Three Essential Sex Tips for Your First Year of College

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Dr. Kat, America's leading sexologist, offers sage advice for new college students.

College is just ripe with possibilities. Students learn, mature and gain skills that might lead to a lifelong career, as well as explore different identities. Parents are no longer hovering. College kids are suddenly exposed to new people and new ideas, and are tiptoeing into adulthood. It is a thrilling time. Part of the journey of self-exploration involves relationships and, yes, sex. Some people, it seems, are more excited about the sexual experimentation that often comes with college than they are with anything else related to university life.

Dr. Kat offers three valuable tips that can make that first year of college sex satisfying and fulfilling.

Tip 1: Take a Human Sexuality class.

And don’t assume it’s an easy A. “When I have taught these classes, I not only wanted them to be enjoyable but wanted to make sure everyone in the class left with a healthy respect for the subject matter," says Dr. Kat. "This is one of the few classes that not only will help you earn college credit but can profoundly impact your life in a positive way.”

Tip 2: Communicate before and after you act.

The talk is flowing, so are the laughs. And the hormones are firing. A hook-up is about to happen. Before the clothes start coming off, talk about what is about to happen. If the mood is too powerful, at least have a post-coital chat. Dr. Kat suggests asking: "Is this a one-time thing for you? Do you want to continue casually? Are you potentially interested in a relationship?" Questions like these should be at least wrestled with at some point before or after the time spent between the sheets. Ditto goes for the partner. Talking helps eliminate drama (for example, hurt feelings that turn into screaming matches on the quad). Plus, it's great practice later on, when relationships might grow more serious and potentially long-term.

Tip 3: If you do have a one-night stand...

  • Do not allow drugs or alcohol to run your decision-making process.

"If you are going to enjoy a brief sexual encounter, do so with your wits about you," says Dr. Kat.

  • Come packing with condoms.

"Always put a condom in your wallet or purse. Even when you aren’t planning on hooking up. At the very least if a friend needs one, you’ll be able to help them out," says Dr. Kat.

  • People can be honest and get laid.

"Even if you go into this knowing you may never want to see this person again, you can be up-front enough to make sure you hint heavily that you are looking to keep things casual and/or that you are not looking for a relationship. Beyond that, your partner plays at his/her own risk," said Dr. Kat. "Also, if you don’t plan on calling them again or you don’t want to be called, don’t say you will or give out a fake phone number. Either is totally lame. You can let them know, 'hey, this was fun and maybe we’ll see each other again' or that you just don’t give your number out. They may or may not like your response but at least you were straight up with them."

“At the end of the day, playing it safe in college is just like the real world. And the number one piece of advice remains: clear, direct communication,” says Dr. Kat.

About Dr. Kat: Dr. Kat Van Kirk received her doctorate in Human Sexuality/Clinical Sexology from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. She runs the website: and is the resident expert for Adam and Eve ( She also is an associate professor at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco and an adjunct professor at Akamai University in Hilo, Hawaii.

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