Own Your Sexual Health

Talking to Your Partner About Sex
It's never easy to talk to your partner about sexually transmitted infections and blood borne infections (STBBIs) and pregnancy but it is important this conversation happens early on in the relationship. This discussion early in your relationship will provide you and your partner time to get tested. It's as simple as visiting the website GET TESTED WHY NOT and downloading a requisition form. You take the form to any of the private labs identified on the website to be tested. If any of your tests are positive, you will be confidentially contacted by a public health nurse. Another option is to visit any one of Ottawa Public Health's Sexual Health Clinics to be tested.

The 'talk' between partners is very important. STBBIs are on the rise in Ottawa! In 2016, over 78% of Chlamydia cases in Ottawa were found in youth and young adults between the ages of 15 to 29 years of age and over 54% of gonorrhea cases were in this same age group.

An STBBI is an infection that can be transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact. Some common STIs include Chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital warts (HPV).  Blood borne infections (BBIs) can also be transmitted sexually and through contact with infected blood and includes hepatitis B and hepatitis C, just to name a few.

Even if you find talking about sexual health uncomfortable and awkward, it's important to be 'up front' about what you think is important when it comes to sex. Talking about sex and specific topics such as STBBIs and pregnancy helps to establish a solid foundation for a better relationship. Communicating openly and honestly provides an opportunity to learn about each other and explore new things together, while finding more common ground as you move forward in your relationship. Other important topics to discuss include:

  • Frequency of sex
  • Sexual boundaries
  • Sexual demands
Talking to Adults about Sex
This may seem like the last thing you want to do but the truth is that many of the adults in your life can be a great source of information and support. Not everyone is comfortable talking about sex but everyone can grow to be. The first step is to identify who you would be most comfortable speaking to - it could be a parent, a teacher, a health care provider or an adult friend. After the 'who' you need to focus on the 'what'. Often the hardest part is getting the conversation started so the following tips may help:

Use the media to your advantage: When something sexual comes on the radio or television or through social media, use it as an opportunity to talk about how you feel about what is being discussed.

Don't put it off: There is no perfect time to have the TALK and it is okay to be at whatever comfort level you are at! In fact, no matter what question, you have the right to ask it and to get the best information possible.

Be prepared: Knowing what you want to ask ahead of time can help you relax. It's always good to share what you do know and to have prepared questions to ask.

Location: Try and choose a private place that's comfortable for both you and the person you are speaking with. Sometimes it is helpful to talk about this when something else like walking a dog or doing dishes is going on. It can take the pressure off.

Tips for Parents
If your parent's are looking for information they can visit the Parenting In Ottawa website for information on youth and sexual health.

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