DCU Welfare Officer Eve Kerton tells us why virginity and being LGBT should be celebrated in college and why you should be get into the habit of taking regular care of your sexual health during your time there...

“So how was your first week in college pet?” is a question that will be asked all over Ireland this week as Freshers leave the comfort of their homes for the adventure that is college. “Ah it was class, loads of free shit, rice, Frisbees, pizza vouchers and a load of condoms!” The latter tends to get mammy’s attention! College is notoriously associated with casual sex and exploration, partially the fault of  the American Pie films and the general portrayal of third level education in the media.

However,  it’s not as hardcore and promiscuous as you think. If you have maintained your virginity, be proud of your V-Plates! Nobody knows your history and its none of your business. Do not feel under pressure to have sex during Freshers’ Week just to “get rid of it”. You will regret it and you could have a far less daunting experience if it’s with someone you’re comfortable with. Condoms are a precaution for those who are sexually active, not an indicator that you should be engaging in sexytime with anyone who presents themselves to you for bump’n’grinding.

Colleges are far more liberal and inviting than secondary schools in terms of their attitude to the LGBTQ community. Every college has LGBTQ societies that celebrate and support students throughout their time there, coffee mornings, quizzes and workshops help integrate LGBTQ students and educate allies. Whether you are out and an activist or private about your sexuality, you will be treated with dignity and confidence. There are many support services available, be sure to call in to your welfare officer for help or to get some condoms or dams.

Always look after your jiggly bits. Regular checks and tests are key to maintaining safe sexual health. Having a feel of your liathróidí or private garden and taking mental notes of any changes is essential, if something feels different or causes you pain, visit the doctor just to be safe. Most campuses will have an onsite doctor with student prices, if not doctors in the locality tend to do student prices. The same goes without saying for boobs, check for lumps, tenderness and discolouration. Getting in the habit of being aware of your body from a young age is so important.

Every students’ union has a welfare officer and you can be certain that they will have an abundance of contraception, either free of charge or at a very low cost. Always feel free to call to them with any worries you may have about your body, everything discussed will be in confidence and they will point you in the right direction to seek help. It’s their job so please don’t be embarrassed.

Hope you have a happy and safe (sexy) time as you embark on this wonderful journey!