Sex and Sexuality

University life presents itself with great opportunity to explore one’s sexuality, sexual philosophies, and sexual identity. With that can come a whole lot of emotions, confusion, and questions. As exhilarating and fun as exploring and having sex can be, this exploration can also take a toll on an individual’s mental health and wellness. For instance, some students feel pressure to engage in certain things because “this is when it’s supposed to happen.” While others may have little interest in engaging in this exploration and feel out of place because they do not. Some students may feel their preferences for certain relationship styles or sexual behavior makes them weird or that people would judge them for this. Often students are concerned with “doing things right” with their partner(s). This pressure placed on oneself can impact their attitude about sex, self-esteem, and overall mental health.

CAPS provides a safe space to explore all of these factors and more, with staff members who are able to provide affirming, non-judgemental support for students with any concerns related to sex or sexuality.

Sex Positive Affirmations*:

  1. You alone have ownership of your body
  2. Your worth isn’t decided by whether other people find you attractive
  3. Having consensual sex (or choosing to not have sex) does not diminish your right to respect
  4. You deserve to learn and experiment with your body, sex, and sexuality without shame.
  5. Everyone is different and they all have value and deserve to be loved.

(From: “little zine of sex-positive affirmations” from pleasurepie.org)

The Relationship Bill of Rights

In all intimate relationships:

You have the right, without shame, blame or guilt:

  • to be free from coercion, violence, and intimidation
  • to choose the level of involvement and intimacy you want
  • to revoke consent to any form of intimacy at any time
  • to be told the truth
  • to say no to requests
  • to hold and express differing points of view
  • to feel all your emotions
  • to feel and communicate your emotions and needs
  • to set boundaries concerning your privacy needs
  • to set clear limits on the obligations you will make
  • to seek balance between what you give to the relationship and what is given back to you
  • to know that your partner will work with you to resolve problems that arise
  • to choose what kind of relationship style you want to have (monogamous, polyamorous or otherwise)
  • to grow and change
  • to make mistakes
  • to end a relationship

(Source: Morethantwo.com/relationshipbillofrights.html)

Getting Help:

Are you seeking a safe space to discuss the role sex and sexuality play in your life and how these influence your mental health/wellness? Feeling overwhelmed trying to navigate your social life at Wesleyan and meet new people? Call CAPS and set up an appointment to speak with a counselor. We are happy to help and support you! Please call us today at 860-685-2910.

You (or someone you know) may want to consider talking to a professional if…

  1. You find yourself overly consumed by sex, sexuality or sexual behavior (i.e. excess time or energy)
  2. You feel uncertain of your preferences, desires or limits and want to explore that more.
  3. You find that you don’t enjoy sex as much as you would like to or worry about your performance as a sexual partner.
  4. You feel uncertain of how to set boundaries with sexual partners and how to engage in safe, sane and consensual interactions.
  5. You have concerns about how you relate and connect with others.
  6. You feel lonely, hopeless or isolated and use sex as a coping mechanism.
  7. You have questions or concerns about your sexual behavior, sexuality or sex life.
  8. You have been diagnosed with, or fear diagnosis of an STI and want support processing your emotions about this experience.
  9. You feel as though you are a ‘sexual outsider’ or ‘erotically marginalized’.
  • You seek support in understanding how sex impacts your feelings and relationships with others and yourself.
  • Your experiences, past or present, are greatly impacting other areas of your life ( i.e. academics, enrichment activities, health or even other relationships)

Speaking with a professional can help you explore the issues you are facing and come up with healthy and safe solutions to move forward.

These are just a few of the reasons someone may seek out counseling due to concerns about sex or sexuality. Even if your situation does not match something described above, that is okay! Overall, trust yourself and when in doubt seek help, reach out! No call is illegitimate and CAPS would love to hear from you! Call us at 860-685-2910.

If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of others, please call 911 or public safety at 860-685-3333.

Additional Resources:

  • Hotlines

    The Trevor Project (24hr LGBTQIA+ support): 1-866-488-7386

    Planned Parenthood:  1800-230-PLAN (7526)

    Love is Respect Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 | 1-866-331-8453 TTY

    STI Resource Center Hotline: 1-919-361-8488

  • Websites

    https://www.loveisrespect.org/   Love is Respect is an online resource that offers support and advocacy for young people in an effort to educate and prevent abusive relationships. This website is very interactive with lots of information on how to build healthy long lasting relationships, how to identify problem areas, quizzes, and online resources for seeking more help for oneself or others.

    https://www.geneseo.edu/health/relationships  SUNY Geneseo’s counseling website offers an extensive webpage with information about healthy relationships. This page includes several links to PDF’s which contain concrete strategies and skills one can utilize to improve certain aspects of their interpersonal life and relationships. These include things such as Communication, Active Listening, Setting Limits and Conflict Resolution.

    http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/   It’s Your (Sex) Life is an information partnership between the HJK Family Foundation and MTV to support young people in making responsible decisions about sexual health and relationships. This website has information regarding pregnancy prevention, STI screening, sexual health and building safe, healthy and consensual relationships.

    http://bedsider.org/ A comprehensive website covering all things related to birth control.

    http://www.iwannaknow.org/ A comprehensive website about sexual health for teens and young adults.

  • Video Clips