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Things you may not know about Sexually Transmitted Infections

20 Jun

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are rampant. There are at least 20 different types of STIs identified, with 40,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS each year compared to 4 MILLION new cases of the bacterial infection Chlamydia.

  1. STIs are more common for women than men
  1. Teens are at high risk of contracting an STI due to their lack of knowledge on what sexual behaviour is ‘risky’.
  1. There is no treatment to eliminate Genital Herpes and Genital Warts, only treatment to manage symptoms & minimize/prevent recurrences.
  1. Herpes can increase the risk of the HIV Infection.
  1. Chlamydia (most common & increasing STI) often has no symptoms, known as the ‘silent disease’, which is why it can be left untreated.
  1. STIs left untreated can cause serious health problems & infertility.
  1. Condoms are not entirely effective in preventing STIs . Direct skin contact may result in transmission.
  1. STIs can be passed to a baby before and during birth.
  1. Being infected with an STI can have a significant impact on an individual’s sexuality and relationships.

10. STIs are transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

 

There is no such thing as ‘safe sex’. To truly protect yourself from an STI is through abstinence only. If you have been sexually active, a good step forward to protecting your health is to get yourself tested.

 

 

Resources

www.avert.org/

http://www.who.int/topics/sexually_transmitted_infections/en/

http://attainfertility.com/article/std-infertility-part-one

PURE INNOCENCE

17 Jun

Purity…what does it mean to be pure? It’s a question worth asking yourself, particularly in today’s highly sexualised culture.

Maybe how we can live in purity is by discovering what is valuable to us and by discovering that we are valuable human beings.

If you value a diamond ring, you will want to keep it clean, protect it and look after it because it’s valuable to you. In contrast, how do we treat things that are not valuable to us? We throw it around, expose it to whatever, leave it wherever, use it for whatever etc. We don’t give it a second thought because it’s not valuable to us.

How do we keep our sexuality pure?

Often people think it means, just don’t have sex. But I believe its way more than that.

It is how we dress

It is how we behave

It is what we say

It is what we believe

It impacts our decisions, our relationships and the vision for our life.

It impacts how we treat ourselves and how we treat others.

In a world where pure innocence is lost, we need to fight to get it back. We need to challenge our thoughts, behaviours and actions to line up to the truth that every human being is valuable and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, including ourselves.

How do we live with purity?

Looking beyond a girl wearing clothes that barely cover her butt to see her as someone’s daughter, sister, mother. She is valued, created in His image, in the mind and heart of God before she was ever in her mother’s womb. She has been planned for a good purpose before the beginning of time. She is worth more than the way she dresses.

When someone sends us a pornographic link, living with purity is choosing to not open the link and explaining to that person why you chose not to open it.

Deciding not to take a “selfie” of yourself wearing hardly any clothes and send it to a boy you like in the hope that he will think your hot and want to date you because you want someone who will like you for who you are (personality and all) and not what you look like in a photo.

Choosing not to watch movies with sex scenes in it to avoid being awakened, tempted or exposed sexually, as you know that what you watch can become what you think about and what you think about can become what you may act upon.

What do you think purity is? Let’s get a conversation going. Reply below.

“Why I’m not doing it….”

16 Jan

“God designed sex, he believes in sex but God also wants to protect us and not see us hurt.”

“My parents were very open about their past experiences and mistakes they made about their sexuality. They wanted us to learn from their mistakes rather than learn the hard way. Parents honestly want what’s best for us. My parent’s influence on my choice to wait to have sex until I’m married wasn’t forced upon me or shoved in my face. They told me their stories, the good things and their regrets, and I was able to decide myself. I am so thankful they shared their experiences with me.

A lot of my friends were indifferent about when it was okay to have sex. At 15, most of my friends were sexually active. I watched my girl and boy friends regret the sexual relations they had. They thought they loved someone and shared something with their sexual partners that they could never get back. I cannot tell you one friend who did not regret their first time.

At 17, I made the decision to not have sex until I was married. Then I met my first boyfriend and we dated for a year. We decided to not have sex because of our faith but this definitely was not easy to do, especially when all my friends were sexually active.

