Friday, December 16, 2011

Tips to Protect Yourself from STIs

Even with the best intentions, people can still get Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)from their partner. But the more informed you are, the easier it is to protect yourself and your partner from STIs. 

Here are some tips to help you avoid STIs. Consider which will work for you:
  • always use barriers like condoms or dental dams
  • choose safer sexual activities like kissing, touching and massaging
  • avoid sex altogether
  • reduce the number of partners you have sex with
  • get tested regularly
  • ask your partner if they’ve been tested or to come get tested with you
  • know how to use condoms effectively
  • talk to your partner about safer sex (protection, testing, STI history)
  • avoid sharing needles
  • avoid getting unprofessional tattoos or piercings

STIs can have different effects depending on the person and which STI it is. And STIs can even be present but show NO SYMPTOMS. They only way to really know if you have an STI is to get tested. 

For information on STIs and where to get tested in Calgary, visit us at

And to see what its like to go for STI testing, view our "How to Be a SexPert" podcast:


Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Talk with your Child about Sexuality

We live in a very sexual world.  There are messages about sex all around us - on the Internet, TV, radio.  People talk about it in locker rooms, at the mall, and in our own homes. And our kids hear it all.

But our kids don't get that much useful information from all this talk. 

We want our kids to have healthy and rewarding lives.  Teaching them about sex is an important aspect of helping them live a healthy life.  But for many of us its hard to talk about sex - especially with our own children. 

At the CHSC, we have many resources and workshops that can help you feel more comfortable with talking to your kids about sex.  And in the meantime, here are a few tips:

1. Start early.  Its best to begin as soon as they're born.  Start with basic knowledge such as learning the proper names of their body parts. Knowing their body and being comfortable talking about their body is an important first step.

2. All babies anc children explore their bodies. This is a natural and normal part of development. If we yell at them or slap their hands, they'll do it anyway - but they'll feel guilty about it. And they may learn to not trust us later in life when they're looking for guidance about other things.

3. When your 3-year-old asks "Where do babies come from?", you can keep your answers simple for now.  You could say something like "Babies grow in a special place inside the mother."  As the years, pass, you can add other details.

4. Kids aged 5 - 7 may be shy about asking questions, but they likely still have them! Find opportunities to ask them questions - maybe its asking them what they think about something you see on TV, or talking about a family friend who is pregnant. Have books on hand that you can read together to help you talk about sex.

5. Most preteens aged 8 - 12 are ready to know about sex and reproduction. They need to know about the signs of puberty and the changes that will happen to their bodies as they grow up. And they need to know how to keep themselves healthy and safe.  Keep the conversations going - find moments to spend time alone with them and talk.  Get books and pamphlets that you can read together, or that they can read on their own and then talk with you after.

6. Teens aged 13 - 18 need to learn how to say "no" and to understand what "safer sex" is. They need to know how to have relationships with other people without getting hurt, or without hurting other people.  You could ask questions such as "Are you being pressured to have sex?", "Do you know how to protect yourself from pregnancy and infections?", "How will you tell them what your limits are?".

For more help with talking to your kids about sex, give us a call at 403-283-5580 or visit us online at

And for a light-hearted look at having "The Talk", check out this hilarious video of Julia Sweeney describing one such experience with her 8 year old daughter.