Sex is something that affects everybody — so why is this topic difficult to open up for discussion?
Nikaela Lange, an international studies student and former staff member of Saskatoon Sexual Health, says people feel some awkwardness around the topic of sexual health.
“That safety aspect doesn’t feel super sexy. When you’re in the moment with somebody and having this time together, to stop and be like, ‘Wait a second, I have to grab a condom’ or ‘Wait a second, I have to confirm that I took my birth control this morning,’” Lange said.
“When you pause, some people think that it takes you out of the moment and that takes away from that spontaneity.”
Although it might be awkward to broach the subject, it can reduce the anxiety that comes with unprotected sex, ensuring all parties feel safe and comfortable.
“It’s hard to have a sexy time and be in the moment if you are worried about STIs or if you are worried about pregnancy, which are realities of sex,” Lange said. “I think it should be more sexy and more fun if we just take a minute and make sure that everything is okay and good to go before we get started.”
With the rising popularity of online dating apps, there are more opportunities than ever before to meet one or multiple sexual partners. Regardless, communication and honesty between sexual partners is key to mitigating risks. And getting tested before engaging with new partners and using protection is important for sexual health.
But even if protective measures are not taken, there are still options available at the Saskatoon Sexual Health Centre.
“Things happen and sometimes we forget. Sometimes we are too in the moment [and] it does not come up to us. That is when it is important to use resources like Saskatoon Sexual Health where we can get Plan B — the morning after pill — or get tested for STIs,” Lange said.
“It is good to be proactive, but there are always these measures that are in place that [people] can take after if things don’t go exactly as planned.”
There are many approaches to protect your sexual health and care for yourself. Abstinence is the only way to 100 per cent prevent pregnancy and STIs — this means not having vaginal, anal or oral sex — however, if you decide to be sexually active, there are various forms of birth control worth considering.
Different types of birth control include condoms, contraceptive pills, patches, shots, implants, diaphragms and intrauterine devices. Speak to your doctor to learn more about safety, risks and prevention. If you have any questions about sexual health, they will be able to answer them and can also prescribe a form of birth control.
The University of Saskatchewan campus also offers accessible and free resources and services that promote sexual health, while accepting the student body’s diversity. Peer Health, the Pride Centre and the Women’s Centre are all avenues that provide a dynamic, safe and welcoming environment.
Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro
Photo: File | Riley Deacon