’s friend, Mark, goes with Whitney’s friend, Roxanne, to donate blood.  The nurse needs Roxanne to fill out a questionnaire first and asks how many sexual partners she has had.  She tries to cover the sheet so Mark doesn’t see her number.  However, when the other nurse comes out with a questionnaire for Mark he blurts out, “58 happy customers served” before he is even asked the question.

Images courtesy of NBC/Whitney

Are guys sexually insecure?  That is a good question.  I can’t speak for the whole male population, but generally speaking I think a lot of guys are sexually insecure.  Later in the same episode Mark accidentally tells Roxanne the number again and it is in the 60’s.  She confronts him about changing the number.  He finally admits to her his real number is 7.  She is surprised the number is actually low because he talks a big game when it comes to sex.  She asks him why he lied.  He admits he was embarrassed to say that he feels sex should be shared with someone special.

Why do guys talk a big game, especially in front of their buddies?  If you are tuned into the media like teenagers and young adults tend to be, then you know how both men and women are portrayed.  Sex is everywhere in the media.  They don’t show men who choose to wait to have sex until they are in a serious relationship and it is unheard of to see someone, man or woman, waiting until they are married.  Like Mark said, he was embarrassed to admit that sex means something to him.  That isn’t what is seen as “normal” for guys.  Instead, you see Jersey Shore, and everyone is having sex with different people all the time.  It makes it seem like it’s a great thing for guys to have sex with as many women as possible.  Go out, party, get drunk and have sex.  The pressure to feel like you fit into that kind of lifestyle can be pretty intense.  Some guys are confident enough to keep their sex life private.  However, sometimes friends and peers can be pretty hard on guys who are more quiet or reserved about their sex life.

Guys also have an issue with wanting to date a woman who has a lower number when it comes to sex partners.  They might not care if they are having a one night stand, but when it comes to getting serious, the double standard still exists.  Guys have told me they can be really insecure if their girlfriend’s number passes a certain limit set in their head.  It comes down to competition.  The more men their girlfriend has slept with, the more men they have to compete with.  Many guys have admitted they don’t want to think of competing with the 9 other guys their girlfriend previously had sex with.  Even though their own number may be higher.  Other guys have also admitted it has been difficult to continue dating a girl who’s number is higher than their own.  Not all guys feel this way, but sometimes the greater the perceived competition, the greater the insecurity.

I can sympathize with the pressure guys are under.  No one wants to be thought of as incompetent.  It is hard to get through high school or college and not feel inadequate if you aren’t out conquering sexually.  I think there are a lot of guys out their trying to break down the double standards, but it isn’t easy.  It is usually done behind the scenes because the media doesn’t really emulate responsible and respectful behavior.  To all the guys out there respectful and responsible, I say THANK YOU.  I hope you feel confident about your choice and that you find a great women who appreciates you for it.

Remember, there is more to you than just the number of sex partners you’ve had.  (Same goes for you women out there!)  It is a good idea to stop thinking of sex as a competition.  Instead, start to think of it as pleasurable experience you have with someone you are attracted to and hopefully care about.   It is about you and the other person.  Leave the past out of the bedroom and focus on being in the moment.  This may help lessen that insecurity you may feel due to the numbers game.

It isn’t easy to develop confidence over night, but it starts with accepting yourself.  You don’t always need to change to please others.  Try to drown out the voices of the media and others around you who try to tell you you’re missing out because you aren’t bagging a different female every night.  Sometimes it starts with accepting that you might be different or not fit the “norm” of society.  However, in this case I think that is a good thing.  I like the character, Mark,  a lot more now that he stopped trying to be something he wasn’t.  I’m glad he was able to admit he isn’t really an disrespectful idiot, even though he thought it was more acceptable to be this way.  He is much better off just being himself.

Plus, if you saw the whole episode, you know that both Roxanne and Mark are worried the blood bank is going to call them to say they can’t accept their blood because of STD’s.  It may be hard to admit your number is low, but trust me, it is a lot harder to tell your partner that you’ve contracted an STD.  No matter what, always use protection when engaging in any type of sexual activity.  It is true that the higher your number, the more at risk you become of contracting an STD.  So be smart and be safe!

Life is Not a Romantic Comedy or a Porno Movie

With so much media available today it can be hard to know what is real and what isn’t.  There are a lot of  “reality” shows on tv, but is it a realistic portrayal of what relationships are really like?  I have a lot of students who don’t come from great families.  They tell me that they have never really observed a what a great relationship looks like.  They get their ideas mostly from the media.  More often than not, the media isn’t a good source of information when it comes to healthy relationships.