It wasn’t enough that the bible says ‘not to have sex before marriage’ to be my reason for waiting – I need to find out the whole story for myself. I searched out the scriptures to find out WHY the bible encourages us not to have sex until marriage. God designed sex, he believes in sex but God also wants to protect us and not see us hurt. Sex within marriage is how we can be safe and secure because marriage is designed for the long term.

Sex impacts a person intellectually, emotionally and socially. On top of the risks of picking up a sexually transmitted infection (STIs), getting pregnant or contracting HIV/AIDS, we are chemically connecting with people when we have sex and the more partners we have the less we are able to connect with one person. I would rather wait and form that strong bond with the one person I spend the rest of my life with.

Our sexuality is beautiful but its up to us to learn about it. We are all dealing with the same issues so why not talk about it?”
Cheryl, 22 yrs.

What is your story??? Email sexthewholestory@hotmail.com and let us know if you are comfortable to share it with others through this blog.

Frame Your Life: Part III

23 Oct

Guard your heart

for out of it flows

the issues of life

Frame your life with what you want, don’t let others do it for you.  What your life will look like will depend on what you are willing to let in your life and what you will not accept.

IDENTITY IS NOT JUST ‘US’

Some of us when we get into a relationship can loose who we are. We don’t like what we used to like and we don’t do what we used to do. Our values, goals and vision for our life changes to be like the person we are dating.

Your individual identity is so unique, don’t loose it just because you are in a relationship. You are a person outside of your relationship.

CHEATING

Not a nice word hey. Betrayal. Disloyalty. Deception. Also not nice words. Unfortunately though, it is some people’s reality.

What are you boundaries around cheating? Is it ok if they were sorry? Blind drunk and didn’t know what they were doing? Ok because the other person took advantage of your partner or you? What about if you were on ‘a break’? Or if you don’t get caught, is that ok then?

If he/she cheated on you once, how will you know they won’t do it again? If you were cheated on while you were dating, why wouldn’t it happen when you’re married?

Faithfulness starts while dating & continues on through marriage. Marriage doesn’t fix someone’s faithfulness. It’s an active choice to be faithful.

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS

Ever had a friend that’s dropped you to hang out with their new boyfriend/girlfriend Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday! Before they know it….they haven’t spoken to you in weeks! What’s with that?!

You can have the relationship and keep your friends. It’s a choice and a wise choice to make cos what happens if you break up down the track and you have no friends to turn too?

Also, don’t be so insecure that you both have to be joined to the hip. You have goals, dreams, friends, family, education, work, hobbies and interests (just to name a few). There is GOLD inside you. Be confident in who you are as a unique one-of-a-kind individual. If you break up, your world won’t fall apart. There is so much more to you than just your relationship.

SECOND BEST

Why do people settle for second best? They are not prepared to wait for the right person, they don’t believe there is anyone better out there or they don’t believe they will find someone else, they would rather be ‘with someone’ than be alone or they think they can change or fix the person. Whatever the reason, it is generally motivated by personal fears and insecurities.

You are WORTH far more than to just settle for second best! Settling for second best is simply not trusting that there is better out there for you.

To avoid settling – know what you want and be prepared to wait. Go, hang out and get to know people but don’t jump into the first relationship on offer without considering if that person is right for you. View my post on ‘Is this person the ‘right’ one for me?’ for thoughts on knowing if they are the right one.

In the long run, you will be thanking yourself that you waited and are with the right person and happy.

VERBAL & EMOTIONAL GARBAGE

The words we speak have an impact on people’s lives around us. Sometimes we can tend to take for granted and not appreciate the people closest to us. Nevertheless, it’s not an excuse to mistreat people.

Maybe you find yourself in a relationship that is not very encouraging. Things might be great sometimes but other times it can get nasty…you might cop verbal, emotional or physical abuse. Regardless of the circumstance, abuse is NOT ok. It can start with name calling when an argument erupts and can lead to so much more.

