Sexual health is part of your physical, mental, and social well-being. Sexual health starts right at birth when our caregivers play with our toes and fingers and talk about what they are doing. This is the beginning of learning about your body.
Sexual health includes the following:
Communication is a big part of sexual health. You probably talk about, see, and hear more about sexual health, sexual orientation, and gender identity than people in your parents’ generation did. That is a good thing. Talking about sexual health helps us to understand more about our bodies, our feelings, healthy relationships, safer sex, and intimacy.
It’s important to talk about your sexual health. You can do this with your parents, friends, partner, teachers, and other professionals in your community. Make sure that you are getting the right information.
Communicating about sexual health helps you to ensure that your rights are respected.
It is important to talk to a person you might want to participate in sexual activities with about:
Sexual activities may include the following:
Consent is about making sure that everyone participating in a sexual activity is doing so willingly and enthusiastically. If consent is not given for any kind of sexual activity, it is considered sexual assault.
Things to think about!
The Criminal Code of Canada states that consent to sexual activity cannot be given if:
Canadian law states that the age of consent for sexual activity is 16. Children under the age of 12 cannot consent to any sexual activity. There are two close-in-age exceptions:
A person must be 18 years old before consent can be given to have sexual activity with a person in authority, like a teacher.
Safer sex means using methods that will help lower the risk of getting pregnant and/or getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Remember that not all contraceptives, like the pill or a diaphragm, will protect you from STIs. For more information, please click here.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections usually spread through sexual contact. Some STIs are also spread through blood-to-blood contact. Some examples of sexually transmitted infections that you have probably heard of are HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HPV.
If you are having sex, you can get an STI. STIs affect people of every age, gender, race, religion, education level, and whether they are rich or poor. Most STIs can be treated and cured, but some stay in the body forever. However, there are medicines to manage symptoms for STIs that cannot be cured.
Do you have a funny discharge from your penis or vagina? Any swelling? Smells? Itchiness? Pain? Sores? These can all be signs that you need to see a medical professional for STI testing. However, you can have no symptoms and still have an STI. If you are sexually active, it is important to get tested regularly for STIs.
Many STIs can be treated easily if caught early, and others require medical care to maintain your health, and your partner(s). If you could be pregnant, regular checkups are needed to care for your health and the health of your baby.
If you are having sex or have been sexually assaulted (raped), you may become pregnant. Taking a pregnancy test can be the first step to confirming that you are pregnant. There are several options available to you: have the baby and raise it; have the baby and put it up for adoption; or have an abortion.
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or staff at sexual health clinics can help answer your questions and discuss which options are best for you and your health. If you choose to carry on with the pregnancy, regular checkups are needed to care for your health and the health of your baby.
If you would like to talk about having an abortion, you can contact your physician, the Regina Women’s Health Centre (1-800-563-99923), the Prince Albert Sexual Health Clinic/Access Place (306-765-6544) or the Saskatoon Sexual Health Centre (306-244-7989).
Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or images to another person(s). Sexting is a way to explore sexuality, trust, boundaries, and intimacy. Not all teens sext, but for those who do, it’s important to know the facts on safer sexting, consent, and the law.
Even when there is consent, trust, and respect between people who decide to sext, it’s hard to be completely sure a sexual message will be private. There is always a risk that these messages, videos or photos could become public, even accidentally.
Sharing nude photos or videos of yourself or anyone under the age of 18 years old is a crime and considered child pornography. Yes, even photos or videos of yourself that you gave consent to. Nude or sexual photos or videos of anyone under the age of 18 are illegal in Canada, even if the sender and receiver are both under 18 years of age.
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Professional health advice (mental health, addictions, education)
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- Northeast Crisis Line (24/7)
- Regina Sexual Assault Centre: Sexual Assault Line (24/7)
- Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit: Sexual Assault Line (24/7)
- Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre (24/7)
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