GO ASK ALICE

In this day and age with so much information at our finger tips and teenagers openly communicating with each other on Facebook or Twitter, it is amazing that they still seem to know very little about sex.

The Head of the Promoting Healthy Sexuality Research group, Professor Alan McKee was quoted last week, to have said that a lack of sex education from an early age meant young people are having sex earlier and are contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). He believes that teenage magazines are picking up the slack for parents who are failing to teach their children about sex, they give most of the necessary information. However the articles do not always provide healthy education about sex but mainly “how to have sex”.

There are still too many teenagers in Australia who have unwanted pregnancies and acquiring sexually transmitted infections. The most dangerous one is Chlamydia which is rising in alarming numbers.

Chlamydia is known as a “silent” disease because the majority of infected people have no symptoms but untreated it can result in infertility.

I am originally from Holland where the schools usually provide excellent sex education. I remember the highlight of sex education my daughters received was how to put a condom on a banana and told how not to get pregnant. Young people need to know about healthy sexual development and my gripe is that the sex education kids receive here is minimal.

I have found a website called GO ASK ALICE which is a Health Q&A Internet resource provided by the Columbia University Health Services unit. Students can ask questions about, alcohol & other drugs, fitness and nutrition, emotional and general health, relationships, sexual health and sexuality.

The site has an archive containing over 3,000 previously posted questions and answers and reader responses. It is an excellent site which I suggest to young clients and parents to tell their children about, if they find it difficult themselves to talk about sexual issues.

As for Australia there is an excellent DVD available for parents and their older teenage children called THE TALK – available on www.thetalkdvd.com.au

There are two interesting book for parents to talk to their children about sex:

500+ QUESTIONS KIDS HAVE ABOUT SEX by Lyndall Caldwell

TALK SOON – TALK OFTEN – a publication for parents commissioned by the Western Australian Department of Health.

So to sum it up, I am hoping that the information and links I am providing can be of use to you.

Matty Silver

Matty Silver

Matty Silver is a relationship counsellor and sexual health therapist with a private practice in Sydney, who works with people to identify and overcome a range of physical and mental sexual health problems.

She specialises in telephone counselling all over Australia as another option to access advice or therapy. Telephone counselling provides a safe, supportive and confidential environment. It is anonymous and gives clients the freedom to talk about sexual issues without feeling embarrassed.

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