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Info Pages

Sexual Health and Staying Safe

Sexual Health and Staying Safe

Sexual health is about having a healthy sense of your sexuality, having healthy sexual and reproductive organs, and feeling good about your sexuality and sexual experiences. It can be hard to feel you have good sexual health when society doesn’t seem to have a positive and respectful approach to your sexuality and when laws, social norms and/or cultures prevent all of our sexual rights from being respected, protected and fulfilled. Unfortunately we can’t snap our fingers and change this (though there’s plenty you can do in your community and activism to promote this change). But this makes it even more important for us to maintain our sexual health to the best of our ability.

 

Consent 

Sexual consent is an important part in making sure that you and your partner/s arewilling, happy and informed. Non-consensual sexual activities are against the law. The age of consent in Western Australia is 16, regardless of your sexuality or gender identity. For more information about non-consensual sex, you can check out the youth Sexual Assault Resource Centre here.

 

Safe Sex

An important part of maintaining your sexual health is having safe sex. Safe sex is using condoms and water-based lubricants as well as a range of other things (eg. latex dams and gloves) you can do during sex to help reduce the risk of catching or passing on STIs or HIV.

  • Safer sex can help:

  • Prevent HIV

  • Prevent pregnancy

  • Prevent STIS

  • Sexual Health Testing

 

Everyone who’s sexually active needs to have regular sexual health tests. To find out about sexual health testing go to the Sexual Health Quarters Website (http://shq.org.au/) or M Clinic website (http://www.mclinic.org.au/) for info about the WA AIDS Council’s testing services.

 

If you’re in a trusting, monogamous relationship and want to have unprotected sex, make sure you and your partner have been tested and given the ‘all clear’ for STIs and have had a sexual health check up to know for sure if you are at risk of transmitting STIs.

 

Visit the Safe Sex No Regrets website www.safesexnoregrets.com.au for heaps of great info on keeping you and your sexual partners safe from STIs and BBVs (blood borne viruses, for example hepatitis and HIV). Also see the Sexual Health Quarters (http://shq.org.au/) website for more info on sexuality and sexual health.

 

The following info & resources may also be interesting and useful for you to check out;

The WA AIDS Council’s website (www.waaids.com)for info about their services such as sexual health testing, LGBTIQQ friendly counselling, sexual health education & trainings, HIV/AIDS Facts talks, and Peer Support services for men who have sex with men.

 

Safer sex information for same-gender attracted people http://www.acon.org.au/what-we-are-here-for/sexual-health/

 

LaTrobe University’s publications on the LGBTI community, the trans community and young people .

 

“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”

 

Source: World Health Organisation’s draft working definition

 

Relationships

Relationships can be in all forms, from romantic and/or sexual relationships to friendships and family relationships. Relationships can have a huge impact on us and our lives. They can impact our lives in all different ways; good, bad and confusing.

 

The best way to make sure you know what you want in a relationship is to get to know yourself first. Spend time thinking about what you want in life (right now and/or in the future) and from the people in your life. It’s important to respect yourself and expect the people you have relationships with to respect you. Respecting and understanding yourself will help you to get respect and understanding in your relationships.

 

Some people feel that friendship, closeness and love are the most important things they get out of an intimate relationship. Others feel that sex is most important.

 

Regardless of the type of relationship, it’s best to be open and honest with the people you have relationships with so you know what you want and expect from each other. Open and honest communication is an important part of a relationship. The most important thing is that you allfeel comfortable, stay safe and enjoy yourselves!

 

Relationship Tips
  • Talk to each other – just because you have a relationship, it doesn’t mean you automatically communicate well or can read your partners/ friends/ family member’s mind, or that they can read yours. Listen to each other and communicate your needs and wants.

  • Spend time together – make your relationship a priority and make time for each other.

  • Work on feeling good about yourself – this will help the way you feel about your relationships.

  • Everyone is different – accept and value differences in others, including your partners/friends/family member.

  • Be flexible – let your relationship grow and adapt with you as you change.

  • Make plans – set goals for your relationship and plan for your future when you are all ready.

  • Be supportive – try not to judge, criticise or blame each other; we are all human. Support your partners/friends/family member to be their best.

  • Learn from arguments – accept that arguments will happen and try to resolve them with respect. You’ll usually be able to learn something about each other, yourself and/or your relationship.

  • Be sexually considerate (in sexual relationships)– accept that individuals have different sex drives and feelings about sex. Remember that sustaining a healthy and happy sex life requires negotiation and compromise.

  • Be attentive – demonstrate your commitment to the relationship and think of how your partners/friends/family membersare feeling.

  • Enjoy yourself – have fun and celebrate your life together. Spoil each other and show them how you feel about them.

  • It’s better to talk it out early if you are having difficulties, rather than waiting for the situation to get worse. Sometimes how we feel doesn’t have to make sense, or is contradictory, but we need to get it off our chest and be honest about it anyway.

 

For more info on relationships go to;