I love romantic comedies, but sometimes life doesn’t work out like it does in the movies.  I know most people know movies aren’t real, but it can make you hope that ideal on the screen more than you realize.  If you read a lot of romance novels or watch romantic comedies you can get a false idea of what a relationship is really about.  They can give you unrealistic expectations which can make you believe there is this perfect person out there and once you get through some initial obstacles, the rest is happily ever after.  It makes you want that type of relationship.  Some students feel something is wrong with them if they can’t find it.

The media can also trick you into thinking that you can have everything you want in ONE person.  The reality is that if you are quiet person who is a good listener, you most likely aren’t the outgoing, super funny person.  While sometimes it’s nice to have a boyfriend or girlfriend who listens and is very caring, it is also nice to be around a really fun person who can distract you from your problems.  However, it is very unlikely to find both of those personality types in one person.  Some romance novels make some men out to be emotionally available, yet very tough and super smart, protective, but not too controlling…oh and they are gorgeous too!  This is not realistic.  Most people don’t have all positive qualities.   If you have too high of expectations in a person you date then you will always be disappointed.

If you like to date outgoing people, be prepared for their attention to be diverted to others a lot of the time.  Outgoing people have a lot of friends and may be more flirtatious.  That can be hard in a relationship.  On the flip side, dating someone who is less outgoing means they aren’t texting 10 other friends through your dinner date, but they may be too tired on Friday to party all night.  They may want more down time, which can sound boring to some people.  My point is that you can’t have it all.  There are up and down sides to every personality trait and no one is perfect.  Even if you find someone you feel an emotional connection to, you have to also be physically attracted to them to want a relationship.

The other thing I hear a lot in my office is about sexual expectations.  I think easy access to internet pornography has made it seem like sex is also as easy to have without any complications.  Pornographic movies are done with a script and director.  Most of the actors are on drugs while performing these sexual acts.  I know most people know this logically, but I think it still puts a lot of pressure on both men and women to perform perfectly while having sex.    I know some men feel like they should know everything and can easily feel insecure when comparing themselves to what they’ve seen in porn videos.  Sex is about connection, but a lot of people can feel like they’re in a competition.

I also know some female students feel pressured by the guys they date to perform sexually.  A lot of women feel insecure about being compared to porn stars who are willing to do anything.  Also, some women complain that their boyfriend treats them like a sex object and they feel like they have to have sex on command.  Men and women are different sexually.  Men may feel really turned on if their girlfriend grabbed them and touched them sexually with no warning.  They may want to jump into bed and are grateful that she initiated.  Some women feel violated at times when their boyfriend grabs sexual body parts and expects sex on demand.  Sometimes women may respond the same way men do, but if it happens too often without any emotional connection, it can make some women feel used.  Watching internet pornography can trick you into thinking women want to have sex constantly and are turned on in the same ways men are.  It is true that women can be bold and very sexual when they want to be.  However, no one likes to feel pressured or used so be careful about assuming that you and your partner are turned on by the same things.  This usually isn’t true.  Great sex takes communication and a willingness to be open to your partner’s needs and wants.

A real sexual relationship is about having fun, being yourself and connecting to your partner.  Try not to compare yourself to anyone else when having sex.  Instead, focus on finding out what pleases your partner.  Be confident and selfless instead of thinking you need to be some porn star in bed, or expecting your partner to be one.  Also, real relationships aren’t just about sex.  Most relationships involve many types of connections such as, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and recreational as well as sexual.  Real relationships don’t always flow smoothly and you can make a few mistakes before finding the right person for you.  You can still enjoy watching movies and reading novels for entertainment, but be careful about how it influences your beliefs about how relationships work.  Try to give the opposite sex a break, and don’t compare them with Noah from The Notebook or Debbie from Debbie Does Dallas because none of us are walking around with a script to tell us what to do next in the real world.

Back Up Your Birth Control- Grandma Video

I know I already sent out my New Year’s Resolutions last week and this was #1, but I saw this video in another blog by Smart, Safe and Sexy, and it was too funny to pass up!  Plus, it “back’s up” my point to always use birth control!

If you can accidentally text your Grandma on New Year’s Eve, what else can go wrong?  Condoms break.  Pills are forgotten, especially on holidays.  Remember to Back Up Your Birth Control!
www.BackUpYourBirthControl.org

If you have a birth control oops, emergency contraception can help.  That text to grandma?  I can’t do anything about that.  Stay safe in 2012!

