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Choice – A Necessity in Contraception



Choice is something everyone should have the right to when it comes to making decisions about one’s sexual health and wellness, including contraception.  Choice can be defined as the following:

  • an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.
  • the right or ability to make, or possibility of making, such a selection.
  • a range of possibilities from which one or more may be selected
  • a course of action, thing, or person that is selected or decided upon.


September 26 is World Contraception Day and the theme for this year is “The Power of Options”. It is absolutely crucial to be empowered when it comes to one’s sexual health. And empowerment comes through choice, education and knowledge. 


Education is Key


Education is a key component of empowerment.  It is only through awareness and knowledge that one can make an informed decision regarding the best options for one’s health.  When you have access to correct, informative and useful information, then you can make decisions based on how best to fill your needs.  This also means you must always make sure that the sources you are accessing are credible. Information is available from health practitioners, clinics, and sexual wellness facilities.


Types of Contraceptives


Contraceptives are available in many different formats, offering options based on factors such as lifestyle, health considerations, availability, future plans, and, ultimately, preference.  These include different hormonal options, IUDs, assorted barrier methods, and surgical options to name a few.   The good news is that there are options to choose from that best fit one’s lifestyle. Even within each group of contraceptives there are choices available, allowing one to further tailor their contraceptive needs.  One very important thing to remember is that not all contraceptives aid in the prevention of STIs. Always make sure to use a condom or dam (oral barrier) when engaging in penetrative or oral sex.


The Power of Options


The theme of 2023’s World Contraception Day is The Power of Options.  This theme is based on more than just the varied contraceptive options. It also focuses on the power those options allow to be formative in choosing one’s life path. These could include family planning, child spacing, increased reproductive health, gender equality and continuing to aid in open communication around sexual wellness.  When there are options and choices that allow individuals to choose what works best for them, then the odds of healthy practices being implemented rise.  In order for something to work, it needs to work for the individual. Offering choices in contraception simply allow everyone to choose what will work best for them.

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Sex & Aging

Sex and Aging!


Sex through all stages of life


Yes – your grandparents are probably still having sex!  As are your parents.  And the truth is, age does not have to stop anyone from enjoying having sex.  Our sexual health is an important part of our lives regardless of age.  But the natural aging process does impact our physiological make up, which then can impact some aspects of sexual activity.


How does aging impact sexual health?


The many physical changes that aging can bring may impact one’s sexual activity. This can include everything from age related illness, lower libidos, hormonal changes, muscle loss/weakness, to the many side effects of medications.  But there are ways to navigate these changes to continue to have an active and healthy sex life into one’s later years. 


The reality is that as we age our bodies change. This is true of our reproductive organs and hormones as well. These changes may bring about new obstacles that may include the following:


  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased testosterone or estrogen levels
  • Changes in the structure of the vagina
  • Reduced production of vaginal lubrication
  • Mental health concerns regarding body image related to aging
  • Decreased libido due to hormonal changes
  • Sleep issues that could impact sexual desire

Many of these concerns can be dealt with through speaking with your health practitioner for assistance. There are medications, creams and naturopathic options to help alleviate many age-related sexual health concerns. 


Communication is Key


As with so many things in our lives, communication is the key!  As we deal with the many changes aging brings into our lives, we need to maintain open discussions with our partners.  This will allow both parties the opportunity to express their changing needs, if any, that are the result of age-related changes.


It may be as simple as more intimacy before any sexual activity, using lubricant, discussing any shame related to body changes or sexual activity so everyone can move forward within a trust-filled relationship, or simply acknowledging that things are different.  But different does not have to mean bad. Different can be exciting and fun as you find new ways to express your sexual lives together.


Safer Sex Practices are for All Ages!


The Mayo Clinic states that an ongoing interest in sex, as well as satisfaction with the frequency and quality of sexual activity, is positively associated with health in later life.  Older adults can continue to enjoy an active sex life.  This can be with a long-term partner or, due to divorce or the death of a spouse, with new partners.  With this in mind, sexual activity at any age requires one to continue to implement safer sex practices to aid in the prevention of STIs. This includes the use of condoms, oral barriers (dams) and lubricants.  STIs can be transmitted at any age!


Many older adults view prevention from a pregnancy point of view only.  This results in a false belief that one does not need to use prevention.  This becomes apparent when we see that overall STIs are on the rise in North America, with infections among adults age 65 and older more than doubled between 2007 and 2017.  Regardless of one’s age, safer sex practices need to be incorporated so that one can stay sexually healthy while having a viable and healthy sex life.

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Condoms Colorful History

Condoms: Colorful & Controversial




Condoms have had a very colorful and sometimes controversial history, especially in North America.  Condoms, in varying forms, and other means of birth control have been around for centuries.  Early contraceptives were made from materials on hand ranging from animal dung, horns, animal intestines, to seaweed.  But they did not come neatly packaged in paper or foils.  That only really began in the late 1830s with the invention of vulcanized rubber and the massive impact it had on the condom industry.


Mass Production of Condoms


The general perception of the 1800’s Victorian Era is not usually one of open sexuality or ease of access to contraceptives.  But it actually was!


“Condom production ballooned after 1839, when Charles Goodyear’s method of rubber vulcanization kick-started modern latex technologies in the United States. By 1870, condoms were available through almost any outlet you can imagine–drug suppliers, doctors, pharmacies, dry-goods retailers and mail-order houses. It may seem surprising today, but sexual products were openly sold and distributed during much of the 19th century.”


So, condoms were everywhere and easy to access. Until the hammer came down in the form of Comstock’s Act.


Comstock’s Act


Anthony Comstock began a huge reform movement that actually was passed by the US Congress as a Law.  Comstock’s Act was passed in 1873 after Comstock equated contraception to a free license to partake in sexual shenanigans and infidelity.  This made the sale, advertising, or mailing of any contraceptive illegal. It could actually result in prison time!  


Although it impacted the explicit sale of condoms, it most certainly did not stop them.  Folks, being resilient and resourceful as always, just found a loophole to market them different. And part of this new approach was for the prevention of infections.


Prevention vs Contraception


The advent of science and the understanding of germs, transmission included, was applied to condoms as a way to market them.  Suddenly they could offer a product “for safety” and not even mention contraception.   This concept of infection prevention was only beginning to be understood.  The advent of World War I brought it home…. literally.  STIs, especially gonorrhea and syphilis, were rampant in the troops.  The fight against STIs was on, but still as a reaction to the issue not as prevention.  The concept of disease prevention would still need some more time.




Condoms began to be viewed as a necessary medical device to help combat and prevent STIs.  This saw the rise of messaging on condom packaging with references to safety during sex.  Condom messaging was not about pleasure and fun, but about being safer to help reduce the possibility of contracting a Venereal Disease.


But it still wasn’t until 1937 that the FDA instituted a national standard for testing of condoms to make sure they met safety guidelines.  And then condoms and the advertising of their merits were fully used as North America entered World War II.  Access to condoms was military de rigueur.  The messaging was to protect your country and yourself.  Condoms advertised their function to the user with the names and messages on the packaging. 


Today condoms are still an important medical device for safer sex practices.  But they are now also seen as something that can be for pleasure as well.  They are available for use as contraceptives, help in preventing or reducing the transmission of infections, and for pleasure or fun. Due to the myriad of options available, condoms can be both fun and functional.  Condoms have had an interesting and controversial history, one that continues to evolve over time.

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STIs and Testing

STIs and Testing


How to Begin the Testing Path


We have all heard how testing is an important component of our Sexual Health, but often times we do not know where to get tested.  Testing is available in many places within North America. You can begin by asking your doctor, going to a clinic or public health facility for guidance. Testing is free at many facilities including family doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics, sexual health clinics, and other public health units and community centres. 


What Types of Testing Do I Need?


The type of test needed is directly dependent upon what you are being tested for.  There are a few different types of STI Test procedures; most of them are simple and easy to have done.

  • Blood tests are done for the following: hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis and herpes (HSV).
  • Urine tests or genital swabs can be done for the following: gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis.
  • Oral swabs can be done for the following: gonorrhea, chlamydia, HSV and HPV.
  • Anal swabs can be done for the following: anal chlamydia, gonorrhea and HPV.
  • Lesions swabs can be done for the following: HSV, HPV and syphilis.

It is important to get tested if having multiple sexual partners, the condom or dam breaks or slips, you are not sure of the status of your partner, at an annual checkup, if showing symptoms or know of recent exposure, and/or as part of your routine ongoing health care.


The bottom line is that folks of all genders and sexual orientations should be tested once a year, after unprotected sex, or in between new partners — whichever comes first!


Exposure to different STIs also come with different timelines for testing.  There are different incubation periods for the different STIs.  This incubation period means the time between infection and the appearance of symptoms.  This ranges between a couple of days to a few months. This is something to discuss with your healthcare provider to get specific answers about in order to test within the appropriate time to avoid false negative results.


How Long Before I Get Results?


Most of the test results are completed between 2-5 days.  But never assume you are negative if you do not hear back from your test provider. Always call and confirm the results before engaging in sexual activities.  Tests are also available for use within the privacy of your home.  These ones are generally something that requires payment.  The in-home testing is an alternative for folks who are uncomfortable going to a healthcare provider for testing. 


Results and Next Steps


Once you have received your results, the next steps depend upon what they were.  If you are positive, then there are steps that need to be taken. These are dependent upon the diagnosis, and often times involve medication, sharing your diagnosis with past sexual partners and/or a host of treatment options to help manage symptoms and future outbreaks.  The reality is that 1 in 2 people will experience an STI within their lifetime.  With that representing 50% of the population, we need to continue to remove the stigma from STIs, create awareness about them and the prevention options available, make testing easily accessible and known, and work together to lessen the epidemic proportions of STIs worldwide.

Together we can make a difference!

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Safer Sex Can Still be Fun!

Safer Sex Can Be Fun!


Sometimes we may feel that safety is all about restricting what we view as our enjoyment of some things.  But when it comes to sexual activities, that is absolutely not the case!   There are many different products that can assist in everyone having safer sex that can also be fun.  The products for safer sex have expanded over the years to incorporate many unique aspects that help to meet many different individual needs.


What Is Safer Sex?


Safer sex is quite simply anything we do to help lower the risk of transmission of infection during sexual activities for all participants.   The terminology is SAFER because nothing is 100% due to some extenuating circumstances, a big one being user error.  So, if you are going to engage in any sexual activities make sure you use products that help keep it safer and could also make it more fun.   This can include latex or polyisoprene condoms, latex or polyisoprene dams, or nitrile female condoms. All of these acts as a barrier to help prevent the exchange of bodily fluids that may cause an infection.  And to reduce usage issues, always read the instructions.


Practicing Safer Sex


If engaging in sexual activities, there are things to do to help practice safer sex:


  • Use a condom for vaginal or anal sex
  • Use a dam for oral/vaginal or oral/anal sex
  • Mutual Masturbation
  • Use a condom with sex toys
  • Use a new condom/dam every time you switch sexual activities
  • Do not re-use a condom or dam
  • Use lubricants with condoms and dams
  • Read the instructions for use

Learning to implement the usage of condoms and dams into foreplay can also help increase pleasure as well as safety. 


Condom Styles


There truly is a condom style to meet everyone’s needs!  Condoms come in many options, a few of which are the following:


  • Straight walled
  • Lubricated or Non-lubricated
  • Colored
  • Flavored
  • Ribbed & Studded
  • Glow in the Dark
  • Tattooed
  • Super Sensitive
  • Extra Large
  • Hyper Thin
  • Snugger Fit
  • Pleasure Shaped
  • Tingling Condoms
  • Edible Condoms

Most of today’s condoms are meant to be used for safer sex purposes but there are some that are strictly for enjoyment and are not a form of protection.  Make sure you know what you are using before you engage in any sexual activity.  Also make sure your condoms and dams are FDA approved.  Always purchase or obtain your condoms and dams from credible suppliers including licensed Health Distributors, Public Health, your doctor, and pharmacies.


Safer Sex can be still be fun.  Actually, perhaps more fun when you know you are taking precautions to help reduce your risks of an unintended pregnancy and the transmission of STIs.

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STIs: Myths & Misconceptions

STIs: Myths & Misconceptions


Conversations concerning sex and sexual wellness are unfortunately still not as open as they need to be. Many people are uncomfortable discussing sexuality, sexual wellness, and, ultimately then, sexual health.  This includes STIs, which continue to be surrounded with a myriad of myths and misconceptions.  The internet, although oft times a helpful tool, can also be a breeding ground of misinformation.  It is important to always check that your sources are reliable when using the internet. And if not sure, then go speak with a healthcare provider for information.


STIs & the Myths that Need Debunking


As we have mentioned before, The World Health Organization estimates over 1 million STIs are acquired DAILY!  We can help reduce those numbers with factual and helpful methods of prevention – the biggest being awareness and education.   The Medical News Today article “Medical Myths: Sexual Health” helps debunk some of the myths that have circulated for years.




MYTH: If I am taking the Pill, I cannot get an STI.  

FACT: Oral contraceptives prevent pregnancies. They cannot prevent an STI.  You need to still use a condom or dam when taking the Pill.

MYTH: Pulling out or Withdrawal reduces my chance of getting an STI.

