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.

Secondary students’ sexual health survey results

La Trobe University, 11th June 2019

The sixth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, conducted in 2018 and released today, found 47 per cent of Year 10-12 students taking the survey had engaged in sexual intercourse.  Of sexually active respondents, 76 per cent had sex at home; 65 per cent with a boyfriend or girlfriend; 62 percent often or always used a condom; and 86 per cent with somebody about the same age.

Lead researcher at La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society Dr Christopher Fisher said the survey asked 6327 Year 10-12 students in Government, Catholic and Independent schools from each state and territory, about their sexual behaviour and knowledge of sexually transmitted infections.

“Overall, young Australians have good knowledge of sexual health, are behaving responsibly and are actively seeking out trusted, reliable sources of information,” Dr Fisher said.

We need a new definition of pornography – with consent at the centre

The Conversation, March 18, 2019 5.51am AEDT

We all think we know what pornography is, whether we oppose it, use it, or tolerate it. But are we all conjuring up the same images?

Before we began our research on the meaning of pornography in young women’s lives, we wanted to define it. Our review of the literature found no consistently used definition.

It was notable that there was no mention of consent in any of the definitions we reviewed.

Australian sex education isn’t diverse enough. Here’s why we should follow England’s lead.

The Conversation, 7 August 2018

By David Rhodes, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Edith Cowan University

How children are taught about sex, relationships and sexuality at school is shaping up to be a political hot potato in Australia (again).

It’s already been slated to be an issue in the Victorian state elections later this year. That’s just a short time from being on the agenda during the same-sex marriage debate.

Now a radical shift in how children in England are taught about sex, relationships and sexuality promises to be the biggest reform of its kind in nearly 20 years. Here’s what Australia can learn from the new English system.

 

Let’s Recognise The Huge Decline In Teenage Pregnancy, And Try To Understand What’s Driven It

Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service

Huffington Post UK 

In a new report, Social media, SRE and Sensible Drinking: Understanding the dramatic decline in teenage pregnancy, BPAS set out to explore some of the factors behind the decline in teen pregnancy, talking to teenagers themselves about how they live their lives – and the extent to which lifestyle changes – from lower alcohol consumption to time spent online – have impacted upon teenage pregnancy rates.

Rosie in the Classroom: Lesson plans for teachers

Rosie, a national harm prevention initiative by the Dugdale Trust for Women & Girls.

Rosie in the Classroom is an educational program based on the original Rosie Videos, created to assist teachers in talking about difficult but important topics.

Topics like sexting or respect in relationships should be incorporated into the curriculum so that all teenagers are aware of their rights and can encourage respect within their school community. Each module includes a downloadable lesson plan and video which can be screened in class.

These lesson plans have been written by Briony O’Keeffe, lead teacher at Fitzroy High School and facilitator of the Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective.