What do we mean by Sexual Health?

Sexual health is much more than using a condom or getting a test from the sexual health clinic.

The World health organisation states that

“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation 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”.

Keeping yourself safe and healthy and being informed means you can enjoy positive sex and relationships. Our relationships and sexual behaviour should be open, respectful, positive and non-judgemental. Advice and treatment in Tayside are free, non-judgemental and confidential and there for everyone.

Talking about sex can be embarrassing. But if you can’t talk about sex with someone are you really ready to do something so intimate and personal with them?

Without the tools for communication people may have sex that they don’t really enjoy. An enjoyable sex life depends on being able to say what turns you on and what doesn’t. Often people feel embarrassed about expressing this for fear of what their partners will think or feel, or what they might say to other people. For example, studies have found that up to a quarter of men and half of women fake orgasm sometimes. Faking an orgasm may be an excuse to end sex, or a way to avoid hurting the other partner’s feelings or saving face.

Sex that happens without any chatting before it can also be unsafe. You may not have chatted about contraception or have really checked out if you or the other person consent  to the same thing.

Building up the courage to talk about your own and your partner’s sexual pleasure can result in better, safer sex all round.

Here are some tips you could try: 

  • Make sure the conversation happens when you aren’t actually having sex. Having a conversation about sexual behaviour is usually easier when both partners are clothed and just hanging out together. People generally will feel less vulnerable, emotionally and physically, for what can sometimes be an awkward or difficult conversation.
  • But it’s okay to tell someone if you like or don’t like them doing something at the time they’re doing it.You could say “that feels nice” or “that’s a bit uncomfortable.” You could move their hands, but don’t force them to touch you if they don’t want to.
  • Use “I” statements. Statements that begin with “I think” or “I believe” let a partner know that you’re speaking for yourself and how you feel and that your conversation is about expressing your thoughts —not about accusing or attacking. Be sure that your language and thoughts are clear. You might want to work out what you want to say in your own head first before you talk to your partner.
  • Practice. Like anything else, good communication isn’t something that everyone is automatically great at. Learning how to communicate effectively and in a way that each partner feels valued and respected can take some time. It gets easier!
  • Keep your chats (and your sexual behaviour) private between you and your partner. Your pals can be a good source of advice, but you don’t have to tell them everything. However if you’re worried about your partners behaviour, or feel like you’re being forced to do anything, tell someone.
  • Relax. This all sounds pretty serious. But the truth is that communication can be easier when you both feel relaxed. It’s okay to laugh and joke about sex, just be mindful that this won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

For more tips you can visit: http://www.sexualhealthscotland.co.uk/talk-sex
Or http://www.bishuk.com/sex/how-to-sex-talk

Are you enjoying sex?

Sexual pleasure is the feeling people get when they are sexually aroused (or turned on.) It can happen in response to something you see, smell, hear, taste or touch. For example a certain perfume or aftershave, or something your partner says, can be just as sexy as being touched. This can happen in the real world, in your imagination or in your dreams. It can happen with a partner or when you’re by yourself through things like masturbation.

Many of us grow up hearing very little about the possibilities for sexual pleasure our bodies provide. Boys and men are often brought up to think of sex as feelings experienced only through their penis, while girls and women are taught very little at all about their right to sexual pleasure from sexual relationships and often are not taught about how their sexual body parts work.

Know your body has more information

It is important to understand what parts of your body you like to have stimulated by yourself or a partner, and of course this is not just sexual organs, but can be anywhere from nipples, earlobes, necks, prostate – anywhere can feel good.

It is also equally important to understand your limits and boundaries, there is no right or wrong about what feels pleasurable, we all respond differently.

 

When you know what turns you on you are in a better position to be able to communicate this to your partner. Perhaps you could encourage them to do the same and tell you what they find stimulating.

If you think they feel a bit unsure or uncomfortable check out why and make sure you never pressure a partner into doing something they don’t want to do.

Explore each other’s bodies. You can just kiss and touch or lick each other; good sex is about more than just penetration. Have fun – try whatever positions turn you both on.

If you are not experiencing pleasure from sex with your partner then it may be a sign that some aspects of your relationship need some attention.

Masturbation means stimulating or touching your own body for sexual pleasure. Some people never do it and some people do it loads. Most people sit somewhere in between. Like sex, it’s a personal choice. Both women & men masturbate and it’s a safe and healthy way to get to know your body and what turns you on. If you know what you like it’s easier to tell your partner if you do choose to have sex. Masturbation can also help to relieve stress and may even help you to sleep better.

 

Pornography is imagery of sexual activity usually viewed to sexually stimulate the viewer.

Pornography can take the form of magazines, movies, and more widely is viewed as images and video on the internet.

It is often viewed by individuals or couples to stimulate and arouse prior to sexual activity or masturbation.

So is it a problem?