Not Making It To The Finish Line

Sometimes people think sex is just easy.  A+B=C right?  Well sometimes our own insecurities and expectations can mess things up when it comes to sex.  Especially when it comes to having an orgasm.  I’ve met with quite a few people over the years who are concerned about the fact that they aren’t able to have an orgasm during sex.

You may be thinking this just happens to women, but it can often happen to guys as well.  The reason for this isn’t so easy to figure out all the time either.  Here are few different reasons I’ve come across that keep people from “finishing”.  I’m sure there are more, but these are the most common in my book.

1.  Body image issues.  If you aren’t comfortable with yourself and your body, the chances of you having an orgasm go down.  The reason is anxiety over body issues keeps you from relaxing and enjoying the sexual experience.  Your brain is the number one sex organ.  If it is preoccupied with how you look, or what’s going to happen next, or wondering if your doing it right, then it can’t focus on feeling good in the moment and letting the body take over.  Hopefully you’re choosing to have sex with someone who cares about you and is attracted to you no matter what you look like naked.  Try to see yourself through their eyes and remember they chose to be in this moment with you.  Visualize yourself having sex without anxiety and being proud of who you are.  Then it may be easier to actually make that happen when you do have sex.

2.  Performance anxiety.  Again, this one is similar to the first one in that your insecurity is messing up your brain.  If you are over thinking every move you are making and wondering if the other person is having a good time, then you won’t be able to relax and enjoy the moment.  Sex isn’t rocket science, but everyone is different.  If you really want to please your partner, ask them what they enjoy.  They will hopefully be happy that you want to please them and you’ll have a better chance of getting it right.

Sometimes number two can happen when you’re having casual sex and don’t feel comfortable with the person.  My suggestion is to wait until you meet someone you care about and can let your guard down around.  Sometimes number two can happen when you are in a relationship with someone you really care about.  Casual sex may be easier for you because you don’t care as much about what the other person thinks.  My suggestion is to be open with your partner.  Let them know you are feeling a little intimidated.  Talking about it, even though it’s awkward, can help you feel more realistic about your expectations and lower your anxiety.

3.  Religious conflicts.  If you’ve been brought up in a very strict, religious environment it can be hard to let go of those messages later in life.  You may feel guilty over some of your sexual thoughts and having sex can bring on even worse guilt.  This can keep you from relaxing and connecting with your partner during sex.  It may help to talk over this conflict with your partner or a professional who can help you determine whether you want to let go of certain beliefs from your past or wait to have sex.  Some of those beliefs can be deeply imbedded and even if you feel like you’ve decided to be more liberal as an adult, it can be hard to get rid of the thought that you are doing something sinful.  Figuring out what you want to believe about sex before having sex can be very helpful.  If you are still not able to have an orgasm, seek out a professional that can teach you some thought replacement techniques.

4.  Emotional disconnection.  You may be having a hard time responding sexually to your partner because of past hurts that have destroyed your emotional connection.  Even guys can be turned off sexually when feelings are hurt too often in a relationship.  You may feel like you are pulling away mentally and emotionally, so it is hard to be connected physically during sex.  Do your best to repair the emotional damage.  Figure out if you can forgive this person for things that have happened in the past.  If you can’t, it may be time to leave the relationship.  You deserve to get the most out of a relationship and if you can’t connect to your partner during sex, it may be a sign that there are deeper issues to deal with.

5.  No physical attraction.  I’m not sure why you want to have sex with someone you don’t feel attracted to, but it happens.  You may be in this situation because you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings.  If the sexual spark isn’t there, you may not be able to cross the finish line.  This person should be your friend, not someone you are having sex with.  If you’ve tried and there isn’t success, then it is time to call a spade a spade.

6.  Too much internet pornography.  This one can happen if you get so used to using fantasy and visual images when you masturbate.  You can actually desensitize yourself sexually.  Which means you will need more and more visual stimulation to orgasm.  You may find that you can’t actually have an orgasm during sex without the help of pornography.  It can also increase your expectations of what sex should be like and the reality of sex with your partner may be somewhat of letdown.  If you think this is the problem, try to back yourself off from using pornography and masturbate less for awhile.  Try to visualize having sex with your partner and being able to cross that finish line.  This may help you reach orgasm with only the visual stimulation of your actual partner.

