1) BE clear and confident about your commitments
The intellectual and social life at college will naturally challenge you to defend your values and commitments, especially on matters of sexuality. Educate yourself so you know why you believe what you do and how to communicate those reasons to professors, classmates, and friends. They will respect you for knowing your standards and sticking to them.
2) DON’T be short-sighted
You select your courses, internships, and club activities with your professional aspirations and other goals in mind. Be similarly intentional and thoughtful about your relationship habits in college. If you aspire to a happy marriage someday, realize that it doesn’t just fall into place, and that the habits promoted by the hookup culture are antithetical to those that make a faithful and loving marriage possible.
3) FIND a community that helps you be your best
We all need sound advice and support as we strive to live out our commitment to sexual integrity. Seek out communities – such as campus ministries and LFN groups – that will encourage you in your beliefs and help you be at your best. These communities offer mentors and friends who can help answer questions as they come up and offer guidance about your relationships.
4) KEEP good people close to you and let them hold you accountable
It is fine and good to have many different types of friends, both those who share a commitment to sexual integrity and those who don’t. But realize that our friends shape us for the better or for the worse. Keep close to you at least a few friends who share your values, shape you for the better, and who can hold you accountable for sticking to your commitments.
5) WAIT for the “Freshman Fever” to settle
Don’t be surprised if many of your classmates test out the campus party scene and scope each other out fall of freshman year. Just wait for this “freshman fever” to settle, and be sure to ground yourself with a good group of friends before pursuing a relationship.
6) KNOW yourself and mind your environment
Know yourself well enough to know what environments or situations push the boundaries of your commitments. Being isolated with a significant other, especially at night, makes it easy for intimacy to escalate – quickly. Leaving or avoiding provocative situations isn’t prudish and cowardly. It’s smart.
7) DON’T drink, or do so responsibly and in responsible company
Alcohol impairs judgment and often facilitates disrespectful and risky sexual behavior on college campuses. If you drink at all, do so in moderation and with friends who also drink responsibly and share your values. Don’t let alcohol be an excuse for lowering your standards.
8) DON’T ever leave your friends in “sticky” situations
Sexual assault and date rape are serious problems. The hookup culture exacerbates and feeds this problem by fostering risky behaviors and casual attitudes toward sex. Help your friends make safe decisions and don’t leave them in vulnerable situations, especially if their judgment is impaired.
9) REALIZE that what we see, matters.
After what may be an initial shock, you may find yourself becoming desensitized to the pornography in the dorms and the provocative dress and behavior of classmates. But what we see does matter. Pornography is incompatible with a healthy respect between the sexes, and has been linked to many individual and social harms. Avoid it, and raise the bar around you by presenting yourself in a way that is naturally attractive and that demands respect.
10) DON’T buy into the myth that “safe” sex is completely safe
Sexual health programming at college often does little more than push condom use and provide crude instruction in sexually provocative and intimate behaviors. It rarely warns about the psychological, emotional, and social risks of non-marital and casual sex, and normalizes sexually risky behaviors. Don’t be fooled. This is not sexual health.