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Dating, Sex, and Sexual Misconduct

While abroad, students are encouraged to be especially cognizant of practicing healthy and safe behaviors. Appropriate dating and practicing safe sex is no exception. 

Abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy, protect one’s self from sexually transmitted diseases, protecting oneself from the emotional consequences of engaging in sexual activity, and even be a responsible cultural ambassador.

Students who choose to date or engage in sexual activity while abroad are advised to:

  • Make decisions that are respectful to others and themselves. Students should be aware of cultural norms for dating and sexual behavior in their location. 
  • Be aware of verbal and non-verbal communication that may be considered inappropriate or carry sexual connotations within the host culture, including manner of dress and amount of personal space. 
  • Engage only in consensual sexual activity. Don’t rely on nonverbal cues for consent, such as behavior or manner of dress - make sure to ask clearly! Also, don’t seek consent from someone who is intoxicated since they are not in a position to make an informed decision. This may be considered sexual assault.
  • Take necessary precautions to avoid unwanted pregnancy or disease. Both men and women should carry their own condoms. Students may have difficulty finding a reliable brand while abroad and should bring condoms from the US. UM Health Services provides students with free condoms. 
  • Women who take birth control for whatever reason should bring enough to last the duration of the study abroad period if possible. 
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and taking drugs, as these will limit the ability to make sound decisions and may put students at risk of sexual assault. Alcohol is often used as a weapon by predators to commit sexual assault.