Ah, the beauty of college: the ultimate no-judgment zone, the largest population of 18- to 23-year-olds, and the biggest cesspool of oh-so-gross-what-did-I-get-myself-into results of diving into the relationship pool.
I'm using the term relationship very loosely here, because "relationships" in college as we all very well know could range anything from a one-night stand to a "we're getting married" debacle.
Either way, there are multiple mouth-to-mouth lessons to keep in mind all the while.
This one is no shocker. STDs can range from crabs all the way to AIDS. The easiest way to always stay away from this one is to use a condom. One common mistake I've heard of many college students making is not using a condom and using the pull-out method because they're "on birth control so our method is pretty foolproof."
Although the pill may be more effective than a condom when used correctly (same time everyday ladies!) and even the more advanced implants are virtually foolproof, unless you are only intimate with one individual who is only intimate with you and neither of you currently have an STD, condoms can save you the embarrassment of realizing you've caught an STD from your night of fun. Also, it is important to remember with this one that if you are not using ANY form of birth control besides the pull-out method that you are playing a high-stakes game of Russian Roulette. So please, play responsibly.
2. The HiCkEy
Eugh, I just shuttered.
For a beginner, the hickey is often seen as a symbol of pride. It shows that you're doing whatever the hell you want without giving a flying duck, and if the only places you're going during your day are to the club and class, then fine, suck away; however, a decent population of college students are employed outside of the classroom and if showing up to work with a hickey are likely to be utterly mortified. Now if this is not you, then I am quite shocked; however, it is important to keep this in mind for the other individual.
Although you're at risk for catching any type of cold or sickness from an encounter, mono might be one of the absolute worst. Mononucleosis has many heightened signs of the common flu, including but not limited to fatigue, sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes and tonsils, headache, etc.; however unlike other common flu, mono can leave you out-of-order for a month. Something to keep in mind the next time you're determining if they're worth taking the risk or not.
Lice are often found on elementary aged children as they naively share items such as hats, scarfs, brushes, jackets, etc. during school and sleepovers at which they pass the tiny bug. Children are often too naïve to also realize that their extreme itching is being caused by any foreign bug.
But you're also at risk, too.
At our age, we are likely to be more apparent to an extreme increase of itchiness on the scalp and shoulders, which usually will still be itchy even after immediately itching the spot moments ago. Of course, a main precaution to take for this is to mind who you share your brushes and hats with; however, you should also keep in mind whose bed you're sleeping in or whose pillow you're laying your head on. Lice can make their way right from their head to yours just by sharing a bed.
5. "Wait, you guys know each other…"
You've likely seen this look in someone's eyes before. When they're been caught having had relations with someone you know, and even if it was in the past they're likely to still panic. It's up to you if you'd like to take judgement to that person for their previous actions, but it also is something to keep in mind for your own. If you're just doing your own thing for the time being, then you may throw this one to the wayside, but if you think you might be seriously interested in pursuing someone still consider your actions leading up to your relationship.
One wrong move might have them steering clear of permanent relations with you.
6. Last, but not least… all the other consequences
Every move you make has consequences, which is also known as the most basic "cause and effect". I'm all one for not giving a single care about anyone else's opinion of me; however, sometimes things I didn't care about at the time came out with consequences that weren't even in the realm of possibility when taking the action.
I once overheard a story in the union on a too-early Sunday morning from a girl who didn't realize she had hooked up with someone who was in a long-distance, long-term relationship. In fact, she didn't even find out from the guy himself nor from his social media but from his girlfriend's social media. Not only was his girlfriend not on his social media at all nor did the pictures she'd tagged him in show up on his tagged photos, but she only even discovered he'd had a girlfriend from hearts that she had left him on a recent photo he had posted.
She knew that her fling was a player before it had begun, but she had no idea he was a straight cheater, especially after the faithful front he'd put up.
With stories like these, it's hard to know who to trust, but sometimes an act of fun can turn into an unforeseen consequence. As with all questionable steps you take, fully determine all, including off-the-wall unforeseen consequences, even if it takes you training your drunk alter-ego Samantha to learn to do so, so you're not waking up weeks from now with a night-of-fun-turned-regret memory.
And if nothing else remember this: use the damn condom.