7.  Past abuse (sexual, physical or emotional).  Past abuse can really mess up your perspective on how you feel about yourself and how you feel about sex.  Abuse crosses boundaries and sex is the most sacred boundary you have.  Many people who have been abused either feel they have no boundaries and let everyone in or they put up too many to keep everyone away.  With sex this means you either let anyone and everyone take advantage of you, but you don’t open yourself up to receive any pleasure.  Or you don’t let anyone touch you and are afraid of being that vulnerable with anyone.  If you’ve been abused in the past and you know this affecting your current sex life (or you know you’re avoiding sex because of past abuse) it is recommended that you seek professional help to work though it.  You can move past it and not let it continue to take away from your present and your future happiness.  It isn’t easy, but it is certainly possible.

Sex is complicated.  It can be hard to be vulnerable enough to experience an orgasm with another person.  It happens to a lot of people and there are ways to fix it.  Be honest and open with yourself and then with your partner.  If you can’t talk about sex, then maybe that is sign that you shouldn’t be having it yet.  Be smart and be safe.  Always use protection and get tested for STD’s regularly!

Open Relationships

The concept of an open relationship is hard for my brain to wrap around.  I think to myself, “Why be in a relationship if you want to have sex with other people?”  However, I’ve heard that the concept is more accepted with gay men who are in committed relationships.  So I’ve decided to write a post about it and see it from another person’s perspective.

First, when it comes to sex, men and women are different.  Biologically speaking, men have more testosterone, which makes them more sexually driven than females.  On average, men want to have sex more often than women.  Along with that, men are more visual and are turned on more quickly by visual stimuli than women.  Also, women on average attribute more emotional connections to sex.  I believe studies have been done that prove that gay couples have the most sex, heterosexual couples have an average amount of sex, and lesbian couples have the least amount of sex.  This isn’t black or white and there are exceptions to what I’m saying.  However, on average I believe that is pretty accurate.

After listening to a couple of gay men discuss this issue I can see how an open relationship could work and actually thrive if done right.  Also, when talking to a few lesbian women, it was apparent that an open relationship would not be as welcome.  A couple of lesbian women stated that it would probably cause a lot of drama and jealousy in their relationships.  That leads me to believe that an open relationship may be harder for women than men in general, whether in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship.  I’m sure there are women, both heterosexual and lesbian, out there who could tell me they have had successful open relationships.  However, since I haven’t met those women personally, this post will be from the gay male perspective.

So, you may be asking like I did, why would two men in love want to have sex with others outside of their relationship?  I was told that it is possible to have a great connection with someone, to be even be in love with that person and still have the desire to have sex with other attractive men.  Some gay men aren’t ready to completely settle down or make the sacrifice to only have one sexual partner.  However, they’ve found a person they like to be with and spend most of their time with.  Instead of choosing to either sacrifice having a committed relationship or the option of having many sexual partners, some gay couples are choosing to have both at the same time.

The number one factor in making an open relationship work is to be open and honest about it.  Most of the time relationships have problems because of lies, not because of sex.  Each partner needs to be honest with the other one when they decide have sex with someone else.  Both partners also have to be willing to be as safe as possible while having sex outside the relationship.  There is no doubt that you are more at risk for contracting STD’s in an open relationship than a monogamous one.  You have to trust that your partner is taking precautions every time they have sex, and it would be smart to be tested for STD’s as often as possible.

I also asked about the jealousy issue.  I was told there really isn’t one.  From what I understood, an open relationship means sex only.  If the gay couple is out at a club and one of them meets someone they want to have sex with, they tell their partner and then go do what they want.  There isn’t an ongoing relationship with that other person or an emotional tie involved.  Or if the couple is in a long distance relationship they might choose to have sex with other people when they can’t be with each other as long as both partners are in agreement.

This is why my head has a hard time wrapping around this.  I think this has more to do with my personality than the fact that I’m a female, but I only want to have sex when I’m emotionally attached and committed to someone.  I think this is why you have to really know yourself before deciding whether an open relationship would work for you.  Some people are able to separate sex from emotion and therefore not get jealous when their partner is having sex with someone else.  Others may not enjoy or get anything but heartache from being in an open relationship.

Here is the reason why I think this type of relationship works better with gay men.  The relationship is between two men who think more alike when it comes to sex.  They have clear boundaries when it comes to having sex with other men, and are able to keep those boundaries intact by being upfront and honest.  In a heterosexual relationship I think a lot of men would consider the idea of an open relationship.  However, I think there would be some jealousy because they may expect their female partner to become emotionally attached when they have sex with other men.  Even though it isn’t true that all females become emotionally attached during sex, I think the underlying expectation could elicit fear and therefore jealousy in a heterosexual relationship.  The woman in the relationship may also become jealous if they couldn’t handle the number of other women their boyfriend or husband was actually having sex with.  This may be why heterosexual couples keep things casual if they want to have multiple sex partners instead of having an open committed relationship.

