Why is sexual health important?
Sexual health is another part of your overall health and wellbeing.
Like any other part of our health, it’s important to be aware of what is happening with your body, your choices and your knowledge about you.
Sexual health includes using tools to prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections (STIs), use consent and open up communication with your sexual partners.
It is an empowering feeling taking charge of your own sexual health, because you know yourself best and having tools like regular sexual health tests means you are in control of your health.
Sex can be taboo and feel uncomfortable to talk about, but talking about your sexual health and sex to partners, friends and health professionals regularly is important in normalising these conversations and awareness of our health.
Not taking care of your sexual health can lead to other poor health issues – so it’s better to get tested regularly, use sexual health tools to take care of yourself and your partners, and be empowered to stay sexy!
Protection - dams, condoms, gloves info:
Condoms – condoms are a protective barrier: they create a barrier that STI’s can not pass through from one person to another person.
How to: open packet, hold tip, place over dildo/penis/toy and use other hand to roll down the shaft.
Including use on toys – hygienic, useful when sharing toys - change condom between holes and between people: e.g. using condom on dildo in vagina, take condom off and dispose and put new one on to use in arse/anus for anal sex in same sex session;
regular/external (common) and internal, usually marketed as “female” condoms – another option available, extra protection with larger size covering opening of vagina/front hole.
Different flavours may be available for condoms, for extra pleasure for the person sucking/licking.
Remember using lubricant, “lube”, decreases friction and can make sex feel more pleasurable.
Dams are a protective barrier: used for oral sex, including oral to vaginal/vulva/front hole, and oral to anus, “rimming”
How to: Lay over vagina/vulva/front hole, or the anus; Hold in place (important!); remember it is single use, put in bin when finished - Only use one dam for one person – don’t re-use or share a dam, including between ”holes”.
Putting lubricant on the body side of person receiving (wearing the dam) makes it feel pleasurable.
Different flavours of dams are available, enjoyable for person licking/sucking
Gloves – are a protective barrier:
Protection when fingering, fisting - creates a barrier that stops transfer of bacteria from hands to genitals.
Remember to still wash your hands before and after sex! And gloves (e.g. latex) are single use, and should not be used between different partners/holes, swap for a fresh pair. If using gloves made from endurable latex/rubber/leather, make sure you wash these properly before and after use.
Use with lubricant for more pleasure and ease.
Buy dams, condoms, lube and more from:
- Thorne Harbour Health - https://thorneharbour.org/sexual-health/safe-sex-products/
- Flora & Fauna - https://www.floraandfauna.com.au/brands/glyde?filters=brand%21glyde
- Max Black - https://maxblack.com.au/collections/essential
https://www.thedramadownunder.info/ (THH website) Info about STIs, testing, clinic locations for STI testing, HIV testing, PrEP and HIV medication prescribers, anonymous “Let Them Know” notification system to notify partners about STIs, and more. MSM target audience but info & resources can be used by anyone, good indication of queer friendly/aware clinics.
Key points about Communication:
- Consent is mutual – everyone taking part must agree and know exactly what they are doing. Consent is freely given (not forced or coerced in any way) and can be withdrawn (change your mind) at any point.
- Talking with your partner about STIs: you can ask your partner if they have any STIs or if they get tested for STIs. Knowing if you have STIs and getting regularly check puts you in control of your health and protects others from transmission. If they do have an STI, don’t react negatively – they are likely on treatment for it and will still be able to have sex in a safe, protected way.
- Sometimes people say they are “clean” meaning they have no STIs. Remember, STIs are not dirty, using language like “clean” and “dirty” is stigmatising. STIs are common and if you have them, it doesn’t mean you did something wrong or that you’re dirty. STIs are usually easily treatable and manageable.
- Important to notify recent sexual partners if you test positive for/have an STI so they know and can get tested or treated themselves
- Contact tracing stops further spread … anonymously notify your partner about STIs is an option - e.g. through https://www.thedramadownunder.info/