75% of college students in Ireland are sexually active (Clan, 2012). The choice to become sexually active is a very personal choice. Whether you make the choice to be sexually active or not during your college years, it is a good idea to know safe practices and how to protect yourself. With a bit of thought and some careful actions, sex can be safe and fun.
Being sexually active and engaging in safe sex can be an important part of life for many students. For those who are sexually active, the practice of safe sex will reduce your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (S.T.I) or experiencing an unplanned pregnancy during your college years. Taking care of your sexual health is as important as other aspects of your health.
What is Consensual Sex?
This is when a person freely and voluntarily agrees to engage in the sexual act. The video below deals with consensual sex in a funny and enlightening way, courtesy of Emmeline May & Blue Seat Studio. The script for this video came from Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess, Animation – Rachel Brian, VO – Graham Wheeler
Sexual consent means to give permission or agree to have sexual intercourse with a person. It is crucial that both people give consent before they have sex.
It is important to be sure that the person you are with is happy to have sex and that they give their full consent because non-consensual sexual activity is against the law.
In Ireland, the age of consent is 17 years old for everyone. To pressure or force a person into a sexual situation is a crime. The consequence of rape/sexual assault for the offender is severe. Assuming someone wants to have sex is not enough proof of consent – you really have to ask. If the person cannot answer you back and cannot give you their consent, it is considered rape.
If a person agrees to have sex with you, it does not mean that they may want to have sex the next time.
How do I know if the person I am with is giving their consent?
“A person consents if they agree by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice” (Sexual Offences Act 2003).
The only real way of knowing if the person you are with is giving consent, is if they tell you. You could also ask them if they are consenting. This may involve asking the questions such as;
- Are you happy with this?
- Do you want to go further with this?
- Do you want to stop?
- Are you alright?
- Do you want to keep going?
- Will I stop?
You can also tell by their body language if they are giving their consent. The following are examples of a person who is NOT comfortable :
- Not responding to your touch
- Pushing you away
- Holding their arms tightly around their bodies
- Turning away from you or hiding their face
- Stiffening muscles
The following video is courtesy of DisrespectNoBody via YouTube
Getting out of the situation
If you find yourself in a situation where you are uncomfortable and think you may be in danger;
- Say you need to go to the toilet or,
- Pretend you are going to vomit
Once you are away from the situation, find a friend and explain what happened.
Age Of Consent: The Law
The law states that you must be 17 or over in order to give consent to have sex. It is the same for males and females. This means that if you have sex with a person who is under 17 and you are 17 or older, you can be prosecuted.
Please be mindful, there are different laws for males and females. The law does not see pregnancy as a punishable crime; however the male will be prosecuted. Click here for further information on this topic.
Please remember that just because you are 17 years old and can legally give consent, it DOES NOT mean you are ready to have sex.
Saying “No” to sex or any sexual act is NOT you being a bore. You are standing up for yourself because you may not want to do something. You are putting your feelings first and not being a pushover. Do not allow others to tell you what to do.
If people really care, they will respect your decision.
The above video is courtesy of DisrespectNoBody via YouTube.
Intoxication and Sexual Consent
- When a person consumes alcohol or takes drugs, their ability to make decisions is affected.
- If a person has consumed alcohol or has used drugs they cannot consent to any sexual activity (i.e. from kissing to sex).
- Sexual activity with a person who is too intoxicated to know what is going on is rape
- Any non-consensual sexual activity is against the law
How to help:
A friend who may have been a victim of non-consensual sex:
- Believe them
- Stand by them
- Help them to get support from supports both in IT Sligo (such as the Student Health Service and Student Counselling Service) and locally in Sligo town (such as DVAS and the Rape Crisis Centre)
Where to get help:
- Student Health Services in IT Sligo
- Reception – 071 91 55463
- Nurse – 071 91 55205
- Counsellor – 071 930 5463
- Sligo Leitrim Rape Crisis Centre – 071 917 1188
- Domestic Violence Advocacy Service (DVAS) Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan – 071 914 1515
- Sligo Garda Station – 071 91 57000
- The Samaritans – 116 123
- Donegal Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) – 1800 44 88 44 / 074 912 8211
Early Sex – The Evidence
According to reports by the Crisis Pregnancy Programme;
- The majority of young people have sex for the first time at age 17 or older. 21% of girls and 30% of boys have sex before age 17.
