03 August 17Hope Terdich

Let's talk about you and me this SHAG week

There is always so much to talk about in sexual health! But at the same time some of us seem content not to talk about it.  But I think it is time we did. And what better way to start than during SHAG week.

All across Deakin in the first week of September is SHAG Week! Come along to the Burwood Campus on Tuesday 5th September, or Warrnambool on Wednesday 6th September, Geelong Waterfront on Monday 4th September and Waurn Ponds on Tuesday 5th September.

Here you will have a lot of fun with your friends while talking about sexual health. But what is sexual health?

Well according to the World Health Organisation, sexual health is a ‘state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing related to sexuality.’ 

That does seem a handful of stuff to consider! But if we all take the time to talk about our sexual health with one another, then we can all reap the benefits from a more healthily informed society about all things sex.

Sexual health can often been seen, as just about our physical health. Did you know that in the past decade sexually transmitted infections have increased in Australia?  The message still stands that it is very important to be safe and use protection! Not just to stop unwanted pregnancies, but to ensure your physical health.

But sexual health is more than just your physical health. It is also about your emotional, mental and social wellbeing.  Being sexually healthy requires that you are comfortable with your sexuality.

Being comfortable in your own skin and being sexually healthy then cannot come from statistics alone. So we don’t want to metaphorically sit you down and tell you all the things you must know like a parent. We don’t want to tell you that babies come from stalks or scare you about all the STIs out there.

But we DO want to suggest that it is time that our sexual health becomes a discussion we engage in, as easy as talking about the weather.

To be sexually healthy is to be able to discuss our sexuality. Talking about sexual health is not the same as talking about sex. We might talk amongst our friends about our sex life but we are less likely talk to our sexual partners about our own personal experience of sex.

Again, we have all been through school and learnt how to label our bodies. But in doing this simple act, we have risked turning sex into an object.  We know that our bodies are more than mere objects of sex. They can represent our identity and how we project ourselves into the world.  But what is a sexual identity?

Our sexual identity is unique and part of our own personality. But, our sexual identity is also much more like communicating with someone than like playing our favorite sport. Sport is a one-sided affair. Kicking the ball through some sticks may be fun for you, but the ball has no say in the manner. Talking to someone is a two-sided affair. It can only be done well when both  people have a concern for one-another and concern for yourself. This is why it is important to maintain the discussion.

To talk about our own personal sexual identity we must break down social barriers that have cast sexuality into taboos, labels and objects.  Men have significant roles to play in joining the conversation about sexual health. Too often, men have been brought up to talk about things in general and not talk about feelings.

We must go past the labels and start to consider our own personal experiences.

Sexual health is not something that you attain as a label. Just because you haven’t caught a STI does not mean you are in some sexually healthy club. To be healthy sexually requires thoughtfulness and constant address. And what better way to address our own sexual health than to join in the discussion at this SHAG week!


Have you seen the new Consent Matters modules in your Deakin Sync? Login to Deakin Sync now and next to your units for this semester is the Consent Matters online training course.

Here you will learn about boundaries, respect and positive intervention.  This course is must for everyone! Even those who are in a comfortable relationship and think this may not apply to them, it very much does! Here you will learn how to positively help friends, colleagues and yourself. Creating a safe and respectful culture needs everyone on board.

If you or someone you know needs support then please review the information available on Deakin’s Safer Community Website.