If you are gay, you may have the option of being in a committed relationship and having sex with multiple partners.  That doesn’t mean you have to accept this type of lifestyle if you want to be in a relationship as a gay man.  Many gay couples are fully monogamous and happy to make that sacrifice.  If you are heterosexual or lesbian, the option of being in an open relationship is more rare.  It is harder to find someone who will let you have your cake and eat it too.  If you like the idea of having multiple sexual partners, maybe choosing to keep things casual will help keep the drama down to a minimum.  Other people like me, don’t mind making the sacrifice to be with one person.  I actually thrive in a monogamous relationship.  Whatever you decide, stick to your boundaries and keep the communication open and honest.

Should Sexual Fantasies Become Reality?

I guess that would depend on the fantasy.  What I’ve seen is that the combination of casual sex and internet pornography has made more people believe that their sexual fantasies should become reality.  I guess if you are single and find others to help you live out your fantasy, it probably doesn’t cause too much harm.  However, relationships still do exist.  I believe sexual fantasies can cause problems in relationships when it comes time to actually try to live them out.  I’ve had many people tell me that they felt pressured to live out their partner’s sexual fantasy or fear losing them to someone else.

This seems to cause a lot of stress and anxiety for some people.  What if you don’t share the same sexual fantasy as your partner?  Should you do it anyway to please them?  What if they promise they only want to try it once, but then afterwards they beg you to do it again?  What if their sexual fantasy involves another partner or multiple partners?

It is a hard call.  If you love someone and they are asking something of you that makes you feel really uncomfortable, it becomes hard to decide what to do.  Should you be selfless even though you don’t feel you can handle what they are asking of you?  Should you stand up for yourself even if that means they may eventually cheat on you or leave you for someone else altogether?  Compromise in these kind of situations can be really difficult.  Someone is going to have to give something up.

My first instinct is to tell someone not to compromise on their values or morals.  If something goes against what you believe, it will cause you mental and emotional stress if you follow through with it.  In this case I would encourage you to talk to your partner and let them know why you object.  If you have strong beliefs, then you will be able to handle it if this person leaves you to pursue their fantasy.  If you compromise your beliefs, resentment will build and cause your relationship to endure a lot of stress.  Either way, your relationship is going to suffer if you have very different beliefs about sex, and one person isn’t willing to give in.

If your partner is asking you to do something you fear or feel uncomfortable with, then I would ask you to explore the reasons for why you feel this way.  Sometimes it is good to face fears to push beyond your comfort zone.  It really depends on what is making you uncomfortable.  Some people have had bad experiences or abuse in the past, or they are close to someone who has tried the same thing with negative results.  This can cause a person to be very reluctant and fearful about trying out their partner’s sexual fantasy.  If this is the case, I would encourage you to talk to your partner and help them to understand why you are so fearful.  Hopefully they will understand and be patient with you.  If they show support and understanding, it may help you to feel more confident exploring new sexual territory despite your fears.  If that doesn’t work, hopefully they will respect your fears and be able to keep their fantasy just a fantasy.

If your partner doesn’t understand or feels you are being too selfish, stop and think about your relationship with this person.  Are you always giving in to make this person happy?  Do they make sacrifices for you?  If you feel you are always holding back in your relationship, your partner may feel they have to choose you over themselves too often.  You may want to figure out where you can compromise more in the relationship.  However, if you find you are always giving in and your partner doesn’t seem to make any sacrifices for you, you may want to consider why this is happening.  Relationships are hard, but they shouldn’t be completely one sided.  In this case, I would definitely encourage you stand up for yourself and set better boundaries in your relationship.  Both people count and should have a say about what happens in their relationship.

I’m all for trying new things and making your partner happy.  However, everyone has their limits.  It is good to know what your limits are and be able to set boundaries in your relationship, as well as in your sex life, even if that means you risk losing the person.  If you want to push beyond your comfort zone, go for it.  You can always try something once and if it doesn’t work out, be strong enough to communicate that to your partner and move on.  That is usually how we find out what are actual limits are.  You may be surprised you can enjoy and be comfortable with more than you think you can.

