SEX… Whether we talk about it with our parents, gossip about it with our friends or have it with our lovers, sex can be an integral part of all our relationships. Learning to talk about sex is the first step to having a safe and healthy sexual relationship.
Sexuality is a basic part of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual lives and an integral part of who we are as human beings. Our sexuality includes our body, and how it works, our gender, our gender identity, our sexual orientation and our values about life, love and the people in our lives. Our sexuality influences how we feel about all of these things, and the way in which we view the world.
Our sexuality is something we should enjoy and celebrate, not something we should be embarrassed or ashamed about. Healthy sexuality allows us to explore our sexual thoughts, feelings and desires in a creative, safe and responsible way. However, it is also important to realise that sex does have risks. Knowing as much as possible about sex and our sexuality will help us to create responsible, healthy and satisfying sexual lives.
Family Planning Welfare Association of NT Inc (FPWNT) offers services related to sexual and reproductive health. In addition, the FPWNT website www.fpwnt.com.au can point you in the right direction with regards to finding out more about sexual and reproductive health.
1. The right to sexual freedom. This right encompasses freedom for individuals to express their sexuality. However, this does not include coercing or forcing another individual to do something they do not want to do.
2. The right to sexual autonomy, sexual integrity, and safety of the sexual body. This right is about making decisions about one’s sexual life, considering personal and social ethics.
3. The right to sexual privacy. This involves the right for individual decisions and behaviours about intimacy as long as they do not intrude on the sexual rights of others.
4. The right to sexual equity. This refers to freedom from all forms of discrimination regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, social class, religion, or physical and intellectual disability.
5. The right to sexual pleasure. This includes masturbation or any other form of sexual pleasure, without compromising the sexual rights of others.
6. The right to sexual expression. Individuals have a right to express their sexuality through communication, touch, emotional expression and love.
7. The right to sexually associate freely. This means the right to marry, divorce, and other types of responsible sexual associations.
8. The right to make free and responsible reproductive choices. This encompasses the right to decide whether or not to have children, the number and spacing of children, and the right to full access of family planning treatments.
9. The right to sexual information based upon scientific inquiry. This right is about having access to accurate scientific information.
10. The right to comprehensive sexuality education. This is a lifelong process from birth throughout the life cycle and should involve all social institutions.
11. The right to sexual health care. Sexual health care should be available for prevention and treatment of all sexual concerns, problems and disorders.
Love is a hard feeling to describe. Some people get confused because they are not sure if they are in love, or if what they are feeling is lust or infatuation. There’s a difference between sexual desire and love. Sexual desire is a strong physical excitement. Love is a powerful caring for someone else. Love can exist without sexual desire, and vice versa. Many people in relationships are happiest when both love and sexual desire are shared by both partners.
You can experience many feelings and fantasies about wanting to be close to, touch, or have sex with a person, without being in love. True love usually lasts a long time, whereas infatuation or lust doesn’t. Sometimes people think that if another person wants to have sex with them, that means they want to have a relationship or that they’re in love with them. This may be true but it isn’t always. Love takes time to grow.
Ten things you should know about LOVE
1. Love does not hurt. Physical and/or emotional abuse is not a part of love.
2. Love is not manipulative; it should not be used to get others to do what you want. You should never give in to demands based on the, “You would do it if you loved me!” tactic.
3. Love is an intense feeling of caring for another person. It can take many different forms (romantic, friendly, familial) but it is always about caring.
4. Although it is true that a big part of love is putting another person’s happiness ahead of your own, this never includes compromising your values or being untrue to yourself.
5. If somebody asks you to do something that you don’t want to do in order to “prove” your love they do not love you the way you might think they do. When you love another person you don’t ask them to sacrifice a part of themselves in the name of that love.
6. It is very easy to confuse lust for love. The true measure of romantic love is commitment and trust, not physical attraction.
7. It is possible to feel romantic love for more than one person at a given time. Just think, if it is possible for you to love both of your parents at the same time why would it be impossible to feel romantic love for two people at once? Don’t beat yourself up emotionally if you find yourself in this situation. But be sure to remain open and honest with all parties about your feelings and confusion.
8. Sex is NOT love. Love is NOT sex. Sex can be a part of romantic love but it is never mandatory.
9. Romantic love can (and often does) fade. When it goes there is not always a reason. When somebody falls out of love with you it does not reflect upon your value as a person or your desirability.
10. Love should make you feel happy, secure and appreciated.
Adapted from www.teenadvice.about.com
Decisions and choices about the right time to begin having sex are difficult to make. It doesn’t state anywhere that at the age of 18 you are officially ready, nor does anyone tap you on the shoulder and tell you that you should start now. It is a personal choice that you must make after considering all sorts of factors, whilst being true to your own feelings and open with your partner. The decision to have sex should never be taken lightly.
Asking yourself some of the following questions might help:
- Do you have any moral, cultural or religious beliefs that might make deciding to have sex the wrong decision for you at the moment?
- Is it love, lust or pressure?
- How do you feel about your present relationship with your partner?
- Are you aware of the Age of Consent laws where you live?
- Have you and your partner decided what form of contraception to use?
- What would you and your partner do if sex resulted in a pregnancy or an infection?
Whether you say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to sex, the choice is yours. Also remember, you can say ‘no’ at any time. No-one can pressure you into it if you’re not completely comfortable.
Masturbation is normal, and a good way for people to explore their own bodies. It means a person touching and rubbing their penis or clitoris and breasts for sexual pleasure. It’s also a form of safer sex. Through masturbation you can experiment to find out what feels good, where and how you like to be touched and how to have an orgasm. Many partners play with each other’s sexual parts for pleasure (known as ‘mutual masturbation’). It can be a very intimate experience, especially for people who don’t feel ready for sexual intercourse. Oh, and no you won’t go blind through masturbation and self‑pleasure!