When it comes to sexuality and prevention, the first thing that often comes to mind is wearing a condom. In addition to condoms, there are many other aspects that contribute to healthy and fulfilling sexuality. To name only a few examples, there is self-esteem, consent, knowing how to prevent pregnancy and how to recognize abusive relationships, which are all important areas where you have the power to act.
This site will try to answer your questions about sexuality and to provide food for thought. It also provides a map that tells you where you can find condoms and get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the Outaouais.
The word “sex” can refer to a number of things. One of them is any type of sexual activity practiced by yourself or with another person. It is not limited simply to the act of penetration.
To learn more about the different types of sexual activities (masturbation, oral sex, sexual intercourse, etc.), visit: http://www.sexandu.ca/sexual-activity/what-is-sex/
Sexual arousal occurs during a sexual activity or in anticipation of one. It provokes a physical response that differs between men and women. Sources of sexual arousal are not the same for everyone and can lead to orgasm. On average, the time it takes to become aroused and reach orgasm is shorter for men than for women.
However, desire and arousal do not always lead to orgasm, and orgasm is not required in order to have a fulfilling sex life.
You can consult the following links to learn more about the body’s responses to arousal or for more information:
Before becoming sexually active, it is important to think about why you are doing so. You should not feel pressured by others or worried about pleasing them. It is your decision alone, and you have to be comfortable with it. Only you know when you are ready.
In order to have safe sex, it is important to be informed about how to protect yourself, including preventing STI and unplanned pregnancy.
People who participate in sexual activities together must always make sure that they are both in agreement. A person cannot consent to sexual activity if they are intoxicated (by alcohol or drugs), unconscious or unable to express themselves.
You must also trust your partner and not feel threatened. You have the right to say yes or say no and to change your mind at any time and for any reason. You should never feel forced.
Kissing or hugging someone does not mean that they have consented to other sexual activities. A person also does not have to resist physically in order to deny consent; they can express themselves through words or actions.
Did you know that in Canada, the minimum age of consent to sexual activity is 16? There are some exceptions for youth under 16. You can visit this site for more information: https://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/age-consent-sexual-activities
This video will help you better understand the importance of consent. It compares sexual activity to having a cup of tea. It’s super interesting!
Animation courtesy of Emmeline May at rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com and Blue Seat Studios. Copyright © 2015 RockStarDinosaurPiratePrincess and Blue Seat Studios. Images are Copyright ©2015 Blue Seat Studios.
Remember, you have the right to say yes or say no and to change your mind at any time and for any reason.
STBBIs are infections that are transmitted sexually or by blood. They were previously called STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), but the name was changed because disease means that there are symptoms, which is not always the case with an infection. Sometimes we talk about STI, which designates infections that are transmitted through sex. This is the case with chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV).
A person with an STI may not feel sick but still be infected and able to transmit the infection to their partners.
Each year in the Outaouais, over 1,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 find out that they have an STI, and this number continues to grow. In 2016, 60% of cases of chlamydia were diagnosed in youth between the ages of 15 and 24 (677 cases of 1124). There were also 40 cases of gonorrhea (33%) and 6 cases of syphilis (20%) in that same age group.
Some behaviours put people particularly at risk, namely not using condoms, having multiple partners, using drugs and men having sex with men.
Why do you need to use a condom?
If your partner looks for excuses not to use a condom, visit these sites to learn how to respond.
Why do you need to use a condom?
If your partner looks for excuses not to use a condom, visit these sites to learn how to respond.
Condoms can be bought in drugstores and other retail stores. Many community organizations, Youth Centres, schools, CLSCs and some medical clinics may offer free condoms. Furthermore, condom vending machines at low cost have been installed in different sites across the Outaouais region. For information concerning the location of these sites (free condoms and condom vending machines) click on the following link «Where to find condoms». This link will lead to a map of the locations of condom distribution. These locations are identified by a specific logo which can be found on their doors or windows.
Watch this video:
Copyright : Centre des sciences de Montréal 2017
or check out these pictures: http://www.itss.gouv.qc.ca/the-right-way-to-protect-yourself.dhtml
Using lubricant creates pleasurable sensations during sexual activity and also reduces friction, making it less likely for the condom to break during sex. To enhance sensations and comfort, don’t hesitate to lubricate the outside and the inside* of the condom as needed (*on the head of the penis or a drop in the tip of the condom—be careful: too much lubrication inside the condom can make the condom slide off).
Always use a water- or silicone-based lubricant with latex condoms because oil and petroleum jelly (Vaseline) can damage the condom or cause it to break.
See the section: Protecting yourself during oral sex
You should not share a sex toy if you use it for anal or vaginal penetration. If you do share a sex toy, you must cover it with a condom and change the condom between each partner.
