Thorne Harbour Health calls for community to stop having casual sex during COVID-19

Thorne Harbour Health – media release, 26 March 2020

For the first time in its four-decade history, Thorne Harbour Health is calling on communities to stop having casual sex in the face of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Thorne Harbour Health, formerly the Victorian AIDS Council, is calling on LGBTI communities and people living with HIV to limit their risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth said, “We’re faced by an unprecedented global health crisis. While COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted infection, the close personal contact we have when during sex poses a serious risk of COVID-19 transmission. We need people to stop having casual sex at this stage.”

“But after four decades of sexual health promotion, we know abstinence isn’t a realistic strategy for most people. We need to look at ways we can minimise risk while maintain a healthy sex life.”

Last week, the organisation released an info sheet with strategies to minimise the risk of COVID-19 while having sex. Strategies included utilising sex tech, solo sexuality, and limiting your sexual activity to an exclusive sexual partner, commonly known as a ‘f*ck buddy’.

“You can reduce your risk by making your sexual network smaller. If you have a regular sexual partner, have a conversation about the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Provided both of you are limiting your risk by working from home and exercising physical distancing from others, you can greatly reduce you chance of COVID-19 transmission,” said Simon Ruth.

The organisation’s stance is not dissimilar from advice from the UK government. Earlier this week, chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries advised couples not cohabitating to consider testing their relationship by moving in together during the country’s lockdown.

Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth released a video message today addressing sex & COVID-19 following last week’s message about physical distancing.

The sex lives of young women marked by frustration, stress, guilt and embarrassment

Monash University, 24 Feb 2020

Professor Susan Davis, a leading Monash University expert on women’s health, admits it was a highly ambitious project: minutely studying the sexual wellbeing of 7000 young Australian women with particular focus on complicated, intimate ideas such as desire, arousal, orgasm, responsiveness and self-esteem.

Now that it’s done (and published this week in the international journal Fertility and Sterility), she’s “very concerned.” The main finding is that half of the women studied experience personal “distress” related to sex. One in five has at least one sexual dysfunction. “Young” means aged 18 to 39. The concern, she says, is because “sexual wellbeing is recognised as a fundamental human right”.

“This is a wake-up call to the community,” she says. “This is what we [society] are doing to people. We expected to find that a meaningful number of young women had sexual issues, but we were not expecting to find half were distressed sexually.”

Are We Blinded by Desire? Relationship Motivation and Sexual Risk-Taking Intentions during Condom Negotiation

The Journal of Sex Research, Shayna Skakoon-Sparling & Kenneth M. Cramer (2019) DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2019.1579888

ABSTRACT

Effective condom negotiation skills support better sexual health for both men and women. The current study explored relationship motivation (motivation to establish and maintain long-term romantic relationships), gender, and sexual orientation as factors influencing the condom negotiation process.

Participants (177 heterosexual women, 157 heterosexual men, and 106 men who have sex with men) read a vignette describing an encounter with a hypothetical new sexual/romantic partner and responded to embedded items and scales.

Stronger relationship motivation predicted increased willingness to have condomless sex among women who perceived greater familiarity with the hypothetical partner. Gender and sexual orientation predicted different preferences for condom insistence strategies.

The findings suggest that there are a number of conditions that make it more difficult to recognize risk during a sexual encounter and demonstrate how the process of condom negotiation can be impacted by gender, sexual orientation, and relationship motivation.

Call for Papers: Edited Collection on Sexuality and Sexual Identities in Literature for Young People

Deakin University, October 2018

Acknowledging the capacity of literature to reflect and shape significant aspects of human development, this collection of essays takes as its central theme the representation of sexuality and sexual identities in texts for young people. Previous scholarship has established important connections between sexuality and gender, as well as sexuality and queerness, in literature for children and young adults. Investigations have also been made into the way particular genres and individual texts deal with desire, sex and sexuality.

This collection builds upon these individual approaches, while extending out to the analysis of various forms and incarnations of sexuality, across genres, texts and time periods. Keeping sexuality and sexual identities in writing for young people as its core focus, it will include analysis and discussion of representations of heterosexualities, homonormativity, trans subjectivities, asexuality, and the intersections between sexuality and other identity categories such as gender, race and class, across a range of texts and readerships.

The editors therefore welcome abstracts that revisit historical approaches to the study of childhood/adolescence and sexuality in literature, as well as those that provide contemporary and forward-looking models that take account of current and emerging sexual identities. Similarly, they welcome a wide range of theoretical approaches to this subject matter.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

• Sex and sexuality in historical literature for children
• Same-sex desire in young adult fiction from Stonewall to the AIDS era
• Hetero- and homo-normative families in picture books and junior fiction
• “Straightness” in junior and/or young adult fiction
• Queer spaces and queer geographies in writing for young people
• Trans identities in children’s texts
• Intersections between sexuality and race, class, gender, ability, age and/or nationality
• Transnational approaches to sex and sexuality
• Connections between romance narratives and ideologies around sex and sexuality
• Religion/religious themes and sexual morality
• “Post-gay” identities in millennial writing for young people
• The role of genre in depictions of sex and sexuality for young people

  • Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words and a biographical note of up to 150 words to Dr Kristine Moruzi  and Dr Paul Venzo  by December 1, 2018. Full papers of 6000 words will be due by May 1, 2019.

HIV diagnoses hit seven year low: Australia’s annual HIV figures released

Kirby Institute, UNSW, Monday, 24 September 2018

Australia has recorded its lowest level of HIV diagnoses in seven years, according to a new report from the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney.

The report, released at the Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference in Sydney, found that there were 963 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, the lowest number since 2010.

Researchers are attributing the promising results to more people getting tested for HIV, more people living with HIV starting treatment which reduces the risk of HIV transmission to effectively zero, and an increased use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP, an HIV prevention pill).

However, it is not all good news. According to the report, a quarter of new HIV diagnoses in 2017 were among heterosexuals, with a 10% increase in diagnoses over the past five years.

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, HIV diagnoses have been increasing over the past five years, with rates almost two times higher than the Australian-born non-Indigenous population in 2017.

Rules about sex: getting them right – upcoming training day

SHINE SA, September 2018

This stand-alone workshop introduces participants to a wide range of education resources that may be borrowed from SHINE SA and provides permanent access to an electronic resource on CD that can be applied immediately in the workplace.

The CD based resource has been produced to assist workers and carers to assess knowledge and teach rules about touch and sexual behaviour and strategies for sexual safety and improved relationships.

In this practical full-day module, you will be supported to apply the resource practically and ethically, using your own laptop.

The aims are to:
> reduce sexual victimisation of people with disability
> reduce the incidence of sexual behaviours which may cause offence to others
> prevent vulnerable people with a disability from involvement with the law and possible long-term consequences of this

Suitable participants include: developmental educators, service coordinators, special
education workers, therapists, disability advocates, police and parents.

Important: Please bring a laptop computer with a CD drive, installed with MS Word,
MS Powerpoint, or equivalent. An external plug-in mouse will be an advantage.

Details:
When – Monday 22 October 2018
Where – SHINE SA, 64c Woodville Road, Woodville
Time – 9:30am – 4:30pm
Cost – $175