FACT:  Again, anytime there is genital contact a condom or dam is required. 

MYTH: Two condoms are safer than one. 

FACT:  Never use more than one condom at a time as the friction of them rubbing together can actually cause them to tear.

MYTH: I can catch an STI from a public toilet seat.

FACT: STIs are transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal, oral sex, genital contact, sharing of sex toys and other sexual activity.  They are not transmittable via a toilet seat.

MYTH: You can’t get rid of an STI. 

FACT: Some STIs are curable and others are treatable. Get tested if you show symptoms, have had unprotected sex, have a new partner, or as a regular part of your overall health.

MYTH: I will only get an STI if I have penetrative sex.

FACT: Oral sex or sharing of sex toys, along with sharing needles, can also easily transmit an STI.

MYTH: I don’t have any symptoms so I am fine.

FACT: Many STIs are asymptomatic, meaning you won’t show symptoms or they won’t appear for awhile. This means you may be spreading it unknowingly.  Get tested to ensure you are STI free.




Regular Testing is one of the important ways to ensure you are not sharing an STI unknowingly.  Testing is available online for discreet at home testing, through Public Health organizations and clinics, and your family doctor.  

Getting tested annually is a great place to start but further testing is appropriate and wise with the following:


  • If you have a new sexual partner.
  • If you have noticed any discharge, rashes or other physical changes in your body.
  • If you or your partner are sexually active with other partners.
  • If you had sex with someone and did not use a condom or other prevention methods.
  • If you had sex with a condom and the condom broke


How testing is done and how long it takes for results depends upon the type of STI.  Your health care provider can give you more details if needed.


Know your Sexual Health status and practice having safer sex. Knowledge can help keep you safer! There are so many options to help keep sex safer while still having fun. 

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Practice Safer Sex with Your Sex Toys

Many people use sex toys as part of their sexual practices. Sex toys are readily available online and in assorted stores. They can be used by an individual or by partners during sexual activity.  Sex Toys are a huge industry, an industry focused on intimacy and pleasure. Yet there are absolutely no regulations surrounding the sex toy industry!  So how does one practice safer sex when using sex toys????



Know What You Are Putting in Your Body?


Sex Toys are made from many different materials, often assorted types of plastic, silicone, wood, ceramics and even glass. Many people are cognizant of not purchasing plastics containing harmful chemicals. Water bottles and food storage containers advertise BPA free. Phthalates have also been recognized as something to avoid in plastics.  Both of these chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors and can create havoc with our endocrine or hormonal systems.  These are the very systems that control our sexual development and functions.


So, if we are careful not to expose ourselves to these chemicals in our food containers, cosmetics, and other daily use items, are we ensuring that the sex toys we insert into our bodies are also free of them? Investigating your toys before using them aids in your overall health and wellness.  Always know what you are putting into your body – any part of your body!


Use a Condom


Using a condom, especially when sharing sex toys, simply makes sense - because shared sex toys can share more than pleasure!  A shared toy can be a means of transmission of an STI or other infections. Reduce the chances by using a condom. And when switching from anal to vaginal penetration with a toy, always use a new condom for your toys.


Using a condom even with your own personal toys can be wise to avoid any external contaminants from entering your body. These can come from where the toys are stored, how they are handled, or simply their chemical make up.


Wash and Dry Your Toys


Yep……every single time you use them!  Washing your sex toys should be done after each use OR between usage when switching from anal to vaginal if not able to use a condom. Not all sex toys are phallic shaped for easy condom application. Washing it before switching is imperative. Another option is to have more than one of the same toys, using one for anal and one for vaginal so you can wait until after sexual activity to wash them.


Keeping your toys clean will help reduce transmission of many different infections, from UTIs (urinary tract infections) to STIs. Most toys will contain cleaning instructions, but you are usually pretty safe with good old soap and water.  And always make sure it is dry before putting away to prevent any mold or other issues.


Use the Proper Lubricant


Lubricant is a sex toy’s friend!  Lubricant can help increase pleasure and safety by reducing the possibility of tears to sensitive tissues due to dryness.  So, is any lube ok to use with your sex toys??? NO!  This is where it is important to know the composition of your toys. DO NOT use silicone lube on silicone toys.  The lube will adhere to the toys and begin to damage the toys. You can use silicone lube on other materials such as non-silicone plastics, ceramic, glass and wood.  Water based lubes are the best option for toys as they will not damage or interact with the toy’s chemical make-up.  And do not use petroleum oils or creams as a sexual lubricant either.  If you are not sure what material your toy is, a water-based lube is your best bet!


