Own Your Sexual Health

Talking to Your Partner About Sex

It's never easy to talk to your partner about sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBIs) and pregnancy but, it is important this conversation happens. Having open and honest conversations are key for a healthy relationship. 

The "talk" between partners is 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, and over 54% of gonorrhea cases were in this same age group. Getting tested is as simple as visiting Ottawa Public Health's Sexual Health Clinics.

A 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 or through contact with contaminated blood and include hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

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. 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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 doing another activity like walking a dog or doing the dishes. It can ease the pressure.

Tips for Parents

If your parents are looking for information they can visit the Parenting In Ottawa website for information on youth and sexual health.

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