Are You Sexcessful
College is often seen as a time to gain knowledge and skills that lead to success in many areas of life.While many students focus on finding the keys to academic success, college can be a time to learn more about sexual wellness, which includes discovering the secret to sexcess.
What is sexcess and why is it important?
Sexcess is the balance between sexual happiness and success, and it can mean different things to different people. Sexcess is important for enjoying a physically and emotionally safe, pleasurable and fulfilling experience with another person. Whether you choose to abstain or to be sexually active, sexcess is about creating an environment of respect for yourself and others.
What is the secret to sexcess?
The secret to sexcess is communication. You have the right to choose if and how you express your sexuality, and you also have the responsibility to respect the rights and choices of others. Being sexcessful means talking openly with your potential partner(s). Healthy sexual communication means obtaining active and affirmative consent* as well as discussing individual desires and boundaries for the situation with your partner(s). In the process of becoming sexcessful, keep in mind that you have the right to speak up both before and during any sexual activity. It’s also awesome to check in with your partner(s) frequently to make sure you’re still on the same page.
*Consent is required by criminal law and by the University of California Standards of Conduct for Students. Sexual conduct without consent, or after consent has been revoked, is sexual assault.
What are some tips for sexcessful communication?
- Listen actively (check your understanding and ask for clarification)
- Speak assertively (try not to be passive or aggressive)
- Consider your partner’s thoughts and feelings to be as important as yours
- Participate equally in decision-making processes
What are some important topics for sexcessful communication?
- Consent: The first step to sexcessful communication is consent. What is consent, exactly? Consent is the process of sexual decision-making in which each partner freely, knowingly and enthusiastically communicates a clear desire to participate in a specific sexual activity. Consensual sex can occur when one person asks to initiate a certain sexual activity, and the other responds with a free, knowing and enthusiastic “yes.” By free, we mean that the “yes” is delivered without the presence of threat or coercion. Knowing refers to an awareness and understanding of the sexual activity. One must also express the “yes” with enthusiasm in order to demonstrate that the person is actively excited to engage in the sexual activity. Consent is not “I don’t know,” “Not now” or silence. These responses do not mean “yes,” and a “yes” for one activity does not mean “yes” for another activity. Consent can also be revoked at anytime, so if you’re unsure, the simplest way to know if you have consent is to ask. Remember, consent is sexy.
- Likes and Dislikes: Another fundamental aspect of healthy sexual communication is the ability to talk openly and honestly about your desires and boundaries. In order to communicate sexcessfully, it is important to know your own preferences, curiosities and limits. People are turned on not only by physical features and abilities but also by personality characteristics. Take some time to reflect what your specific turn-ons and turn-offs are and be sure to communicate them to your partner(s). It’s completely normal for desires and boundaries to change, so speak up if you change your mind.
- Safer Sex: Safer sex is the best sex! It is important to talk about your preferred method of protection. Both internal and external condoms are effective at reducing the risk of transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and preventing pregnancy when used correctly. Not all birth control methods (IUD, pill, patch, withdrawal, shot, etc.) protect against STI transmission, so you may want to consider using a barrier method (condom, dental dam) in addition to the birth control you’re using. You and your partner(s) may want to consider getting tested for STIs before becoming sexually active with each other. Many STIs have no symptoms, which means they can be transmitted without anyone knowing.
Safer Sex Tip: Condom-safe lubricant not only reduces condom breakage but can increase sexual pleasure. Just add a couple drops inside and on the condom.
Lastly, safer sex also includes feeling emotionally safe, so it’s important to talk openly and honestly about expectations and sexual/relationship desires and history.
For more information and tips about establishing sexcessful communication, see our “How to Be Sexcessful” booklet at https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/sexcessful.
How can I celebrate sexcess?
To help promote the sexcess of UC Davis students, our Health Education and Promotion (HEP) team is hosting the Are You Sexcessful? Campaign until Sunday, February 14. We want to know how UC Davis students define healthy sexual communication. Join the conversation today!
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