If you are experiencing physical abuse, get out of that relationship now! It is not always an easy thing to do, so tell someone and ask for help. Don’t do it alone.

Draw a line on what verbal or emotional abuse you will or will not tolerate. E.g. should a girl accept being called a ‘bitch’ by her boyfriend?

Be aware of what emotional manipulation is. It is playing with your emotions so the other person can get what they want. E.g. “If you don’t have sex with me, you don’t love me.” You can love someone and not have sex with them.

GIRLS should be treated with value, respect and honour. GUYS should be treated with value, respect and honour. There is no difference if you are a guy or a girl. People are incredibly valuable and deserve respect and honour.

SHARING WITH YOUR FRIENDS

What do you tell your friends about your partner or relationship? Be careful how much intimate and personal information you share about your partner. They are telling YOU because they are building a trusting relationship with you. What they tell you is not always for you to tell others. Why break the trust that you have been working hard to build? It’s much harder to build trust back up again when it has been broken. We are often only vulnerable to one or a few people in our lives because we trust them. Don’t take that trust for granted.

& hey, why do we like to bag out our partners ex’s? Or our ex’s new partners? We think it will make us feel better but who really feels good after tearing someone else apart with horrible words. It doesn’t make us look good, in fact we look hurt, insecure or jealous. And here’s another thought, the ‘ex’ could actually be a nice person! Gossip is no conversation builder and doesn’t make anyone feel encouraged or empowered. You can be the bigger person – don’t go there in your conversations.

Frame Your Life: Part II

11 Oct

Guard your heart

for out of it flows

the issues of life

How do you guard your heart emotionally?

Truth is relationships are emotional. Being with someone or breaking up with someone does affect us emotionally. It only doesn’t affect us when we don’t care about the other person or we are not emotionally involved e.g. we are with them for other reasons aside from emotional connection such as sex.

So what does guarding your heart look like when we are emotionally involved? How emotionally involved we get is the key.

MARRIED THEM IN YOUR HEAD?

If you have just started dating this guy for a week and you are so into him, you feel its so right you think you two will get married. You start thinking of the dress; you see if his last name goes with your first name, you start imagining what your kids will look like…. I would suggest that you have gone too far. You have gotten TOO emotionally involved TOO soon. What’s so bad about that? Well, say you don’t get married, you break up next week or next month, you are probably going to be a lot more heartbroken than if your mind didn’t go there.

If you “marry” the person in your head before you, he/she,  or your relationship is even ready to go there…. You will be set on making your relationship work even if they are not the right person. That is a lot of hard work.

I LOVE YOU

Hey boy! Hey girl! Do you say ‘I love you’ to every person you date? Why? Do you really love them? What makes your love for them different to the previous person you dated? What is special about this person compared to your ex?

The words ‘I love you’ carry weight; it means something significant to the other person, their heart lights up, they feel loved. Most people associate these 3 wonderful words with ‘unconditional’, ‘always’, ‘forever’. These words carry hope.

These 3 words are not often associated with ‘I thought I loved you but I really didn’t’ or ‘I don’t love you anymore’ or ‘love was just not enough – sorry’.

So next time you say those words, consider why you are saying them. Is it to get something from them or to make you feel better? Are you lonely and want someone to love you back? Do you really mean this now, tomorrow, long term? What makes someone special enough for you to say these 3 significant words?

Love is not just a feeling. We don’t always feel like loving someone. Love is also a choice.

ME & MY EX

Do you talk to your boyfriend/girlfriend about your ex’s? How much detail do you share?

This stuff is so not helpful for your current relationship. No one wants to know what their partner did with their ex. Why? Because they will always be thinking in the back of their head how is he/she different to me? Am I being compared?

Comparing yourself to your partner’s ex or comparing your partner to your ex will destroy your relationship’s uniqueness. Your current partner needs a fair shot at your friendship and caring for you – they don’t deserve to be compared.