It’s okay to be interested in sex and watching porn shouldn’t make you feel ashamed if that’s what you like. If you choose to watch then there are a few things you need to remember:

  1. Porn is fantasy and not reality. Porn may have a huge impact on your ideas and expectations around sex. This is particularly true if you’re a young person as you may not have many real-life sexual experiences to compare it to and your brain is still developing. Many people do not like or feel comfortable with the sexual practices found in porn. Like any film, porn is made up. In real life most men can’t cum more than once in a very short space of time, group sex is actually not very common and most women don’t like men to cum on their face. Real life sex can be awkward, embarrassing, funny, sweet and loving. Porn sex is none of these things. Try to separate your real life sexual behaviour from the stuff you see in porn. You’ll feel less pressure and be more respectful to your partner.
  2. Porn bodies are not “real” bodies. In the real world, all breasts and penises aren’t massive and not everyone removes their pubic hair. Many porn stars have had surgery to enhance their bodies, or are picked because they look a certain way. Studio lighting can also help. Watching porn can give you a false idea about how you should look.
  3. There’s no mention of consent. In porn, it’s assumed that sex is wanted. In many cases, it may even look forced. All discussions around sex take place off camera so that the actors can just get on with the job. This highlights a huge difference between porn and real-life sex. Not checking out with your partner that they really want to have sex can cause lots of problems, you can read more about this HERE
  4. Condoms are rare. It’s becoming more common for condoms to be used in gay porn. However, in most main studio porn condoms are never seen or mentioned. There’s never any talk of unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections (not very sexy, right?) In reality these are both very real risks if you’re having sex. You can find out more about condoms HERE
  5. Some porn reinforces stereotypes about gender. Lots of porn shows women as sexual objects, just there for men’s pleasure. They are usually submissive and under the control or power of men. The language used to describe women in porn can also be pretty vulgar (bitch, whore etc.) The men are often dominant and treat women badly, taking what they want without asking. Although this is acting these stereotypes may put pressure on young people to behave in a certain way according to their gender.
  6. Some porn is illegal to have in your possession, including images that realistically show:
    1. an act which takes or threatens a person’s life
    2. an act which results or is likely to result in a person’s severe injury
    3. rape or other non-consensual penetrative sexual activity
    4. sexual activity involving (directly or indirectly) a human corpse
    5. An act which involves sexual activity between a person and an animal (or the carcass of an animal)
  7. It is illegal to possess indecent images of children. This can also include taking, sending and keeping indecent images if you are, even if this is done with consent.
  8. The age for accessing porn online is 18. However, it can be pretty difficult for authorities to enforce this.
  9. Porn may be addictive. There has been lots of research on how porn affects the brain. It is thought this could impact even more on the teenage brain as it’s still developing. Watching too much porn has been linked to erectile dysfunction (not being able to get hard) in young men. Like any addiction, porn addiction can lead to a person watching more to get the same feelings.

How much is too much?

If you are watching more and more porn, you’ve stopped doing other things with your time, you’d rather watch porn than be intimate with someone in real life or your relationships are being affected by your porn habit you may be watching too much. Try to set yourself limits and have a break. Spend more time with family in the house so you can’t access porn on your phone, tablet or computer. See your friends or spend time doing a hobby as a diversion. If you use porn to masturbate try using your own imagination instead, at least some of the time.

http://www.bishuk.com/porn/

Under 18? More information on pornography especially for you HERE

Parent/carer and want more information HERE

People over 50 are a growing population whose sexual health needs are often ignored because of the myth that people over 50 no longer have sex. Many people over 50 are still sexually active. Plus, the divorce rate in people over 50 is rising, which means that more people are single and back out there dating.

Sexuality doesn’t stop with age. Sexuality is not just about sexual preferences and whether you are heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Your sexuality is unique to you. Sexuality involves:

  • Sex and sexual practice
  • Self image
  • Your personal history
  • Social relationships
  • Sensuality
  • Emotions
  • Spirituality
  • Political identity
  • Cultural identity
  • Religious beliefs

Our society places emphasis on the young – politically, culturally and socially – with information and services being targeted towards them. There is little or no recognition of sexual relationships in older adults and some people struggle to acknowledge that older people are sexual beings with the same desires and rights as the rest of the population. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender relationships are often ignored in this age group.

Sexually transmitted infections are not just a problem for younger people. Unplanned pregnancy might not be an issue for women over 50 but sexually transmitted infections can be.   It is important to practise safer sex to help prevent you getting a sexually transmitted infection by using a male or female condom every time you have sex. If your partner could get pregnant then condoms can also help protect against pregnancy. You cannot tell whether someone has a sexually transmitted infection just by looking at them and as there are often no symptoms people don’t always realise they have one. Sexually transmitted infections pass from person to person through unprotected oral sex, vaginal sex and anal sex as well as close genital rubbing. So, it is very important to use condoms.

If you experience any of the following you should seek advice:

  • Unusual discharge from the vagina
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Pain or burning when you pass urine
  • Itches, rashes, lumps or blisters around the genitals or anus
  • Pain and/or bleeding during sex
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

https://www.fpa.org.uk/sites/default/files/people-over-50-relationships-and-sexual-health.pdf

People with a disability have the same sexual and emotional needs as anyone else including the desire for friendships, meaningful relationships and, sex.

Physical disability

Some physical disabilities may affect sexual functioning, but although physically disabled you may enjoy sex with the help of sex toys, and finding sexual positions to suit you.  If you are having problems with sex you can speak to your GP or sexual health clinic.

Learning Disability

Children, young people and adults with a learning disability can be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation, however, good education and support can help people with a learning disability make informed choices in order to develop and enjoy positive, healthy and safe relationships.

Understanding our bodies, what we want from intimate relationships and learning to say no to unwanted contact is essential for us all to be able to protect ourselves.

We offer Making Choices Keeping Safe training to people who might carry out a support role and offer specialist clinics for young people with LD in Perth & Dundee but everyone is welcome to access any of our general clinics.

Mencap and also CKUK are both  great sources for more information.