SEXUALITY

Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships.
Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships.

World Health Organization defines sexuality as:

“…a central aspect of being human throughout life encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.” (WHO, 2006a)

Sexuality is different from sex and sexual intercourse. Sexuality has to do with everything about having sexual feelings. So even though you are not sexually active, this doesn’t mean that you are not sexual. There are a lot of examples of sexuality. For instance it is feeling attracted to somebody, feeling good about your body, enjoying being touched and hugged by someone you are attracted to or having sexual thoughts.

FRIENDS

When you are different, other people or even your friends might tease you with it. For example if you are not as tall as your peers, less skinny or have a disability. It might not be the intent of people to hurt you with comments, but nobody likes to be made fun of for their appearance. Especially when it is something you are already insecure about. It helps you to be assertive in situations like that. Think about what it would feel like if it were to be the other way around. Don’t tease your friends, but ask them what is wrong when something is bothering them. Real friends make each other happy, not insecure. It is easy to focus on the points you are unhappy with, instead of features you are proud of. Accept yourself and keep in mind that you are a great person!

RELATIONSHIPS

Having a loving and healthy relationship can be one of the most meaningful parts of your life. A friend, family member or loved one can offer you companionship and fun. There are some elements that are important, in order to create a balanced and loving relationship. In such a relationship, partners understand each other’s feelings, show love, have good feelings and attitudes towards each other, have respect between them and can handle a problem. A good relationship makes you feel more free instead of limited

Infatuation: There is a difference between loving a person and falling in love with someone. You can love your family and friends, but also feel a different kind of love for someone in particular. Falling in love with someone involves feeling attracted to that person and feeling a passionate affection to him or her. Next to that you can feel sexual passion or desire. Feeling this, mostly short-lived, passion is called infatuation

Healthy Relationship

A healthy relationship is a relationship based on mutual respect and equality. In a healthy relationship communication is key. It will help you to know what you and your partner expect from each other.

Even though you share a lot with the love of your life, you should also understand that your partner needs his or her privacy as well. It is healthy if you have your own friends and life next to your relationship.

Trusting each other is essential for being in a healthy relationship. Giving each other space and setting clear boundaries without limiting each other helps you both to grow. Make sure you are there for the other person, even when times get rough. For most people, being faithful to each other is a must for a healthy relationship. Don’t try to change each other, but accept each other the way you are. You both are able to make mistakes. Try not to stay in the past and realize that sometimes making mistakes is necessary to improve your bond. Lastly, enjoy your time together and don’t hurry into any big steps.

How do you know a relationship is bad for you?

Most of all it is important that your bond isn’t based on power and control instead of equality and respect. In the beginning of your relationship it can feel like it isn’t a big deal when your partner accuses you when he or she is jealous, tries to possess, hurt or humiliate you. Even though these actions start small, it is very likely they will grow bigger in time. Keep in your mind that you can always end the relationship or deal with the abuse. You deserve to be treated equally. There is never an excuse for downgrading behaviour.

Friendship

There are many reasons why real friends are important in your life. They are not only fun to be around with, you can also learn a lot from them. By having discussions and sharing experiences you develop life skills and grow. Friends teach you how to be close to someone, since you are able to share secrets and bounce off ideas without being made fun of. They introduce you to new things and new ideas. You learn to stand up for yourself and have your own opinions. A friend makes you feel good about yourself. You can help each other feeling comfortable with the changes you are going through.

It can happen that people you consider as friends turn out not to be such a good friend after all. It is important that you feel safe and comfortable around them, and don’t get pushed into anything you don’t want to do. For example: how do you react when your peers want to go binge drinking or smoking with you against your will? Also never feel obliged to start having sex, just because some of your peers are already sexually active or pressure you. The time it feels good to have your first sexual experience is different for everybody.

Being a good friend

Trust, honesty and loyalty are important factors for a friendship. Show your friends that you will be there for them and be dependable. Everyone makes mistakes, nobody is a perfect friend. That makes it even more important to be able to apologize for your mistakes. Another important element is selflessness. Don’t do favors because you need something back and don’t abuse their generosity. Be careful to not being used yourself though.

Helping a friend in trouble

It is a good sign that your friends trust you enough to share their problems with you. Even though this problem could be something you have got no influence in, it is always helpful to showe your friends you are there for them. Being a good listener helps your friend to relieve the stress and clear his or her mind.

Someone in trouble might not always ask for help. Check on your friends regularly yourself when their heart is broken, a loved one died, is in the hospital or feels depressed. Don’t get on their nerves though, give your friends space when they need it.

Friendship between boys and girls: There are many good things about friendships between boys and girls. A lot of girls like that hanging out with guys involves less drama and enjoy their honesty. Boys on the other hand can share their feelings better when they talk to girls.

Even though there can be a good friendship between boys and girls, there are some tricky parts that are different from same sex friendships. Even though you feel like your friend is like a brother or sister to you, make sure your expectations are the same. There will always be attraction between boys and girls. Therefore it is easy to mix feelings of companionship with being in love.

In some friendships, the one person has stronger feelings than the other. Be careful that you don’t mislead your friend by giving mixed signals.

Feelings and Friendship: If you are starting to get attracted to your best friend, there are several things you can do. Temporarily getting distance will help you to sort out your feelings. Take time to decide what you want to achieve with your friendship. Do you want to express your feelings anyway and risk your friendship? This can be a good option when you don’t think your romantic feelings will change.

Before sharing your feelings, be sure you want a relationship with your friend since you are jeopardizing the friendship. He or she might just be friendly and it puts you both in an awkward situation. You could also suspect that your best friend has feelings for you.