TRUST & JEALOUSY

Do you trust completely or are you unable to trust? If you are unable to trust it is most probably because of jealousy or a previous bad experience where someone has betrayed your trust. Does your current partner display signs that you cant trust them or are you just fearful it will happen to you again? If it’s more in your head than in their behaviour, it’s so important that you guard your heart from this fear and not entertain thoughts of jealousy. Talk to your partner or a trusted friend about it and work through it. It’s not worth destroying a relationship over, particularly if he or she can be trusted.

Are you completely trustworthy or not to be trusted? What are you doing to suggest you can or can’t be trusted? E.g. hanging out with other girls one-on-one when you have a girlfriend doesn’t give your girlfriend much confidence in you. Can you trust yourself with such temptation?

Remember – people need to EARN your trust, don’t give it away too easily.

HANG OUTS

Is hanging out with a person of the opposite sex alone ok when:

(a) you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

(b) you are single & you don’t like the person your hanging out with but you think/know they have feelings for you?

If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, how is hanging out with someone else one-on-one helpful to your relationship? Is it going to put doubt in your partner’s mind? Why would you want to do that? A healthy relationship is based on trust. If you have a great trusting relationship, don’t wreck it.

If you are single & you don’t like the person you’re hanging out with but you think/know they have feelings for you, why are you hanging out with them one-on-one? Are you leading them on only to break their heart when you tell them your not interested?

Do you like the attention? It’s probably not a fair reason to lead someone on & your time could be better spent focusing on being secure within yourself.

I like their friendship. That’s awesome but you can always keep the friendship and avoid the awkwardness or heartache when they know your not interested by hanging out in groups instead. No one likes to know that they were lead on only to be smacked in the face with ‘I don’t like you like that’, especially when they thought you were interested.

Guarding our hearts makes us secure individuals, confident in who we are and our identity.

Stay tuned for Part III.

How else can you guard your heart in relationships? What would you like to know about? Would love to know your thoughts. Comment below or email sexthewholestory@hotmail.com

Frame Your Life: Part I

28 Sep

GUARD YOUR HEART
FOR OUT OF IT FLOWS
THE ISSUES OF LIFE 

 

When it comes to friendships, dating and relationships……. What is ok by you and what is not ok? How do you know things have gone too far? Where do you draw the line? Do you just go with the flow or are you certain about what you want?

What is a boundary?

A boundary is a balcony in a high-rise apartment to protect people from falling over the edge.
A boundary is a yellow line at a train station platform for people to stand behind to stop people from falling onto the tracks or get hit by an oncoming train.
A boundary is a signed marriage document, the public declaration to spend your life with one other person only for the rest of your life.

A boundary frames something; it makes a clear distinction between one thing to the other, it tells you how far to go and when you’ve gone too far. A boundary draws the line between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, what is safe and not safe, what is healthy and what is unhealthy.

Boundaries can help us. They can protect others and us from getting hurt. Boundaries can allow us to experience the fullness of life – an abundant life. Think of a playground; once the playground boundary is established, it is clear where a kid can play and where it is out of bounds.

The good thing about creating boundaries is YOU can set your own. You choose who and what you let inside your ‘house’ and what you will keep out. Its kind of like ‘guarding your heart’…..you choose who and what you let into your heart and who and what you don’t. Throughout your life there will be thousands if not millions of choices to make, particularly when it comes to friendships and relationships. Choose WISELY. Give yourself the freedom to decide what you will allow in your heart and what you will leave at the front door.

What boundaries do you have in your life?

Is kissing a good friend a ‘no go’?
Is having a one-night stand ok with you?
Is sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend off limits?
Is cheating on your partner debatable?
Is taking back your partner who cheated on you dependable?

Its all too easy to go with the flow when it comes to our friendships and relationships…..do whatever feels good at the time without giving a second thought to our actions and our behaviours. At times we can get caught up in the moment and it might seem too hard to stop. Sometimes we can think we have not harmed ourselves or others and other times our ‘in the moment’ behaviour can get us in trouble, destroying relationships and hurting ourselves and others.

How can I set boundaries in my life?

It starts with the basics…. how would you like to be treated? Treat others that way.

  • What behaviours display respect to yourself? What behaviours display respect to others? What doesn’t?

E.G. You’re hanging out with a group of guys and they want to take photos of you doing sexy poses and maybe even some shots with your top off. Does this behaviour respect you? Are these guys displaying respect towards you?
What boundary do you have about your body? Available to anyone or off limits and reserved for that special someone only?

  • What is valuable to you? Another way of putting it is, what is important to you?

E.G. You have a close friend who you really don’t like in that way but you’ve had a few drinks at a party and you are feeling a bit lonely. Is it ok to sleep with your friend? Even if there are no feelings on both sides and its only a one-night thing?
If you value your friendship with this person and don’t want to hurt them or confuse your friendship with sex, you may have a boundary about keeping friends as friends and nothing more.

E.G. You’re in a relationship and you are not ready to have sex with your partner. So how far is too far? If you haven’t thought about that, you might find yourself in the heat of the moment and not know how to stop.
A boundary will help you clearly know what you are ok with and what you aren’t. Being uncomfortably explicit and writing out what is ok and what is out of bounds will help you and your partner keep within that boundary.

Sticking to them & living them out – Making boundaries come ALIVE.

Actions are always harder than speaking mere words. Many people can talk the talk but not many can walk the walk. It may not be the easiest thing to do but in the long run, you will be better for it and glad you stuck to what was important to you.

Look at the boundaries you have in your life and think about what steps you can take to live your boundaries out. What actions will you take? Who will you speak to for advice or accountability? Living out your boundaries will make your friendships and relationships a lot simpler and easier to enjoy.

Let’s take Joe and Mary’s relationship as an example. They have been dating for a few months and really like each other but they both strongly value their sexuality and want to save sex together for marriage. To keep what is important to them they need to set boundaries on their physical relationship.
How do they do that?

Firstly, they need to talk to each other about what is important to them in their relationship. What physical activity is ok and not ok? Where can their hands go and where can’t they go? What kissing is ok and what kissing is out of bounds? How will they know if they go too far? What will they do when things get heated? Who will they speak to if they want to get advice? Both of them need to AGREE on these things, as agreement is the first step in setting a boundary.

Secondly, they can do things that will make it easier for them to stick to their boundaries. For example, avoid being home alone together, sleepovers or holidays and sitting in the car late at night. All these things will tempt them to do things they may wake up the next morning regretting.

Thirdly, they can make themselves accountable to someone they respect and trust and this person can provide support and give them advice when they need it. It totally helps when someone encourages us to keep going and reminds us what is important to us, especially when we are feeling discouraged.

Finally, they don’t need to beat themselves up if they make a mistake and cross a boundary. Refocusing on their vision and what’s important to them and continuing to work towards it is way more beneficial. No one is perfect. It doesn’t matter how many times a person falls, what matters is if they pick themselves back up again.

What is important to you?
What do you value?
Decide on these things.
Choose what is right for you.
Guard your heart.
Frame your life with what you want.

What boundaries do you have? I’d love to hear them. Email sexthewholestory@hotmail.com

More to sex than mere skin on skin

18 Sep

When I was a kid, I LOVED Christmas morning. I was so excited about waking up in the morning and running downstairs to the Christmas tree to search for all the presents that had my name on it. My excitement made me not want to go to sleep. If I didn’t sleep, I could open my presents in the middle of the night and not have to wait till the morning. Oh the joy of Christmas morning! The excitement of seeing wrapped gifts with my name on it. The surprise on my face when I opened the gifts. It’s such a wonderful experience. It made me feel so special.

Every one desires to be loved, accepted and to belong. This is universal. It is intrinsic to our human make-up.  We were created for relationship.

Today’s culture is very much a sexualised culture. Sex is expected and assumed when you hook up with someone and especially when you enter into a relationship. But is this type of culture actually healthy for us and our futures? Are the people we are sleeping with even worth what we are giving them?

There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.