The Last Word


Without any regulations surrounding sex toys and their components, everyone using them must make smart choices for one’s safety and, therefore, one’s utmost pleasure.  Know as much as you can about what you are putting into your body – whether it is food, cosmetics applied to one’s skin, chemicals in one’s everyday life and, yes, even one’s sex toys. Safer Sex needs to be practiced in all of one’s sexual activities.

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The History of Rubber

The History of Rubber


Rubbers……. just one of the many slang words for condoms.  Some we may question where they come from but this one is obvious!  Most of the world’s condoms are made with latex rubber.  How does a runny sap like liquid become a condom?  The story is centuries old and filled with unique, and sometimes accidental, discoveries.


Where Does Rubber Come From?


Natural Latex rubber is from the milky white liquid that comes from over 200 plant species around the world including the common dandelion.  But it would take a lot of dandelions to harvest enough latex to be usable. The bulk of the world’s natural latex comes from the Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis).  Latex is a plant’s defense system against injury and disease.  If damaged, a plant oozes the latex liquid to seal the wound.  Natural Latex coagulates when exposed to air, forming a type of natural bandage on the plant.  Natural latex is a complex mixture of proteins, starches, sugars, resins, oils, tannin, alkaloids, and gums.  This mixture is what makes latex unique in its properties.


Growing Natural Latex


Rubber Trees have a very specific set of parameters for them to flourish. The lifespan of rubber trees in a plantation setting is roughly thirty-two years. The first seven year are just growing, leaving twenty-five years for harvest. Well drained soil is required, and the optimum climatic conditions are:


  • Rainfall of about 2500 mm per year, and with at least 100 rainy days.
  • Temperature range of between 20 degrees to 34 degrees Celsius, with a monthly average temperature of 25 degrees to 28 degrees Celsius.
  • Humidity level of around 80%.
  • Around two thousand hours of sunshine per year, at a rate of six hours per day.
  • The absence of strong winds.


Harvesting Natural Latex


The harvesting of natural latex is similar to maple syrup collection. Both are even called tapping!  The rubber tree bark is cut or scored in a V type mark, so the latex runs down the scoring.  The liquid is collected in a metal bucket or cup.  It is quite a process as the natural reaction of latex once exposed to the air is to congeal. So, the trees need to be monitored.  There is quite an art to the scoring of rubber trees to ensure the longevity of the tree. The latex is then collected and brought to a processing plant.  There are many different processes to get the natural latex to a rubber state. Those processes are dependent upon what the product will be.  Latex rubber used for a tire is different than the latex for condoms. 


Charles Goodyear and Condoms


The process of vulcanization is where rubber is made soft and malleable.  Charles Goodyear, an inventor from the 1800s, accidentally discovered this process.  This resulted in the advent of rubber condoms, making them accessible to the masses.  And the name rubbers have stuck.  The 1920s saw further changes with latex overtaking rubber as the material of choice.  And latex condoms have remained the most popular material for production today.


Latex Allergy


Latex allergies are the result of the protein that is present in latex. Some people have a natural sensitivity or allergy to latex and others develop one after repeated exposure.  There are alternatives to latex with many items such as condoms and dams.  The removal of the protein from the latex and subsequent processing of the liquid results in polyisoprene.  This product has the same characteristics for use without the allergy and sensitivity issues of latex.



Rubber has been around for centuries.  It is used in recreational, automotive, health, stationary, and many other products we use every day.  Today it is produced both naturally and synthetically to meet the global demand due to the number of products manufactured with it. And that includes over 5 billion condoms worldwide! 

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My Condoms Expire???

My Condoms Expire???

There are all types of condoms, manufactured with different materials and by different manufacturers around the world. And EVERY one of them expires.  Condoms are a medical device and, as such, have a shelf life for both effectiveness and quality.  Why? Well mostly because of the materials they are made from.  Whether it is latex, polyisoprene, polyurethane, or  nitrile, they all have a lifespan for peak effectiveness.  After that lifespan is met, they begin to degrade. No different than medications lose their potency after their expiry date and food can go bad, condoms and dams are no longer at their peak performance once past their expiry date.  

How Long Does my Condom Last?

Condoms usually have up to a 5-year expiry date from manufacturing depending upon what material they are made from.  Dams usually have a 3-year expiry date from manufacturing.  The expiry date is printed on the outer box or carton, as well on the individual condom foil or dam packaging. It is often printed as year-month-date on the packaging.  So 2023-01-31 means it is good until January 31 2023.   The Lot number is the number that a supplier or manufacturer can use to trace the product if there are any recalls or issues.