Trying to find out what your friends’ feelings are for you might be tricky. By doing this you can give your friend mixed signals. Your friend might feel betrayed since you are not being honest with him or her. Friendships are very personal. Some friends just flirt and hug for fun, not because they have feelings for each other. For others, physical intimacy is not part of the friendship.

Some signs that your friend likes you could be touching, laughing about stupid jokes, searching eye contact and giving compliments. Your friend might become more self aware with you around or touches you more than he or she touches other friends.

Turning someone down: It is never fun to turn a person down. It is important to be fair to the other and don’t mislead them. Best is to just honestly tell them that, even though he or she is a nice person, you don’t have the same feelings. You don’t have to elaborate on this or name reasons why you don’t have more than friendly feelings towards him or her.

It might be an easy way out, but avoid telling him or her that you are not ready for a relationship yet. This will make your admirer believe that the only thing you need is time. Same goes for saying you are already in a relationship when you are not, both are lies and will make the person that likes you feel even worse. Negotiation skills help you to handle this situation tactfully.

In some cases, it will take some time before your the person that has a crush on you gives up. He or she might trying asking you out, say inappropriate things about his or her feelings in public or give you presents or money. Respect his or her privacy and talk to your admirer in private, instead of embarrassing him or her in public. If this doesn’t work, address that person mildly but firmly and say there is nothing going on between the two of you. By doing this, other people will also know that you are serious about your opinion on your admirer. If all of this doesn’t work, be prepared to stop seeing this person and try to avoid him or her for a while.

SAFE SEX

Risky sexual behavior means increasing the risk of contracting an STI or an unplanned pregnancy. It can also mean starting a sexual relationship before being old or mature enough to know what is necessary for a healthy relationship. Therefore teenagers have a higher risk on showing risky sexual behavior than adults.

There’s no perfect moment when you’ll suddenly know that you’re ready for sex. Sex is a complicated and personal decision so it’s all about knowing what’s best for you. No one else can tell you when you’re ready but here are a few things you should consider:

  • Are you doing this because YOU want to? Or are you thinking about having sex because someone else wants you to? Maybe you’re not sure you’re ready, but your partner is putting on the pressure? Or maybe all your friends seem to be having sex, so you feel you should be too? Having sex because someone else is pressuring you is not a good reason. Remember, you’re in charge of your own life—don’t let anyone pressure you into having sex.
  • Have you seriously considered the consequences of having sex? Obviously, sex can have some serious physical consequences, such as unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you’re going to have sex, you need to think about birth control options and choose a method that will work for you.
  • Have you considered the emotional consequences that sex might have on you, your partner, and your relationship? Having sex with someone takes things to a whole new level—are you and your partner ready for that? Have you talked about it? If you’re not sure that you’re ready or you haven’t talked with your partner (or are too embarrassed to), it might be a good idea to wait.
  • Do you know how to protect yourself? It’s really important that you know how to protect against pregnancy and STIs. If you’re going to have sex, you have to use birth control (condom included) consistently and correctly every single time you have sex in order to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs. Remember: if you’re having sex and not using birth control, you’re planning to get pregnant. Again, this is something you need to talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend about before you have sex so you’re both okay about what you’re going to use

Your Personal Rights

1) Believe that you have the right to decide for

yourself whether or not you want to participate in a particular sexual activity.

2) You have the right to your own values, beliefs and opinions.

3) You have the right to seek healthcare free from judgment.

4) You have the right to a relationship where there is mutual respect between partners.

5) You have the right to say no when in an uncomfortable situation.

6) You have a right to be proud of your sexual orientation.

GENDER

Gender is the state of being either male or female. Gender could also refer to social structures that are based on gender identity or social structures that are based on sex, such as gender roles or other social roles.

Gender roles describes the way males and females are expected to behave. For example males are expected to do masculine jobs like cutting down trees while women cook. These differences are created by a society and not nature. They are part of culture and may change overtime.

Stereotyping is an oversimplified or biased description of a group. These stereotypes are often negative and harmful. Gender stereotypes are used to describe the abilities of men versus those of women. Stereotypes are often recognized as being illogical even though some people still believe them. One of the most damaging examples of stereotype is the false belief that women and men should only have jobs in certain fields or the creation of inequality between men and women.

WHAT IS SEX?

Sex has a different meaning for everyone. Some people only consider vaginal intercourse as sex, others also consider anal and oral sex to be intercourse. The similarity to all these activities, is that all require two people that give each other the pleasure from being intimate or having an orgasm.

Sex can also mean the division of gender between a male and a female.

Different kind of sex

Sexual activities don’t only include penetration of the penis into the vagina. There are many other ways to please your lover or express your sexual feelings. It is important to trust your partner before having sex, since you have to feel comfortable in order to be able to enjoy this. Before having intercourse, most couples begin with foreplay. This means getting each other excited, by for example kissing and touching. Foreplay doesn’t necessarily lead to sexual intercourse.

Vaginal intercourse is intercourse that includes the penis penetrating the vagina. Outercourse or mutual masturbation means two people rubbing against each other or touching each other’s private parts. Masturbation doesn’t include the penis penetrating the vagina or anus. Oral sex is any kind of sex that involves contact between the mouth and genitals. Anal sex involves penetration of the penis in the partner’s anus. Unprotected oral sex can actually transmit the same STIs that unprotected vaginal and anal sex do. Anal sex still has the highest risk of HIV transmission.

Discuss this further on our sexuality forum page

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