Dating on campus of Oklahoma University. (Photo by A. Y. Owen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Joining college soon? Read on to know some things to keep in mind about dating and sex as you embark on a new journey.

Not everybody is into it

It is a myth that everybody in college is dating and has sexual partners. While everyone does talk a lot about men, women, and sex in college, not everyone is into relationships. There is no need to feel weird or bad about it. In fact, some reports reveal that only around 32% of college students have had more than one sexual partner in the last year and 1 out of 4 students are virgins. College students have a lot more on their mind than just relationships or women and sex.

Get yourself tested

For students who are sexually active, it is important to get tested at least once a year for HIV or any other sexually transmitted diseases. If not treated early, STDs can lead to a host of other health ailments including infertility, chronic pain, and risk of some cancers. Keep in mind, young people make up for the largest number of HIV affected in the country. Apart from abstinence, condoms and birth control pills are good protection against STDs. It is also important to have a piece of good knowledge on sex before starting college.

Don’t have sex unless you want to

Whether you have never had sex before or whether you have had it several times, you should never have to sleep with anyone unless you want to. Anyone who forces you into having sex is not someone you would want to spend your time with. Also, avoid having sex with someone just because you feel that they will leave you if you don’t.

Keep it safe

Always practice safe sex. Even if you are on the pill, make sure to use a condom. It will also protect you from other sexually transmitted diseases.

Just having sex with someone will not make them fall for you

While this may be the case in romantic movies where the characters realize their love for each other after they sleep together, this may not work in real life. If your partner is not emotionally and romantically attracted to you, having sex will not change that.

Contact your campus health center

While your friends can be great sources of advice, it is good to talk to a professional for knowledge on sex before starting college. Find out the campus health center and inform yourself about the services it provides. Most centers offer low cost or free birth control measures. You can also know about the birth control options available for you before you decide to have sex from the experts at the health center. Also, find out if there is a Plan B – Birth control measure that can be adopted after unprotected sex.

Set your boundaries

Be clear about the sexual circumstances or acts that you are not at ease with. It becomes easier to communicate with your partner your boundaries when you are sure about them. Think about your desires and ask your partner about theirs, and if it falls in line with your boundaries, give in! Also, you are taking so many risks to have sex – make sure it’s fun!

Not having a romantic relationship with anyone during college is absolutely fine. Having one is great too though. It is totally up to what you want and when. If you wish to have safe, consensual sex all through your college life, have it after acquiring knowledge on sex before starting college. But also keep in mind; you can experience full college life without ever needing to indulge in it. It is worth spending some time to find that special person. There is no need to rush into having sex if you are not prepared.