Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week
Usually Ate Anna answers a question, but this month I am going to talk to you about an exciting event that happens every year – Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week, which was celebrated from February 11 to 15 this year across Canada and worldwide.
The theme this year was Sexual Health Through the Ages. It is important to understand that our sexual health starts at birth and changes as we grow and get older. The needs of our bodies and the types of relationships we have change throughout our life.
As a child, we are continually learning about our body. This is a great time for parents to teach about body parts, consent and privacy. Children can learn different names of body parts, which body parts are private and which body parts need to be covered. They can be taught that every body looks different, and that privacy is an important part of our relationships. Children can learn about relationships, about being a good friend, and that it is important to get permission before hugging, kissing or touching somebody else. It is also important for children to learn that nobody should be touching their private body parts.
Young people experience a process called puberty, usually after the age of 10. Puberty can feel very stressful for many people! Body parts develop, hair grows in new places, and our bodies can feel very different. Young people with penises may discover their penis can get hard at embarrassing times. Young people with vaginas may start menstruating (getting their period). Adolescents are starting to explore different types of relationships with their peers. They are learning how to be adults and how to interact with each other in ways that are respectful and based on consent.
At some point in life, many pursue sexual relationships, and need to be aware of the possibilities of pregnancy and STI transmission. Access to safer sex barriers and birth control during this time is important. Romantic relationships are formed and also need to be based on respect and consent.
Menopause is a word that describes the time of life where menstruation slows down or stops. This process can come with emotional and physical stress. As we age we may also start experiencing limitations in our bodies that we are not used to; perhaps it is harder to climb stairs and might take longer to share intimate time with your partner. This is all normal and we can learn to adapt to these changes.
Our sexual health needs change throughout our lives. If you would like to know more about sexual health through the ages, you can access the Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week website at www.srhweek.ca. – Ate Anna
Ate Anna welcomes your questions and comments. Please write to: Ate Anna, Suite 200-226 Osborne St. N., Winnipeg, MB R3C 1V4 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us at www.serc.mb.ca. for reliable information and links on the subject of sexuality.