Cultural diversity and Sex

Cultural Diversity and Sex

The City of Ottawa is committed to respecting the cultural diversity of all its residents. We recognize that youth and young adults are in a transitional period of their life; a time for exploring and developing their own sexual and gender identity. We strive to ensure that the services we provide are free from discrimination and are inclusive and reflective of the youth we serve. We embrace diversity at all levels including sexual orientation, gender identity, ethno cultural identity and immigrant status.

Culture and Religion

Since the beginning of time, many religions have sought to guide people's sexual activities and practices. This religious influence continues today in many countries where gay marriage and homosexuality is still looked down upon. Many religions view sex as a sacred act between a man and a woman that should only be performed within marriage and for the strict purpose of procreation; other religions consider certain kinds of sex as shameful and sinful. Only you can decide what is best for you when it comes to your sexuality.

Types of Relationships

Monogamy: the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner at a time

Open relationships: a relationship in which both partners agree that each may have sexual relations with others.

Polyamory: intimate relationships where individuals may have more than one partner, with the knowledge and consent of all partners.

Virginity

A virgin is someone who has never had sex. The term "sex" can be defined differently by a person's personal values and beliefs, their faith, and cultural influences. Some individuals think that women and men lose their virginity the first time they have penis-in-vagina intercourse (vaginal sex). Clearly this definition is very limited because it leaves plenty of people and other types of sex out of the picture.

Some people:

  • Consider themselves a virgin because they have never had oral, vaginal and anal sex
  • Consider themselves a virgin because they have only had oral and/or anal sex but have never had vaginal sex
  • May never have vaginal (penis-in-vagina) sex
  • Believe that a woman must have a hymen (thin tissue covering the opening of the vagina) to be a virgin.
  • Believe your virginity depends on consent, therefore if you are forced to have sex, it isn't losing your virginity.

As you can see, the definition of virginity is complex. Some people care about it and others don't care about it at all! The decision to have sex, regardless of the type, is your decision. Make sure you have the information you need to be safe.

Female genital mutilation (FGM)

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines female genital mutilation as 'procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons'.

 

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