Sexual Literacy

What is Sexual Literacy?
A collaborative program between the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR) and Health Promotion & Education (HPE). Public Health professionals from OSAPR and HPE will co-author an expert advice column answering all questions at the intersection of sexual health and sexual violence. Professional advice will be complemented by student voices from trained educators in Consent Advocates & Relationship Educators (CARE) and Sexual Health and Relationship Counselors (SHARC). 
Why is Sexual Literacy Important?
Over the past decade, considerable research has shown the importance of a comprehensive, ongoing, age-appropriate sexual health education (Braeken, Cardinal). We also see a clear connection between sexual health and sexual violence given that women, who are disproportionately targeted by sexual violence, are more likely to feel confident communicating their needs and desires when informed on sexual health (Weinstein, Walsh, Ward, 2006).  Communication has been a significant barrier, both in allowing people access to accurate and non-judgmental sexual health education, but also in establishing and negotiating relationships between individuals.  According to Helmer, Senior, Davison, Vodic, in their 2014 article ‘Improving sexual health for young people: making sexuality education a priority,’ Students wanted more emphasis on the social and emotional aspects of their sexuality such as first sexual experiences and how to handle breakups.

They also identify wanting to learn more about birth control, pregnancy, and condoms in an environment where myths can be dispelled. Consistent with this, A. Holstrom notes in their 2015 article, ‘Sexuality Education Goes Viral: What we know about online sexual health information,’ the majority of internet searches include STI/HIV prevention and information as well as questions around sexual pleasure, and, how to communicate with your partner about what they want sexually (Holstrom, 2015). Online education reduces this barrier and addresses other concerns identified by youths such as perceived negativity around sex and sexuality (Helmer, Senior, Davison, Vodic, 2014), and a desire to remain anonymous while still getting their questions answered (Holstrom, 2015).  Looking at long-term benefits, research also reveals a strong correlation between having a self-reported pleasurable sex life and positive health outcomes long term (Holstrom, 2015).


If you are interested in asking a sexual health question fill out the form below: