Sexual Wellness

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  • Sexual Wellness & COVID-19

    We understand the desire and need to connect with others. Your health should be your first priority. To help you navigate your sexual behaviors and clarify what you and your partner(s) should be doing to protect each other during this time, please visit the following resources:

    Know how COVID-19 SpreadsHave sex with people you know
    Use test results with caution when deciding to have sex
    take care during sex
    Prevent HIV. STIs and unplanned pregnancies

    Here are some steps you can take if you decide to have sex safely during COVID-19. Click on the posters below:

    1. Know how COVID-19 spreads
    2. Have sex with people close to you
    3. Use test results with caution when deciding to have sex
    4. Take care during sex
    5. Prevent HIV, STIs, & unplanned pregnancies

    If you are sexually active with someone outside of your household, consider these precautions to reduce your risk of getting the COVID-19 virus:

    • Minimize the number of sexual partners you have
    • Avoid sex partners who have symptoms of COVID-19
    • Avoid kissing
    • Avoid sexual behaviors that have a risk of fecal-oral transmission or that involve semen or urine
    • Use condoms and dental dams during, oral, & anal sex
    • Wear a mask during sexual activity
    • Wash your hands and shower before and after sexual activity
    • Wash sex toys before and after using them
    • Use soap or alcohol wipes to clean the area where you have sexual activity

    During COVID-19

    We understand the desire and need to connect with others. Your health should be your first priority. To help you navigate your sexual behaviors and clarify what you and your partner(s) should be doing to protect each other during this time, please visit the following resources:


  • The State of Spartan Health: Sexual Wellness

    85% of MSU students used some form of contraception the last time they had intercourse*

    We encourage students to make responsible decisions regarding sexual relationships consistent with their values and beliefs, including abstinence, as well as the use of risk reduction strategies such as birth control, condoms, and other barriers-of-protection, if a student decides to be sexually active.

    24% of MSU students have been tested for HIV*

    The benefits of knowing your HIV status are endless. HIV Antibody Counseling & Testing will help you to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others and can alleviate the stress and anxiety of thinking that you may be infected, but not knowing your actual HIV status. Call to make an appointment for a free and anonymous HIV Antibody Test.

    47% of MSU students reported having one sexual partner in the last school year*

    Deciding to have sex is a decision many students are faced with. Whether you choose to have sex or not, the decision is always yours. People can abstain from sex for many reasons – even after they’ve been sexually active. Abstinence is a choice that can be made for a lifetime, months, days, or even for a night.  It may mean simply waiting until you find the right person to have sex with, or the right time and place.

    *Data is from the 2020 ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA) of MSU students. 

  • Condom Use


    Condoms are a barrier device made of latex or polyisoprene. They are placed over the penis during sexual activity, preventing the transmission of fluids from one partner to another.  Condoms are used to prevent pregnancy and STI transmission and can be up to 98% effective.

    • External Condoms (also known as male condoms) are made of both latex and non-latex
      external condom diagram
    • Internal Condoms (also known as female condoms) are typically non-latex
      Internal Condom diagram

    While condoms protect against MOST STIs, they do not always protect against transmission of herpes or genital warts (Human papillomavirus or HPV) but can reduce the risk of transmission.

    All condoms (internal and external) are Type II Medical devices and are held to the same safety standards as artificial heart valves and IV tubing. The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) responsibility is to ensure every condom brand is manufactured properly and follow quality system regulations to ensure that their products do what they are intended to do: protect against pregnancy and STIs.

    Deciding Brand of Condoms

    While male condoms are a great option for reducing STI transmission and pregnancy prevention, it can be overwhelming to sort through all of the brands and options available.  Here is some helpful information:

    • In the United States, all latex and synthetic condoms must conform to standards established by the FDA.  This means that every condom is checked for defects before it is packaged. In addition, the FDA checks samples from each batch by performing airburst and water-leak tests. In the end, no matter what brand or type of condom you decide on, you can be confident the condoms will be effective if you use them consistently and correctly. 
    • Most condoms are made of latex, which is a natural substance tapped from rubber trees. This option has the widest selection of brands and types, it is the least expensive, and it is the most well-researched and regulated type of condom. Latex condoms can only be used with water or silicone based lubricants (no oil, lotion, or petroleum jelly).  Some people are allergic to latex and can consider using polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms instead.
    • Polyisoprene condoms are made from a synthetic material similar to plastic, and polyisoprene male and female condoms are recommended for people who are allergic or sensitive to latex. Clear and color, not as elastic as latex, and slightly wider than the average sized condom, they may be used with water or silicone lubricants. The material also conducts heat well and may create more sensation during sex. Research shows that polyisoprene condoms are as effective in pregnancy and STI prevention. Internal or Female Condoms are non-latex polyisoprene.
    • Lambskin condoms are made of internal lamb membranes and are the oldest type of condom. These condoms are NOT effective in preventing STIs or HIV transmission. These condoms tend to be quite expensive and do not offer protection against infections.
    • Some condoms come without lubrication. They are most useful for oral sex or for people who may have sensitivities to lubricants.  
    • Lubricated condoms contain a water or silicone based lubricant that can minimize friction and reduce condom breakage. You can apply a couple drops of additional lubrication to the inside of the condom before it is rolled on to the penis, and then a few more drops to the outside of the condom.
    • Spermicidal lubricant (non-oxynol-9 or N-9) was originally thought to reduce sperm mobility and thus prevent pregnancy. However, research has found that N-9 can cause irritation and small sores in some people, and therefore may actually facilitate HIV transmission.
    • Most condoms manufactured are one-size-fits all. The tightness may vary slightly from brand to brand, so try a few brands to see what you and your partner prefer. A snug yet comfortable fit decreases the chances that a condom will slip off during intercourse.

    Increasing the Effectiveness of Condoms

    Condoms are most effective when used correctly and consistently! When having vaginal or anal sex, you should always protect yourself by wearing a condom. Sixty-nine percent of MSU students used a condom the last time they had vaginal intercourse. Properly wearing a condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex reduces your chances of contracting an STI or becoming pregnant. Condoms are the most effective non-prescription birth control method to reduce both of these risk factors.

    How to Properly Use External/Male Condoms
    The following steps explain how to properly put on and take off a condom. There can be many misunderstandings about the proper way to use condoms. Understand the benefits of protecting yourself and use the knowledge to your advantage!

    Step One: Check the date on the back of the condom wrapper to make sure it isn't expired. Carefully inspect the package for any damage. Gently tear open the package without using your teeth.

    Step Two: Pinch the reservoir tip and place over the erect penis.

    Step Three: With your other hand, unroll the condom down the length of the shaft, making sure there are no air bubbles.

    Step Four: Have sex!

    Step Five: Always remove the condom while the penis is still erect. Withdraw the penis, turn away from your partner, and gently roll it off the penis. Once removed, dispose of it in the trash, and NEVER use a condom more than once.

    Quick Condom & Lubrication Tips

    When using condoms...

    • Do so all the time
    • Don't be afraid to make putting on a condom fun
    • Throw used condoms away, not down the toilet
    • Use only water or silicone-based lubricants
    • Don't use oil-based products (i.e. lotions, baby oil, Vaseline) as a lubricant; it breaks down the condom
    • Keep firm in your stance on using condoms
    • Communicate with your partner 
    • Contact Health Promotion with any questions or concerns regarding your sexual health!

    Oil-based vs. Water & Silicone-based Lubrication


  • Condom & Testing Negotiations
    Negotiation Tips

    There are many reasons why people try to negotiate the use and it doesn’t matter the reasons, because you and your partner’s health is more important than any excuse.

    Common Excuses & Answers:
    1. Don’t you trust me? Trust isn’t the point; people can have infections without knowing it.
    2. It does not feel as good with a condom. I’ll feel more relaxed. If I am more relaxed, I can make it feel better for you. We could also try a dab of water-based/silicone lube on the inside of the condom.
    3. I’m afraid to ask them about using a condom. Better to be protected from infection or pregnancy than scared to bring it up.
    4. I’m on the pill, you don’t need a condom. I’d like to use it anyway. It will help to protect us from infections we may not know we have.
    5. Putting it on interrupts everything. Not if I help put it on.
    6. I will pull out in time. Women can get pregnant and get STIs from pre-ejaculate.
    7. Just this once! Once is all it takes.

    We've all heard reasons why people choose not to use condoms. If someone tries to negotiate condom use, stay true to yourself and your beliefs. 

    Common negotiation scenario excuses and sample responses:

    1. "I'm afraid to ask my partner to use a condom."

    Reply: Don't be afraid; it's better to have that conversation than to risk pregnancy or an STI.

    2. "It doesn't feel as good when we use a condom."

    Reply: I hear if you put a drop or two of lube on the tip of the penis before you put the condom on, it increases the sensation. Or, we could try out different types of condoms.

    3. "I'm on the pill, you don't need a condom."

    Reply: Yeah, but the pill doesn't prevent the spread of infection and it will protect us from any infections that we may not know we have.

    4. "Don't you trust me?" 

    Reply: Of course I trust you but I would feel more comfortable if we used them. If I'm more comfortable, you'll be more comfortable.

  • Healthy Relationships
  • HIV Testing

    Spring 2022

     The Benefits of Knowing Your Status

    • Knowing your HIV status will help you to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
    • Knowing your HIV status can alleviate the stress and anxiety of thinking that you may be infected but not knowing your actual HIV status. 
    • If you test negative for HIV, you can make decisions and take steps that will help you remain HIV negative.
    • If you test positive for HIV, you can seek medical treatment earlier. Early medical treatment can slow the progress of HIV and delay the onset of AIDS. Pregnant women who test positive for HIV can take action to prevent their baby from becoming infected with HIV

    HIV Risk Reduction Tool (CDC)

    Learn more about how to protect yourself and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA).
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Screening

    STI Screening

    Testing for additional Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) is available in primary care and The Gynecology Clinic located in Olin Health Center.

    Click for more specific information on STI and other testing information.

    STI vs. STD

    You may have asked yourself why we use the term sexually transmitted infection (STI), instead of the term sexually transmitted disease (STD). The term "infection" more accurately describes conditions where sexual partners may not have symptoms and may not be aware that they have an infection, and because many of these infections are actually curable. The term "infection" carries less of a social stigma than the term "disease." STI is used by many leading sexual health organizations.

    For more information on STIs, visit the Sexual Wellness pages at GoAskAlice.  

    Lack of Symptoms

    It is important to know you cannot test for all Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and symptoms are not always present. If left untreated, STIs can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and infertility in women.

    It is important to be regularly tested for STIs if you are sexually active or feel you were at risk for exposure. STIs are either curable or manageable; the key is early detection and treatment.

  • PrEP: Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

    PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a presciption drug that can help lower your risk for HIV by taking it consistantly in companion with the use of internal/external condoms.

    PrEP may benefit you if you are HIV-negative and ANY of the following apply to you:

    • You are a gay/bisexual and...
      • have an HIV-positive partner
      • have multiple partners
      • have a partner with multiple partners or a partner whose HIV status is unknown and you also have anal sex without a condom
      • you inject drugs and share drug needles
    • You are a heterosexual and...
      • have an HIV-positive partner
      • have multiple partners who inject drugs
      • have partners who don't use a condom with bisexual men


    Make an Appointment

    Your Healthcare provider must verify you are healthy enough to take PrEP and agree to prescibe it to you.

    To make an appointment to discuss PrEP with a healthcare provider, you can contact Health Services at 517.353.4660.

    For more information about PrEP please visit:


    Undetectable = Untransmittable (U = U)

    The science is clear. People living with HIV can feel confident that if they have an undetectable viral load and take their medications as prescribed, they cannot pass on HIV to sexual partners


  • Undetectable = Untransmittable

    Undetectable = Untransmittable (U = U)

    The science is clear. People living with HIV can feel confident that if they have an undetectable viral load and take their medications as prescribed, they cannot pass on HIV to sexual partners

    (Undetectable = Untransmittable U=U)

    U=U offers freedom and hope. For many people living with HIV and their partners, U=U opens up social, sexual, and reproductive choices they never thought would be possible. It is an unprecedented opportunity to transform the lives of people with HIV and the field:

  • Contraceptives & Birth Control
    Birth Control

    Birth Control allows us to prevent pregnancy and plan the timing of pregnancy. Picking a birth control method that fits your life is important, and remember, you are the only one who knows what is best for you. There are many other methods of protection other than condoms.

    Choosing the Right Contraceptive Method for You

    Since it can be overwhelming figuring out which method to use and how much it will cost, we recommend taking a look at the following resources: also has helpful information for comparing the effectiveness of birth control methods in English and in Chinese.

    Emergency Contraception

    Emergency Contraception Pills (ECP) also known as the "morning-after pill," works to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse or the failure of a regular method of contraception. It is most effective the sooner you take it, but can be taken up to 72 hours after the incident. 

    How Does ECP Work?

    • ECP will not work if you are already pregnant
    • ECP prevents pregnancy by temporarily stopping the release of an egg from a woman's ovary, fertilization, and/or implantation of fertilized embryo depending on where the woman is at in her menstrual cycle

    When Should I Use ECP?

    • Contraception was not used for sexual intercourse
    • Your method of contraception failed (the condom broke or diaphragm slipped out of place)
    • You missed more than two consecutive days of birth control pills this cycle
    • You were sexually assaulted and currently not using a reliable method of contraception

    Where is ECP available?

    • ECP is available over the counter (no prescription is needed) at any pharmacy if you are 17 years or older with a photo ID.


    Bedsider has great birth control information including exploring and comparing BC options, and common Q & A's. The site also has resources including appointment and BC reminders you can set up for yourself and many other fun features.