Valentine’s Day is for lovers…and sexual health

Louis Justman

With Valentine’s and National Condom Day uniting people across the United States, it’s time to get your sexual health on.

But for those that aren’t in relationships, Thursday, Feb. 14 holds a little less importance than for those who are dating.

And while some students do see dating as a near-necessity of the college experience,  there are others that hold alternative views on the matter.

Pre-nursing student James Van Eck said it all depends on how you view the point of your college career.

“If you’re there to really focus on your studies then you should (be doing just that),” he said. “But [college] is not just about studying, it’s also figuring out how to work with people on a more adult level — and that includes relationships.”

Van Eck said his observations of college relationships are different depending on the student.

“Some people don’t have a relationship at all,” Van Eck said. “And some people do nothing but have a relationship.”

According to Van Eck, relationships tend to have both good and bad qualities.

“The positive aspect is you feel really good about yourself — you found somebody that wants to spend time with you and makes you feel special,” Van Eck said. “On the negative aspect, you can get so absorbed in the feelings you begin to forget the purpose for being in college and your studies can start to take a hit.”

Spalding Hall resident adviser Jenn Gorelick, a sophomore, said rushing into a college relationship can not only hurt your classwork, but your emotional state as well.

“It might feel like there’s a lot of pressure to find a boyfriend or girlfriend when you get to college, but it’s ok to be single until you’re ready,” Gorelick said. “That’s when relationships turn unhealthy, when people enter into them without enough self-respect or self-trust to know when they’re in a bad situation.”

Gorelick said if you are looking for a relationship, think outside the box.

“If you are looking for someone, expand your horizons,” she said. “Get out of your comfort zone. NMU has so much to offer in terms of that, and the student population is so varied, you never know whom you might meet trying something new or through a friend of a friend.”

One idea that is perpetuated by pop culture is that a relationship in college means one thing: sex. Lenny Shible, Health Promotion Specialist, said it’s important to show respect for your partner in regards to the sexual aspects of your college relationship.

“Respect means engaging in open and honest communications about exactly what a mutually consensual sexual relationship is, how it works and how to have one,” Shible said, “One challenge that many college students have today is trying to match their abilities to comfortably talk about their sexual relationships with their abilities to have their sexual relationships.”

Shible said no one should engage in any sexual relationships unless and until they are comfortable in engaging in open and honest, adult conversation about what it means to be in a sexual relationship

Shible said respect in a healthy relationship goes further than just sex though.

“It is important that all people understand that it is necessary to communicate to existing or potential partners in very clear ways exactly what it is that they are looking for in their relationships, whether it be friendships, deeper emotional connections and/or mutually consensual physical connections,” he said.

According to Gorelick, the important thing to do is what is best for your future before giving a relationship serious consideration.

“It really is all about taking care of yourself first,” she said. “Everything else will fall into place. Being single won’t make or break your time at college, but being in a relationship with the wrong person could.”