The 14th of February was Valentine’s Day, or as it’s known by those in the sexual health world, NATIONAL CONDOM DAY! This saw YEP crew members Shaina, Julian, Claire and myself attend Harvey Senior High School’s sexual health week festivities.
The day started with an opening from the WA Country Health Service representative Raquel, regarding pornography and consent. Then it ran into a round robin style setting with 5 stations all focusing on different aspects of sexual health. There was a station from South West Aboriginal Medical Services (SWAMS), Waratah, South West Women’s Health and the YEP crew hosting 2 stalls.
Our stalls educated around STIs and condom use, as well as sexuality and gender. The STI and condom station discussed what STIs are, the long term and short term damage they can cause, what symptoms (if any) may be present, and how testing works as well as where you can get them for free. We them played a game called ’10 Steps to Condom Use’ which outlined the following:
1. Buy/have condoms available
2. Check the expiry date on the condom as well as for a bubble in the packet to know that it hasn’t been pierced/perforated.
3. Open the packet with YOUR HANDS! Not with your teeth as that can tear the condom and then, the whole point of a condie is ruined.
4. Get the condom out and pop it in the right way – with the roll on the outside, like a sombrero. Not with the roll on the inside like a beanie.
5. Pinch the tip of the condom (the bit that looks like a nipple). This is so that there is no air in the end which can form a small balloon and pop under pressure/friction, and also so there is somewhere for the ejaculate to go. Fun fact, it’s called a reservoir teat – lol.
6. Roll the condom down to the base of the penis.
7. Have fun consensual times with your partner!
8. Remove the penis and condom by holding down the base of the condom so that it doesn’t slip off inside your partner, because that’s not fun!
9. Take off the condom and tie it in a knot – like you do with balloons.
10. Put the used condom in the bin, not the toilet. If you put it in the toilet it can clog your plumbing and not only will you have to pay $$$ but you’ll have to explain to your rents/roommates why you did it. Also, toilet water eventually goes out into the ocean and we don’t want animals to get sick off of it so bin it 🙂
Shaina and Claire ran the station about sexuality and gender, teaching the Harvey kids what the difference is and that if an individual falls outside of the hetero (straight) or cis (your sex aligns with your gender identification), that it can be a difficult time facing negative treatment because of this. What I loved about their presentation was that they talked about how to be an inclusive person and good friend to anyone who may be experiencing homophobia, transphobia or anything related. It’s so important to let everyone know they are equal, appreciated and celebrated, and that starts at all ages.
The day was super fun all round with the kids participating like champs and asking awesome questions. It was great to see that they already had a good knowledge of sexual health related issues/topics and really seemed to care about their education in the field. Whilst we worked with years 9 – 12, there was definitely a sense of maturity in the groups which is not often acknowledged by the media or general society. Youth in Harvey and in general deserve to be commended for their positive attitude towards their bodies and the bodies of others. The day really highlighted that by treating youth with respect and dignity in regards to sexual health and independence, they flourish and learn well. It was a great opportunity to be a peer educator to the kids and give them opportunities to ask any questions they wanted. What a great way to spend National Condom Day!