GV highlights sexual health awareness month on campus


September is Sexual Health Awareness Month // Courtesy to Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett

Zsolt Palmer, Staff Reporter

September is Sexual Health Awareness Month, and it looks a little different this year thanks to the ongoing pandemic and the Ottawa County stay-in-place order. However, while our contact with others may be limited right now, that is no reason to limit our awareness of sexual health. GVSU has many learning opportunities in this area, and Katie Jourdan, the coordinator of student sexual health efforts at Recreation & Wellness, helped to explain what GVSU offers in this area.

“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality,” says Katie Jourdan. “The Recreation & Wellness Center recognizes it is important to have a trusted resource on campus and is committed to being that for GVSU students. RecWell’s goal is to engage in evidence-informed, sex-positive, inclusive and empowering messages to students so that we can reduce shame and stigma while supporting students in making the best decisions for themselves.”

“We provide web resources, free condom locations, STI testing days, and more at gvsu.edu/studentwellness/sexualhealth, or you can request a sexual health presentation from the RecWell Wellness Information Team (WIT) Peers. We currently have the following sexual health presentations: Sex Ed Trivia, the Mile High Club: Talking about Sex like the Airline, and What I Wish Sex Ed Taught Me.”

RecWell can also tailor specific presentations at request.

“The Recreation & Wellness Center continues to offer free condoms via mail if you live on-campus and will be having an STI Testing event on Wednesday, October 7, from 4-7 p.m. (location pending). Testing events will occur on the first Wednesday of each month as long as the university allows in-person activities.”

Should a student have questions or concerns about their sexual health, there are always resources at the Recreation and Wellness Center.

What are some of the basics of good sexual health during a pandemic? The American Sexual Health Association provides some answers. In regards to intimate interactions, the usual pandemic advice applies. Anything that brings someone closer than six feet, without a mask, allows for a prime environment for the coronavirus to spread. The virus spreads primarily through saliva, so any action that may require you to take off your mask greatly increases the risk of transmission.

Even in the context of the pandemic, the normal advice to healthy intimate encounters is still important. Ensuring your partner feels safe during such encounters is always important, and protecting yourself from various STI’s (Sexually Transmitted Infections) and STD’s is crucial.  Getting yourself tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections can be done at RecWell, and the Wear One campus campaign would like to remind you to wear a condom.

But good sexual health also involves maintaining healthy relationships. Stay-in-place and stay-at-home orders can have the dual effect of both isolating couples from one another and making them spend more time with each other than they ever had before. Both of these can introduce strain in a relationship, and so the American Sexual Health Association recommends that couples remain open and honest with each other during stressful times.

COVID-19 has exerted much more stress than usual on the GV student body, but keeping aware of how to take care of ourselves and others helps ensure that we can continue to practice good sexual health.