*Just an added warning*  When it comes to sexual fantasies of threesomes and adding multiple partners, think long and hard about following through on this one.  If you are in a committed, long term relationship this can cause future problems.  Even when both people are open to it, unexpected jealousy and feelings of betrayal can happen.  You may think your relationship is strong enough to endure adding sexual partners, but I’ve met with many people who have tried to live out this sexual fantasy only to have it ruin their relationship.  Watching your partner have sex with someone else, even if you are involved can really affect you emotionally.  I find that many people are still insecure with themselves as well as their relationship.  Adding another person into the sexual mix can heighten those insecurities.  Jealousy is a strong emotion and it is hard to keep it under wraps.

I believe sometimes it is better to keep a sexual fantasy just that, a fantasy.  Real life isn’t a porno movie, just like real life isn’t a romantic comedy.  Sometimes fantasies can hurt relationships, more than they help, because they can cause expectations to be too high.  Be aware of your expectations in your relationship and try to be more realistic when it comes to living some of your sexual, as well as emotional, fantasies out.  Again, sometimes fantasies, which are kept strictly fantasies, are more able to enhance your sex life and your relationship then going after the real thing.

Trojan 2011 Sexual Health Report Card

The 2011 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card came out last month.  The makers of Trojan Brand condoms ranks the sexual health resources of 141 American Colleges and Universities.    The Trojan Sexual Health Report Card is about celebrating positive sexual health and the campuses that empower it.  It’s about sparking dialogue and inspiring action; and providing students with the means to enjoy their sexuality and create positive change.

COED Magazine wrote these NOTEWORTHY FINDINGS on their blog:

Football conference shakeups negatively affect conference rankings:

  • The University of Nebraska moving to the Big 10 may make sense on the football field, but the new Big 10 member is lagging in the rankings. Nebraska is the conference’s lowest ranking school at No. 83, 16 spots behind the University of Minnesota (No. 67).

Big Jumps for Big Ten schools:

  • Northwestern University continued their impressive climb up the Report Card, achieving the No. 28 spot. This is the third consecutive year the Wildcats have improved, jumping from 90th in 2008 to 88th in 2009 to 63rd in 2010. The improvement is attributed to the schools’ extensive peer education programs that provides students with a wealth of information, events and workshops on sexual health year-round. Other notable jumps include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which climbed 62 spots from No. 64 to No. 2.

Rising Up the Ranks

  • This year’s rankings saw a number of significant jumps, the largest coming from Texas A&M, which rose 73 spots from No. 110 to No. 37.
  • Northwestern University continued their impressive climb up the Report Card rankings, achieving the No. 28 spot. This is the third consecutive year that the Wildcats have improved their ranking, moving up from 90th in 2008 to 88th in 2009 to 63rd in 2010.
  • Other notable jumps include the aforementioned University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which climbed 62 spots from No. 64 to No. 2, and Colorado State University from No. 63 to No. 7. In fact, all three Colorado schools – Colorado State (from No. 63 to No. 7), University of Denver (from No. 74 to No. 31) and University of Colorado at Boulder (from No. 75 to No. 55) saw improvements in their rankings.

Report Card Rivalries:

Conference Bragging Rights:

  • The Big Ten led in 2010, but slipped to number two with a 2.94 GPA, thanks in part to conference newcomer University of Nebraska bringing in the lowest individual GPA (2.45).
  • The Big Ten was followed by the newly adjusted Pac-12 (2.84), SEC (2.65), ACC (2.60), Big 12 (2.53), MAC (2.52), Conference USA (2.39), WAC (2.29), Mountain West (2.28), Sun Belt (2.23) and Big East (2.09).

Get Yourself Tested!

I realize that a lot of people don’t like labels in relationships.  They want to keep things casual.  One label you definitely don’t want is an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection).  If you are keeping things casual in your relationships, then you are more likely having more sexual partners.  This increases your risk to become infected with an STI.

The statistics say that 1 out of every 2 people under 25 will become infected with a sexually transmitted disease.  Most of those people don’t even know they are infected because they aren’t experiencing any symptoms.  However, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, you could still be passing along the infection to others unknowingly.

The great thing is many STI’s can be cured though antibiotics.  The bad thing is that some STI’s are incurable.  So where can you get tested?  You can visit the GYT (Get Yourself Tested) website or the Planned Parenthood website to find a local STD testing center.    With so many places to go to get tested, there really is no excuse not to know if you are sexually healthy or not.

To prevent STI’s you need to know your facts.  Do your research and educate yourself.  Look up info on different STI’s.  There is a page on the Center for Disease Control’s website that can give you a lot of information fast.  You can look up info on Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, HPV, HIV & AIDS, Trichomoniasis, and other STI’s.

