Dear Lady P, 

I was so excited to come to Oxford: nights out, new people, and…sex. A far cry from the sheltered suburb of my tiny hometown with just one club to speak of. 

But that’s the issue, I made full use of my first fun term in the big (medium) city; Plush Tuesdays every week – the whole of Michaelmas was Freshers’ Week for me to be honest. Unfortunately, however, my antics are catching up with me and I’m paying for it now. Without going into too much intimate detail, something doesn’t feel quite right – but none of my friends will come with me to a STI clinic for a check-up. Is there even one here in Oxford? 

Also the thing is I’m scared of being judged for being gay if I go to the college nurse but am unsure of where I need to go. 

Lady P, what should I do? 

Yours sincerely, 

Mr C. Lamidia 

P.S. Too scared to Google this… 

Dear, sweet, not-so-innocent fresher, 

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare but fear ye not, it happens to even the most careful of us. The first thing to remember is that there’s nothing to be ashamed of – slut shaming is so 2010s! As long as it’s safe and consensual have as much slap and tickle as your heart desires – I know I did at your age. That being said, condoms can be your best friend, so if you have a lot of gentlemen callers make sure you’re minimising the chance of catching a pesky infection (and feelings). Most colleges have JCR Welfare officers who can pidge you supplies. 

Good for you for keeping an eye on your sexual health, but for the sake of not just you, but anyone else you might be getting frisky with, you should get checked regularly, whether you have symptoms or not. Better safe than sorry, as I always like to say.

There is indeed a sexual health clinic here in Oxford. Conveniently, it is located just off the Cowley Road, a mere 15/20 minutes’ walk from the city centre or accessible by bus or bike. No need to trek out to the hospital, unless you want the exercise, that is. A confession, dear fresher, I’ve had to go there myself on the odd occasion (I suspect Lord P is straying but it’s far too scandalous to discuss). On the plus side though, my dear, I can confirm that the nurses there are not just understanding and confidential, but trained on LGBTQ matters too, so please don’t worry about being gay. They’re open as a drop-in centre every weekday, and you can check the times easily online, with a range of staff to make sure you get seen quickly and safely. That being said, although there’s no shame in getting checked, it’s natural to feel a little bit scared. 

In certain areas of the UK, the NHS will post you home kits so you can carry out the tests yourself and send them back – take a look on the website to find out if you can do this yourself. Although these don’t test for everything, they’re a good way to test for the most common infections from the comfort of your own room. 

Overall though Mr. C, I understand that matters of one’s genitalia it can be rather difficult to discuss and, I admire your courage for sending us in this submission. It is something that is really quite common, especially among your peers and nothing to worry about. 

Well done you for living your best life, and fingers crossed that all will be right as rain in no time. Keep having as much fun this term as you did last term. After all, you’re only at university once, make the most of not necessarily having to be up in time for work bright and early at 9am, unless you have labs or actually attend lectures. Carpe diem and all that, my dear fresher. 

Be safe, be respectful, and be sensible and the dating world is your oyster. 

Live laugh love, 

Lady Pat R. Honising xxxx