What Happens to an Expired Condom?

All condoms wear down over time. No different than any other material we use for our everyday products, they all have a shelf life for peak performance.  Condoms become brittle and can break much easier when they are expired.  This then increases your risk for STIs or pregnancy.  This process happens quicker for natural condoms such as lambskin or sheepskin so make sure you are checking your expiry dates for all types of condoms.

Storing Condoms

Being proactive and prepared by always having a condom on hand is wise, but HOW you carry it about is important.  Condoms are best stored at room temperature.  Heat is a condom’s worst enemy.  Storing your condoms in your glove compartment is not wise! Nor is having them loose in your purse or bag, where friction and sharp objects can damage them.  Keep them at home in a drawer or cupboard. And not in a bathroom where the heat and humidity can also break down the materials.  If taking one out for the night, make sure it is in a condom compact or place where it won’t get damaged.  Condom foils go through a manufacturing process to help keep the condoms protected from damage and ultra-violet rays.  But it is up to you to keep them safe from extreme heat and sharp objects.  

Take Care of Your Condoms

If you take care of your condoms, they will help take care of you. 

Don’t use your condoms if:
• There is visible damage to the wrapper
• You can see lubricant leaking from the package
• It is dry or brittle upon opening
• It is past its expiry date
• It smells bad

Don’t open your condoms with:
• Your teeth
• Scissors
• Sharp objects including fingernails

Always tear your condom open along the perforation that is on the foil as per the manufacturing process. 

Make Sure To Use Your Condoms

Condoms are available at local Public Health facilities, many University and College Health Centres and Student Unions, Pharmacies, Adult Stores, online platforms and even grocery stores.  No matter where you get yours, make sure you wear yours and that you are checking your expiry dates.  Regardless of the different styles, brands, and materials, condoms are a part of safer sex practices. 
So go and explore your condom preferences. Contact reliable sources to ensure you are getting the correct information and approved products. 

Your sexual health is relying on it!

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Removing Stigma & Shame

Removing Stigma & Shame


Social norms have created a cloak of secrecy and shame around many things associated with sex.  This includes our sexual health, something that needs to be cared for no differently than our physical or emotional health. Yet when shame and stigma is attached to our sexual wellness, we  oft times attach it to our sexual illness and further exacerbate our negative feelings.   We need to work on promoting awareness and education to all in order to help remove the stigma attached to our sexual well-being.  But this is a huge task that requires undoing centuries of societal norms and ways of thinking.


What is Sexuality?


The World Health Organization currently has a working definition of Sexuality as the following:

“Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.”

This working definition shows the multi-faceted aspects of sexuality.  It is not just one thing or dependent upon one condition.  It is impacted by so many internal and external factors that is 100% unique for every single person.  And it can change as our circumstances or beliefs change as well.  Our sexuality can literally be impacted by a diverse interaction of all aspects of our lives.




As a global society we need to get to a point where we understand and accept that sexuality is a natural and normal part of being human. And that needs to be seen in the promotion and education made available to all for a healthy sense of all aspects of our sexual health. This includes, but is not limited to, our knowledge about our bodies, understanding our sexual needs, knowing how to have safer sex practices, understanding about STIs, including their types, transmission, prevention and testing.  If we make this a topic of discussion no different than how to care for our teeth or our bodies, we will help begin to remove the shame attached to it. Unfortunately, a general lack of public awareness, lack of specialized training among health workers for sexual wellness, and long-standing, widespread stigma around both sexual topics and STIs remain barriers to this.


Behavioral Changes


The concept sounds simple enough in theory but the reality is not so easy.  In order to change behaviors that have been ingrained in our social networks, we would need to work with different societies to navigate their existing belief systems.  These systems are comprised of beliefs from religious, political, social, economic, and familial influences.  But every step taken to help educate people about their sexuality and remove shame attached to it helps us all move forward to a healthier place.  STIs are one of the more preventable types of infections when proper knowledge and access to safer sex supplies and testing is available.  The World Health Organization states that “Despite considerable efforts to identify simple interventions that can reduce risky sexual behaviour, behaviour change remains a complex challenge. Research has demonstrated the need to focus on carefully defined populations, consult extensively with the identified target populations, and involve them in design, implementation and evaluation.”


By working together, we can all help to create the changes the world needs to reduce the STI epidemic and create a healthier and stigma free environment for all.

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