- Girls and boys who had sex under age 17 were more likely to say that they regretted it, that it was not a natural follow-on in their relationship and that they were not in love with the person.
- Girls and boys who had sex under age 17 were also more likely to say that they never had sex with that person again.
- Girls who had sex under age 17 were over 70% more likely to have a crisis pregnancy in their lifetime.
- Boys and girls who had sex under age 17 were twice as likely to get a sexually transmitted infection in their lifetime.
- Young people who have sex before 17 are less likely to use contraception.
- In 2013, 1,381 teenage girls gave birth and became teenage parents.
STIs are increasing and young people are not aware of how easy it is to get one.
Gender Identity Terms
- ALLY – a person who is not transitioning / transgender but supports the transgender population and advocates for them.
- BIGENDERED – having two genders – having characteristics of both male and female roles.
- BISEXUAL – a person whose sexual orientation is toward people of both the same and other genders regardless of their gender.
- CISGENDER – a person whose gender identity and expression matches the gender typically associated with their biological sex.
- CROSSDRESSER – a person who dresses at least part of the time in clothing associated with another gender within a particular society for any number of reasons.
- GENDER EXPRESSION/PRESENTATION – how a person expresses themselves, in terms of dress and/or other behaviours that society categorises as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ or androgynous (partly male and partly female).
- GENDERFLUID – fluidity of identity, shifting naturally between two or more genders
- INTERSEX – this term is used to replace ‘hermaphrodite’, it refers to people who naturally develop primary and/or secondary characteristics that do not fit into society’s definitions of male or female
- TRANSGENDER – an umbrella term frequently shortened to ‘trans’ which describes a wide range of identities and experiences of people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from their assigned sex at birth
- TRANSITION – an individualised process by which transgender and transsexual people ‘switch’ from one gender to another. There are 3 aspects to transitioning 1 Social: name, pronouns etc., 2 Medical: hormone treatments, surgery etc., 3 Legal: name change, gender marker etc..
How to be a good Trans Ally
- Don’t ‘out’ a trans person, this can danger their safety and can invalidate their identity.
- Always use their preferred pronouns and name that they want you to use – if you are unsure just ask.
- Ask when and where it is safe to use their preferred pronoun and name – i.e. if they are not out to their housemates ask them how you should refer to them.
- Don’t ask what their ‘real’ name is (i.e. the name they were given at birth), if you do know this do not share with others
- Instead of referring to a person being ‘born female/male’, instead use ‘assigned male/female at birth’
Supports & Services
- SMILY Group in Sligo – meet weekly on a Thursday
- LGBT Helpline – 1890 929 539
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) are infections/diseases that spread from person to person through sexual contact. This can range from kissing to sexual intercourse.
If you think that you may suffering from any of the above conditions/infections/symptoms, please don’t hesitate to contact the Student Health Services;
Appointments can only be made at reception for that day ONLY. Appointments cannot be made for the following day etc. Student MUST have their student card present at the reception desk and please note we work on a “First Come, First Served” . For inquires, call 071 930 5463 or email email@example.com
To request a repeat prescription: click here
OUR REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS ONLINE IS NOT AVAILABLE AT THE MOMENT, HOWEVER WE HOPE TO HAVE IT UP AND RUNNING SOON FOR OUR STUDENTS.
This online pill ordering service is designed for patients who already attended the Student Health Service for a pill assessment and are doing well for over a year on their contraceptive pill. This means you are experiencing no side effects and are good to remember the pill (same time daily). If you have any compliance issues or any concerns about your contraception, you should present to see your Student Health Nurse in person.