Dear Athena and Ares,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for two months. We sleep together but haven't "gone all the way." Sexual health seems so "hush hush," sometimes I wonder: What sexual health issues should students be worried about? Can I get pregnant from "almost" sex?

Sincerely,

Confused

Dear Confused,

Thank you for finally bringing up the problem of "almost" sex to Thresher readers.

You see, I have "almost" sex all the time. The girl who gives me that look in the Fondren library elevator, the Coffeehouse clerk who knows my order, the snarling Cashier's Office lady whose excuses are laden with sexual tension; the truth is I am always having "almost" sex.

In fact, I know many Rice students partake in "almost" sex that take place after almost dates following almost conversation. Just look around campus.

People "almost" do it all the time. In class the other day, a certain young lad was asking a certain young lass about the homework assignment.

As they fumbled and mumbled desperately, trying to communicate, I could tell by their faces that something else was going on. They were having "almost" sex before my very eyes.

Sadly for me, they only "almost" had the decency to get a room, so I had to witness the display in all of its awkward glory.

Distinguished readers, I am sure you can relate, and you know this is not a rare occurrence. Luckily, as far as Thresher editors know, none of these near experiences has resulted in pregnancies, disease or really of anything at all.

So relax, you and your boyfriend "almost" have things to worry about.

— Ares

I'm sorry you feel like sexual health is "hush hush;" it is a really important issue that is prevalent to many students on campus. When you are sexually active, there are many issues you need to consider. It is extremely important that you are comfortable with everything you are doing — no one should be pressuring you into doing anything sexual that you are not comfortable with, including your boyfriend. To be physically and mentally healthy, sex and sexual acts should be comfortable and fun. That being said, it is also important to be safe. Depending on what your definition of "almost" sex is, pregnancy should be a consideration. Condoms, birth control or various other forms of contraception can help you face this issue from a medical stand point, and the Rice Student Health Office can help you navigate the often overwhelming options. The Student Health Office can be contacted at (713) 348-4966 during business hours. However, medical and physical health is not the only issue at hand here. If you ever feel like you need to talk to someone because you're uncomfortable with any part of your romantic relationship, sexual or otherwise, you can contact the Wellness Center at (713) 348-5194 and the Rice Counseling Center at (713) 348-4867 for advice. Open communication between the two of you can help to solve a lot of problems in the future and will make for a much better relationship, sexually and otherwise.

— Athena

 "Dear Athena and Ares" is an advice column written twice a month, authored by two Thresher editorial staff members. Readers can email their letters to AskTheThresher@gmail.com or submit their questions through formspring at AskTheThresher.