As you get settled into life at uni, you might notice that your relationships with those around you begin to change. There is a chance that your friends from school drift from your inner circle to becoming more like acquaintances, and that your family dynamic shifts slightly now that you are more independent. This is all perfectly normal, and our relationships with those around us are bound to change as we go through life.
One of the key aspects of any successful relationship – with family, friends or a romantic partner – is communication. Frustrated with family checking in all the time to make sure you’re eating well? Talk to them. Feeling left out of a friendship group because you can’t always meet up? Talk to them. Wondering where your relationship with your significant other is going next? Talk to them!
Everyone will have different experiences and views about sex, and there are no prerequisites for sexual relationships. You may want to wait until you’re married or in a civil partnership to have sex, or to have sex with a partner before making that commitment. You might not even want to have sex at all, and that’s fine too!
For Christians, faith is an important aspect of a person’s identity. This faith is lived out in our relationships with others, and we try to honour one another because we are all part of God’s creation. What role does your faith play in your decision making? Considering entering a sexual relationship with someone is a big decision, so take time to think things through.
It’s okay to have whatever type of sexual relationship you choose, so long as everybody involved is happy, healthy, consenting and comfortable with the arrangements you make. Remember, nobody has the right to ask you to do something you do not feel comfortable doing and you should never feel pressured into doing something which you do not want to do.
Sexuality is more than the act of having sex with someone. It’s about who you are, and who you’re attracted to and want to have a relationship with. Sometimes these things can be difficult to figure out, and it’s OK to have questions!
As it’s such an important part of your life, it’s a good idea to be familiar and comfortable with your sexuality. Some people find it easy to identify their sexuality and feel comfortable with it, but that’s not the case for everyone. If you’re uncertain or unhappy about your sexuality, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
If you can’t talk to your family or friends about your sexuality, your GP, university or students’ union should be able to put you in touch with a counsellor. You can also find lots of support online, for example www.inclusive-church.org and www.onebodyonefaith.org.uk.
The NHS Live Well website has lots of useful information about sex and relationships – www.nhs.uk/live-well
Lisa is a Catholic and likes the colour purple, sunshine and being by the sea. She works for the Student Christian Movement.