Sex & sexual health


Sexuality plays an important role in the health and wellbeing of women across the lifespan.

Sexuality

Sexuality plays an important role in the health and wellbeing of women across the lifespan. Find out more →

Sex and sexuality play an important role in the health and wellbeing of women across the lifespan. Physical changes caused by illness, menopause, medications, psychological effects like depression, what is happening in your relationship and family can all impact on libido (sexual desire), arousal, your ability to orgasm and sometimes make sex painful.  Understanding the different contraception options available, what is safe sex and what are the symptoms of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are important to your sexual health. Finding solutions to any problems you may be having involves determining what seems to affect your sex life and then trying strategies to deal with this. Personal stories help to show you are not alone because sometimes sex can be a difficult topic to talk about with others.


Sexuality

Sex and sexuality play an important role in the health and wellbeing of women across the lifespan. Physical changes with ageing, illness, medications, psychological affects like depression, what is happening in your relationship and family can all impact on sex. Understanding about libido, arousal and orgasm along with the causes and ways to manage sexual problems can be helpful.

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Contraception

There are many different methods of contraception to avoid pregnancy including the natural family planning method, the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), the mini-pill, an Implanon rod, an intrauterine device (IUD) such as MIrena, a condom, and more permanent measures such as tubal ligation and vasectomy for men. The way each method works including the pros and cons is discussed.

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Safer sex & STIs

What is safe sex and what are sexually transmissible infections (STIs)? The types of STIs including HIV, herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, warts, lice, hepatitis B and syphilis are discussed along with symptoms and treatments. Knowing how to protect yourself and practise safer sex is important to protecting your health and wellbeing and your fertility.

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Painful sex (dyspareunia)

Painful sex is distressing and can result in the loss of sexual interest, relationship problems, and affect your mood. Dyspareunia is the term used to describe pain before, during or after vaginal intercourse. There are many causes of dyspareunia including physical ones like not enough lubrication, a skin infection, illness or surgery. Psychological causes like partner issues, stress and anxiety can contribute also and make it even worse. Getting a diagnosis of what is causing the pain can help you to know what treatment might be best for you.

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Libido

Libido, otherwise known as your sexual ‘drive’ or 'desire' varies from woman to woman and there is no right or wrong level. It is normal for desire to fluctuate perhaps due to changes in hormone levels, medication, your health, lifestyle changes and what’s happening in your relationship and in your life. If your libido level worries you there are a number of things you can do to improve desire. Finding a solution to the problem involves determining what seems to affect your libido and trying strategies to deal with this.

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Relationships

The impact of sexual problems on a relationship can be significant. Painful sex (dyspareunia), problems with libido, physical changes such as menopause can all impact on your sex life and your relationship. Consider having an open discussion with your partner and/or a health professional about how you feel. If you've been avoiding sex this can be especially difficult. But if you do find support, it can build intimacy and help you to manage your sexual relationship more honestly. The good news is there are strategies to help you.

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