Talk about sexual awareness and health

Respect, positivity are key elements

Illustration by Kelly Campbell

Between Feb. 12 and 16, the Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba (SERC) will host Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week on the topic of “Minding Our Business”: Sexual Health & Mental Wellness. They chose this theme to emphasize the interdependent relationship of mental and sexual health in one’s body as well as within the community.

“Sexual health is complex and includes mental, spiritual, emotional and physical components. Mental health plays a large role in how we understand ourselves and our relationships,” Bre Woligroski, the sexual and reproductive health facilitator at SERC, says.

The World Health Organization reports that sexual health includes taking a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and relationships. In relationships, the organization says that sexual experiences should be pleasurable, safe and free of force. This means that the rights of equality, non-discrimination, the right to one’s privacy and the right to information and education should be respected.

“Sex and intimacy are important for individuals whether they are in a relationship or not. Knowing your sexual identity, values, and principles will help shape the quality and wellness between that individual and their partners,” Dr. Reece Malone, the CEO of Sexuality Consultants and Support Services Manitoba, Inc. says.

SERC is a non-profit dedicated to promoting sexual health through education. They work with people from all walks of life and try to be inclusive of every sexual orientation and gender.

During their Sexual and Reproduction Health Awareness Week, activities will range from digital valentines, talks related to youth mental and sexual health and online self-care tips.

Besides SERC’s work, festivities relating to sexual awareness will continue through the Ultimate Pleasure Party at the Radisson Hotel downtown on Feb. 24. This event will be about sexual empowerment, sexual enrichment and sexual education.

“Sexual empowerment and sexual enrichment is part of (SERC’s belief around sex-positivity); every person is different and has the ability and right to define what this means to them. Everybody needs the correct information about consent, sexual rights, STIs and birth control prevention in order to truly be sexually empowered,” Woligroski says.

Malone says that both intimacy and sex are important for people whether they are in a relationship or not. Knowing one’s values, principles and sexual identity will aid in shaping the quality of the relationship and improves the health of partners.

He notes that couples may face issues with porn use, low desire and performance anxiety. Other couples struggle with new changes to their partnership like transitioning to a long-distance relationship or to a child.

“You don’t need to have a problem before you see a sex therapist or consultant. I see couples for ‘tune-ups’ on their communication skills as well as provide them with skills to enhance their pleasure,” Malone says.

Single people can also speak with consultants about their sexual life. Malone consults single people with matters about rapid ejaculation or erectile dysfunction concerns, sexual and gender identity issues, specific dating situations they are encountering and how to communicate boundaries or needs.

Published in Volume 72, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 15, 2018)

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