For more information:
There is a special condom that a woman can insert inside her vagina. It can be inserted several hours before having sex.
Female condoms are less widely available than male condoms. However, you can find them at some pharmacies.
To find out how to use a female condom, visit this site: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/female-condom/how-do-i-use-a-female-condom
Several STIs can be transmitted through oral sex (mouth-penis, mouth-vulva and mouth-anus), even if the person shows no symptoms. Using a condom for oral sex provides good protection. Condoms with different flavours are designed for this purpose.
A dental dam, or sheet of latex, provides you with protection during oral sex (mouth-vulva, mouth-anus). You can buy them in certain pharmacies and sex shops, but you can also easily make one yourself.
You can, for example, cut a condom or a latex glove : A condom : A latex glove :
Source : Crips Île-de-France
You can also watch these 2 videos to learn how to transform a condom into a sheet of latex
Place the sheet of latex on your partner’s vulva or anus. During the sexual activity, hold the sheet of latex in place with both hands without pulling it. You must hold the sheet of latex with your hands, or else it could move and be less effective.
Do not turn the sheet of latex over during the activity. The sheet of latex can only be used once. Discard the sheet of latex in the trash after use and use a new one for each new sexual act.
Use a newsheet if you switch from mouth-vulva to mouth-anus and also if you change partners.
For more information about using the sheet of latex visit this site: https://www.santemontreal.qc.ca/fileadmin/fichiers_portail/fichiers_portail/vivre_en_sante/maladies/shigellose/shigellose_digue_dentaire.pdf
If you want to get tested, you can see your family doctor or the nurse at your school or CLSC. To find a location to get a screening test, click the link “Where to get a screening test” at the top of the page.
There’s nothing to be afraid of. Often, a screening test requires only a urine sample. Sometimes, a sample of blood or secretions is needed.
When you go for a screening test, it is important that you answer all the questions the nurse or doctor asks honestly. These healthcare professionals are there to help you and will keep all of the information you share with them confidential, including the number of sexual partners you have had and any sexual activities you have engaged in. In some cases, the doctor or nurse will examine you. It’s normal to feel anxious or uncomfortable. Don’t hesitate to tell them so; they will help put you at ease.
There are different types of tests to determine whether you have contracted an STI based on the information you give the doctor or nurse:
The samples are sent to a lab to be analyzed.
If the screening test comes back positive, you will receive information about the infection at an appointment or by telephone. The healthcare professional will give you a prescription for the appropriate treatment free of charge (with your health insurance card) for most STIs or will refer you for adequate follow-up. The healthcare professional will also help you take steps to inform your sexual partner(s) so they can be tested and treated.
If you have other questions about screening, you can visit the following website http://www.itss.gouv.qc.ca/i-think-i-have-an-stbbi-what-should-i-do.dhtml
Contraception helps prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy can occur as soon as menstruation (periods) begins. There are different methods of contraception.
It is important to be informed about your various options to make sure you find a method that best fits your needs and lifestyle. To learn about the different methods, visit the site http://www.sexandu.ca/contraception/
If you have had unprotected sex (e.g., forgot to use contraception, condom broke, etc.) and you do not want to get pregnant, you should receive emergency contraception (the morning-after pill or copper IUD) as soon as possible to avoid pregnancy. You will find more information about this on the site http://www.sexandu.ca/contraception/emergency-contraception/.
If you think you may be pregnant, you can take a home pregnancy test available in pharmacies. These tests are 99% effective when used correctly and not too early. You can also consult a healthcare professional if you are in doubt or have questions.
If an unplanned pregnancy is confirmed, you may be unsure about whether to continue or abort the pregnancy. It is important to consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible to discuss your options and get help with your decision. In Canada, aborting a pregnancy is safe and legal. The further along you are, the more complicated the process will be, which is why it is important to consult a healthcare professional quickly. This difficult decision is yours to make and must be made without pressure from anyone.
If you have questions or want information about resources in the region, see the section “Need help or advice?” later on.
All relationships are different, but healthy relationships have at least six things in common. They are based on a feeling of safety, honesty, open communication, and mutual respect, acceptance, and enjoyment.
A healthy sexual relationship involves good communication and investment. It should provide both partners with pleasure and be built on trust. A good relationship will allow you to be yourself and talk about any problems. Expressing your expectations and needs is important, because it will help you have a fulfilling sexual relationship.
Some people have sexual relations with a person they have just met or a stranger. In this case, there is a greater risk of misunderstandings or surprises, which can make it hard to have safe sex. There is a greater risk of contracting an STI and of unplanned pregnancy.