After knowing the facts, start talking about it.  Ask your potential sex partners if they’ve ever been tested.  Talk about the fact that you’ve gotten tested.  Spread the word so others will become more aware and open about it as well.  Continue to get tested if you continue to have sex with new people.

Use protection!!!  Condoms come in all sizes, colors, flavors, and textures.  There is no excuse for not being prepared.  Most college campuses give away free condoms in their Wellness Centers or in their Peer Education Programs.  Condoms can be sexy and fun if you get creative with them.  Figure out new ways to put them on yourself or your partner.  Practicing to get the technique right can also be a lot of fun.  Experiment with different textures and flavors to mix it up a bit.

Also, make sure to use condoms while having oral sex.  Unfortunately oral cancers have increased dramatically since the 1980’s due to a form of HPV that can be spread to the throat from oral sexual contact.  Do not think oral sex is safer than vaginal or anal sex.  It is NOT!  If you don’t have a dental dam to use during oral sex, you can cut a condom length wise and use that as a barrier.  Make sure to tell your health care provider if you’ve had unprotected oral sex so you can be tested for HPV.  Sometimes HPV will work itself out of your system on its own, but sometimes it develops into cancer.  There are also vaccinations for HPV to help prevent cervical or oral cancer.

Even if you practice safe sex every time, there is no 100% guarantee against STI’s except abstinence.  Even if you are being safe, remember to get tested!  You not only want to protect yourself, you want to be able to protect others!  Be Safe and Be Smart!!

A great blog to read for more info on safe sex is Smart, Safe and Sexy

Was I Raped?

You think you would know if you’d been raped right?  Not necessarily.  I’ve had women come in for counseling because they felt a friend or acquaintance took advantage of them, either while they were drinking or while they were feeling vulnerable.  They either felt they couldn’t say no or felt pressured by the person they thought they could trust.

Acquaintance Rape happens a lot more often then being assaulted by a stranger.  Over 77% of women report being sexually assaulted by someone they know.  Of those 77% only 2% will actually report the assault.  Why do you think so many women refuse to come forward?  Sometimes it is out of fear.  Sometimes it’s because the woman blames herself for getting into the situation.  Sometimes the woman feels she didn’t say no forcefully enough.   A lot of the time, women will minimize their feelings and try to tell themselves to just forget what happened.

The following situation is an example of why sexual assault isn’t always so black and white.  A lot of men and women are friends with each other.  One night a woman runs into one of her male friends.  She is upset, and he offers to listen and give her some advice.  She starts crying and opening up about what happened with another guy.  She tells him she feels rejected and unlovable.   Her male friend offers comfort and support.  He may start to hug her and rub her back.  It starts to get late and he asks her to stay a little longer so she won’t feel lonely.  They hang out and talk some more.  He starts to cuddle with her and before she realizes it they are kissing.  She says she should leave, but he convinces her that the other guy is stupid for rejecting her.  He tells he thinks she is beautiful, and he would never do that to her.  He continues to touch her and she gives in.  Soon most of their clothing is removed.  She starts to push him away again, but he resists and continues to hold and touch her.  He tells her not to worry, he’ll treat her right.  She feels guilty for letting things go this far.  She also feels she owes him for listening to her.  They have sex.

The best outcome of this scenario is the next day she feels bad about giving in and having sex.  She feels she consented in the end because she didn’t say no.  She may confront her friend and tell him she regrets her decision and doesn’t want to have sex with him again.  She may or may not ever choose to open up to him again when she feels upset or vulnerable.  She may also have lost some respect or trust for him, but doesn’t feel traumatized by the event.

The next best scenario is the next day she feels bad about giving in and having sex.  She regrets it, but doesn’t feel strong enough to say anything to him.  She may act like it never happened.  She most likely will avoid talking to him when she feels so upset and vulnerable.  She has lost trust and respect for her friend.  A distance grows between them.  She may feel a little upset about the event, but tells herself she has lived and learned.  Next time she will open up to a girlfriend or talk to her guy friends during the daytime when she feels a little safer.

The worst scenario is the next day she feels sick to her stomach when she thinks about what happened.  She feels violated.  She regrets not saying no more forcefully, but feels he should have known she wasn’t there for sex.  She wishes he would have listened when she tried to stop him earlier and pushed him away.  She not only has lost trust and respect for this male friend, she now feels like he is a predator who only listened to her so he could get sex.  She feels traumatized by the event and can’t stop thinking about it.  She is very emotional and doesn’t know what she should do now.  She is very afraid of seeing him again.  Will anyone believe her?  She may start to blame herself and tell herself all the things she should have done.  She most likely won’t report it.  She will go on to blame herself even though somewhere inside she knows she was sexually assaulted by her friend.

