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  • Courtney Douglass

Making the right choices for you when it comes to sex

I want to say, right now, that you have the ability to make good sexual choices for yourself.

It’s safe to say that very few people ever heard that sentence growing up. In fact, the opposite is

likely true. For the majority of us, people told us we can’t make the right sexual choices for

ourselves. The best sexuality to have was one that others predetermined for us. It came from

traditionalist beliefs or cultural ideals. But the truth is, people do not fit into one mold, and

sexuality is as diverse as people’s faces: everyone’s is unique. Heck, sexualities can be diverse

from day to day, and what turns us on one day may sound awful the next. And all that is normal.

So why should our choices fit one “standard”, whatever that standard is?

Our sexual choices are vast, like most choices in life are. They include whether we want to even

have sex and what kind of sex that will look like. They include whether we will use condoms and

what our choices would be if we become pregnant. That’s a lot to cover, and if I tried to do it all

in one article, I’d end up writing a book.

But the truth of the matter is, most of these sexual choices come down to one simple idea. When

we love ourselves, we are better able to create a sexual life that’s right for us.

I know, it sounds hippie-ish. But think about it. When we love and respect ourselves, we are

better able to decide when’s the right time to have sex and when isn’t. We’ll have sex because we want to have sex. We'll won't feel pressured into sex, and we wouldn't think it’d make us

somehow better than we already are. And when we choose our sexual partners, we’ll only choose

ones that reciprocate respect. We'll communicate with them about what we want during sex

without fear or shame. And we won’t settle for anything or anyone less, because we know we’re

worth it. And we won’t apologize for any part of our bodies, because we know that they’re

beautiful and cool.

Respecting ourselves means that we are respectful towards our partner, too. We understand their

boundaries and do our best to make absolute sure they’re having as good as time as we are. Of course, we also need to become educated about the choices we make. Someone with good

intentions, for instance, might not know that condoms prevent infections. They may become

surprised when genitals look different than what they’ve seen in porn. Luckily, there are tons of

resources online and right here on campus to get informed! You don’t have to read everything

you can about sexuality. But it's good to be able to learn some basics about anatomy,

communication, and safer sex.

You are capable of making good sexual choices. Trust yourself and get informed. And if you

don’t already believe it, know for yourself that you are capable of making these choices. Remind

yourself that you got this. Prove to the world that you are awesome.

Here are some resources:

The Health Center—I can personally say that the gynecologist there is awesome, helpful, and

able to answer any of your questions.

Birds and Bees Club—A student organization that meets every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. in AOC 210. Members vote on and discuss sexuality topics in an inclusive, peer-led environment. For more information, email—Articles written in simple language. They’re good for any basic

introduction.—An online website where you can compare and contrast birth control methods to

find one that suits you. There are also campus representatives here at Coastal who give away

condoms and info at events!—In-depth articles about any sexuality topic you can imagine. There are also

message boards, a text service, and chat to talk with trained volunteers and ask questions.

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski—A book about cisgendered women’s anatomy, process of

desire, and the way sexuality works, in general. (Get it through the Pascal system in the library.)

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