Sometimes, with social networks, you can feel like you trust someone you haven’t even met. You have to be careful. For more information about online safety, visit: http://www.sexandu.ca/consent/online-safety/
An abusive relationship involves feeling like the other person has control over you, where you feel afraid or disrespected. You may be threatened or insulted, feel jealousy or guilt, be blamed, experience violence, etc. Talk to a trusted adult or healthcare professional if you think you are in this situation; they can help you.
For more information: http://www.sexandu.ca/sexual-activity/types-of-relationships/
Sexual orientation is often defined by types of sexual attraction based on a person’s sex. There are several categories of sexual orientation (homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, asexual and pansexual). Your sexual orientation may not be clear at first or could change.
Gender identity refers to how a person feels inside and whether they identify as a man, woman, both, neither or other. Gender can be the same as or different from a person’s biological sex.
Today, there is still discrimination and victimization against the diversity associated with sexual orientation and gender identity. Stereotypes are one example of many of this type of discrimination (the image of an effeminate gay man or masculine lesbian, the phrase “you’re a faggot” referring to fear or weakness, etc.).
Once you have achieved self-acceptance, you will probably want to reveal your sexual orientation or gender identity to those close to you. It can be difficult and even upsetting to open up about this. First make sure that you are comfortable with who you are. Think about getting support from someone you trust, a support group or a counsellor. There are services and resources in our region to help and support you, call 811 to find out about them.
For more information:
As parents, it is recognized that you are your child’s first teachers when it comes to sexuality. The learning your child does at home, from the earliest ages, will influence his or her development. As a parent, you are a model for your child.
Learning at home can include body image, male and female gender roles, sharing tasks among family members and stereotypes.
Discussing sexuality can be more difficult for some parents than others. The level of comfort is often linked to several factors: values, beliefs, discomfort, self-consciousness, embarrassment, etc. The literature encourages parents to talk to their children about sexuality from a young age by adapting the language used and topics to their child’s level of development. This way, when your child reaches adolescence, communication will be easier, more open and positive.
As a parent, you may ask yourself many questions, such as:
In this section of the site, you will find documentation to guide you and facilitate your involvement in your child’s sex education (ages 5 to 18).
Information Capsules informing you about skills that can facilitate your involvement in your child’s sex education: http://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/en/document-001667/
Information Bulletins by topic to help inform you on specific subjects related to sex education, concrete ways (tips) to get involved with your child and resources (books, websites): http://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/en/document-001666/
Leaflet about prom informing you about the role you can play before prom and questions to ask your child:http://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/fichiers/mosaik/16-314-02WA.pdf
Transformations, Butterflies, Passions… and All Sorts of Questions: A brochure to help you discuss sexuality with your child and provide you with tools to help them reflect and to facilitate dialogue with them.http://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/fichiers/2014/14-307-01WA.pdf
In general, you can consult your family doctor or the nurse at your school or CLSC. If you need help, you can also call Info-Santé (811) or Tel-jeunes (tel.: 1-800-263-2266 or text: 514-600-1002). They will be able to answer your questions and will know where to refer you if needed.
Beginning at age 14, parental consent is not needed to consult a healthcare professional. Everything you discuss at appointments will be kept confidential. Your parents will not be informed.
In addition to the professionals listed above, you can go to the Outaouais women’s clinic (http://www.cliniquedesfemmes.com/en/) for contraception, emergency contraception or abortion. You can also consult a pharmacist to get the emergency contraceptive pill without a prescription.
If you need to speak with someone, you can call SOS grossesse 1-877-662-966. Visit their website for more details : http://sosgrossesse.ca/
If you have sexual problems or concerns, a healthcare professional can help you. This website (http://www.sexandu.ca/sexual-activity/concerns-sexual-problems/) talks about these topics in more depth:
No one has the right to force sexual activity on another person. All forms of sexual assault are criminal offences. If you were sexually assaulted or think you might have been, don’t hesitate to consult the resources available to support you (professional from the health and social services system, community organizations, police). Call 811 (Info-Santé) to learn about these resources in the region.
Letter of invitation (French only)Communique--Campagne-ITSS.doc
Awareness activities (French only)Suggestions-activites-information-et-de-sensibilisation.docx
Banner : aime-toiBanniere--aime-toi.zip
Quiz Aime-toiQuiz-condom-and-STIs--PDF.pdfQuiz-condom-and-STIs--PowerPoint.pptxInternet Link
PowerPoint presentation on STI in Outaouais and prevention services (French only)PowerPoint-sur-la-problematique-des-ITSS-et-services-preventifs-en-Outaouais.pptx
This website is administered by la direction de santé publique du Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais
Thanks to our collaborators: Cégep de l’Outaouais, Commission Jeunesse Gatineau and all the youth and stakeholders who contributed to the project.Note: The masculine is used to lighten the text, without prejudice to the feminine form.