Research funded by the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that  1 out of 5 college women will be sexually assaulted.  September happens to be the month when most sexual assaults are reported.  School has just begun and many college students are experiencing their freedom for the first time.  Students go out with their friends and blow off stress from the week.  Some may drink and end up in situations similar to the one above.  The next day they may feel they were assaulted, but don’t report it because they blame themselves for drinking too much.

Unfortunately, sexual assault can happen in all different types of situations.  However, they all leave the person assaulted feeling very vulnerable, scared and alone.  A lot of guilt is also embedded into these situations.  I used the above example to show that rape isn’t always black and white.  Different people are going to feel differently after experiencing similar situations.  However, your feelings are not wrong, whether you feel just slightly uncomfortable or horribly traumatized.  Everyone is different, and your feelings are more true than the details of how it happened.  No one can tell you that you shouldn’t feel something.

If you do feel traumatized, it does help to talk about it.  Processing your feelings can help you move through them.  This will make them less powerful in your mind and help you learn to not blame yourself.  You won’t “get over it”, but it may help you not think about it all the time or have nightmares about it.   I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but I do know that women have worked through this and felt they were able to take their power back.  If you are continuing to struggle, please see a counselor or someone non-judgmental who won’t tell you how to feel, but help you process your feelings no matter what they are.

The condom broke! Now what??

Sometimes the condom breaks.  Sometimes you are too tired, too drunk or too lazy to even use a condom.  Sometimes you’re on the pill, but realize you’ve missed a couple days so you might not have been protected from getting pregnant while having sex the night before.  I’d like to think every college student is practicing safe sex every time, but I’m not an idiot.  Life happens and mistakes get made.  Here are some smart things to do after you have a lapse in judgment.

First, you can get emergency contraception.  Unless you are on the pill or another form of birth control, this is the first issue to deal with.  You only have 5 days or 120 hours after unprotected sex to be able to use this form of protection.  There are two types of emergency contraception- morning-after pill and IUD insertion.  The morning-after pill prevents ovulation, so an egg won’t be released.  It may also thicken the cervical mucus preventing sperm from reaching an egg.  It does not cause an abortion.  It is used to prevent a pregnancy.  Within 5 days of having unprotected sex you can also choose to have an IUD inserted.  An IUD is a small device that is inserted directly into the uterus.  Once in place, it will prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years after insertion.  The morning-after pill will reduce the chance of pregnancy by up to 89% if used within the first 72 hours after having unprotected sex.  The sooner you are able to take the pill, the better chances of preventing pregnancy.  The morning after pill can not be used long term.  You will need to use another form of birth control if you want to prevent pregnancy in the future.

Even if you are using birth control or emergency contraception, you are still at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease or infection.  It is best to get tested as soon as possible even if you don’t have any symptoms.  How do they test for STI’s?  There isn’t just one test for all STI’s.  You will have to let your doctor know your sexual practices and any symptoms.  Some STI’s are tested by a blood sample, some use a urine sample, and others use a tissue sample.  If you have obvious symptoms, it may be easier for your doctor to diagnose through a physical exam.  Otherwise, your doctor will send your sample to a lab to be tested, and you will be notified within a few days if you’ve tested positive or not.  Sometimes your doctor may ask you to come back to be retested in 6 months because some infections don’t show up right away.  Make sure you follow through on getting tested because most people do not show any signs or symptoms of having an STI.

College is about having fun and living in a the moment.  However, when it comes to having sex it pays to think ahead and be prepared.  Carry a condom with you or have some available in your room or apartment.  You can usually get free condoms from your health center on most campuses.  Even when you are fully prepared, having sex can be risky.  The condom can break.  If you aren’t using another form of birth control, don’t hesitate to take emergency contraception.  Then get your butt down to Planned Parenthood or your doctor’s office to get tested for any sexually transmitted infections.  This way you won’t be at risk to spread any infections to others unknowingly.

If you find that you are pregnant or have an STI, it can be very scary.  No one wants to deal with that type of stress on top of all the other stresses in college.  However, it can happen.  Please seek out help if you aren’t sure about what to do next.  Contact the Health or Wellness Center on your campus if you have no where else to go.  It is confidential and free.  You can also access Counseling Services on your campus as well.  A counselor can help you process your feelings and help you figure out what your options are.

Oh No, I’m Pregnant!