Sex is deeply intimate and extremely vulnerable. It joins two people together as one. Sex deepens our love and bond with someone. It is life-creating and extremely relational. It was designed to be experienced in the confines of marriage where the devotion and commitment is for life – the ‘till death do us part’ commitment, the ‘no matter what happens, I’m sticking by your side’ devotion, creating a safe and loving environment for the couple to be completely exposed, vulnerable and intimate. Sex was created to seal and unify a marriage joining the 2 people as 1 – body, soul and spirit. It is the ultimate expression of LOVE. Powerful and completely beautiful!

Now there was a time when I couldn’t wait to see what I was going to get for Christmas. A few weeks before Christmas, I searched the whole house when my parents weren’t home. I knew that had already bought me gifts and I knew they were in the house somewhere. I finally found them in a cupboard. The gifts were already wrapped up with my name on it. This was going to be tricky. I carefully peeled the sticky tape off and slowly opened each side of the present making sure I didn’t rip the paper. It was exciting to see what gifts I was going to receive but once I knew what I was getting, I must admit, I felt a bit bad, a bit guilty, a little cheated that I had wrecked the surprise for myself on Christmas morning. When Christmas morning came, I tried to act surprised like I was opening my gifts for the first time. Truth be told, it just was not as special as it would have been if I didn’t take that sneak peak weeks before.

Our sexuality is a unique gift that we give to another person. Waiting for the right person and giving it to them in a committed, secure, long-term relationship makes the experience so special for both people. Awakening love before the right time can rob you of a beautiful experience and leave you feeling guilty and regretful. Think about this…. when I finally decide I want to spend my life with this person, what have I saved to give them?

Sex comes with an attachment.

After breaking up with my boyfriend that I had sex with, I felt deep rejection and heartache. Even though I knew that breaking up was the right thing to do, I felt a part of me was given to him that I wouldn’t be able to get back…..I was intimate and vulnerable with my boyfriend and from that I developed a strong connection to him. It made it even harder for me to not want to get back with him. I was left feeling unloved and lonely….looking back, I wish I didn’t sleep with him.” Elisa

When we have sex with one person, we get attached to them. We feel deeply connected with them and desire to be with them. Hormones oxytocin and prolactin are released in our brains making us feel a deep union with the person we’re having sex with. This explains why sex is designed in a ‘for-life committed relationship’. Casual sex – ‘friends with benefits’, ‘sex with no strings attached’ is not possible as sex comes with an attachment. We bond with the person we are having sex with and develop a deep connection with them.

Try before you buy. 

If you had a choice between a brand new fragrance or a tester fragrance, which one would you choose? Of course the brand new fragrance! The tester fragrance has been tried out before with many people wearing the fragrance. The brand new bottle has never been used.

 

“If I wait till our wedding night to have sex with my wife, what about if she is crap in bed? Then I will be stuck with her. It makes more sense to me to find out what she is like before I marry her.” Dean

Who wants to be the person “tried out” before bought? It cheapens a person down to their sexual performance and creates comparison. It doesn’t make a person feel special or unique. The gift of sex is cheapened and makes the sexual experience all about self-pleasure. And what about if the person you marry is good in bed but then turns bad? A virgin has nothing to compare their experience to.

A great lover is not just about how experienced they are in the bedroom or how many sexual techniques they can do. What makes a great lover is there ability to satisfy one person for their whole life and to be satisfied by one person for their whole life. To be a great lover requires work – effort, time & a willingness to learn. It requires openness and vulnerability. The sex shown in movies and through the media is fake. No ones sex life is as perfect as the movies portray – that’s why it’s a movie!

Sex can cloud a person’s view of their relationship.  Take sex out of the relationship and you will see what is left. Is it based on a solid foundation or simply mutual pleasure? Mutual pleasure will only last while its convenient.

Sex shouldn’t be a bandaid to fill intimacy. Pursuing the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy leaves us more lonely than ever…. We must treat someone in sexual intimacy like we want to be treated. Remember that you are fooling around with someone else’s future partner.

Our sexuality is valuable. It is a special gift and it is WORTH giving to only one person, in a life-long committed relationship, who will look after, cherish and appreciate it.

Sex and each other need to be treated with the upmost respect.

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