There’s an axiom that goes, “there’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called college.” That’s another way to say that when you’re in college, you can experiment. If you’re a young person and leave home to go to college in another city or state, this is probably the most distance from your home and family you’ve ever had.
You’re in college to learn and get your degree, but there’s probably time for other things too. Some young people decide college is the right atmosphere to drink alcohol, try drugs for the first time, and maybe find sexual partners as well. They might try on a new persona that little resembles their middle school or high school self.
It’s your decision what you want to do in college. This might be the time you act recklessly, and then, you’re a respected society member for the rest of your life. Sowing your wild oats is not necessarily wrong.
The thing is, though, if you’re not careful while you’re in college, you can do some things you’ll truly regret. That is certainly true when we’re speaking about sexual situations and decisions.
Let’s talk a little bit about why behaving responsibly in college is a smart idea.
If you go off to college, you might feel like now is your chance to locate some sexual partners before you “settle down” or get into a monogamous relationship. The problem is that STDs can be rampant on college campuses. For instance, you have to worry about:
Talking about these things is not alarmist. 24% of all new HIV infections are among young people, and that certainly includes college attendees.
Medical science can treat HIV and AIDs much better now than it once could, but this still isn’t something you want to contract. It may kill you eventually, and in the meantime, you’ll need medication and treatment. It can change your whole life, and not for the better.
Other STDs are unpleasant in various ways. They can be painful, uncomfortable, and embarrassing.
You probably don’t want to talk to your parents about these matters, so some college students keep these developments to themselves. It’s a part of your school experience you’re concealing, and having secrets you feel compelled to keep introduces further stress into your life.
Unwanted college pregnancies happen all the time. Maybe you engage in some unprotected sex at a party where you’ve had a few too many drinks. When that happens:
- You have to decide what to do about the pregnancy
- There are no good options available for you
Maybe you think that abortion is wrong. If you’re a young woman and feel that way, you now have to carry the child to term. Perhaps you’re not ready to become a mother at all, and this will alter your plans quite a bit.
You might have to drop out of school, and then you might never finish college. If you’re male, you’ll have to see what the woman wants to do. If she decides to keep the baby, you’ll have to produce child support payments.
If you’re old-fashioned, or your parents are, you might decide you need to marry each other if you have the child together. While not all parents or young people think that’s necessary anymore, some still do.
You might have to marry a person you hardly know. Maybe you can make it work, but if you don’t know them at all, you have no way to tell if you are compatible. Perhaps things will work out, but more often, they won’t. Many marriages that start this way end in divorce.
Abortion is the other alternative. If you decide to do it, the young woman will need to go to a clinic. Even if you’re okay with abortion from an ethical standpoint, it’s an unpleasant experience and one that might cause you a lot of sadness afterward.
If you’re the male in this equation, the least you can do is accompany the woman to the clinic, assuming she wants you there. It makes sense for you to put up some of the money as well, or all of it, depending on what you two work out.
Both parties will probably feel bad about what happened. Maybe you’re both fine with abortion in theory, but when you go through it, it’s hard on both of you. This situation is all too common, though.
The Emotional and Psychological Repercussions
Certain young people decide they want to save themselves for marriage. They want to refrain from sexual contact until they’re married or in a committed relationship.
You might have that idea in your head, but then, once you get to college, you stray off that path. Maybe drugs or alcohol lower your inhibitions, or you decide now is your chance to deviate from your plans.
Some people make these decisions, and they don’t regret them. However, some do.
Losing your virginity is something that only occurs once. Some people don’t look at it as a big deal, and they don’t care about whether the person with whom they eventually partner is a virgin or not.
If you’re promiscuous in college, though, and then you end up in a relationship or intend to marry someone, you might be sad that your first time will not be with them. It’s not the worst thing to happen, but it’s something special you could have shared, and you threw it away for a frivolous encounter with someone you hardly knew.
Everyone views sex and relationships differently. Some people are casual about these things, and they think nothing of having multiple sexual partners throughout college.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that if it makes you happy. You just need to remember to use protection every time.
If you don’t, pregnancy and STDs are possible. These aren’t things you want to happen, and you need to take avoidance steps if you plan on finding yourself a partner or partners.