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Risk, Anxiety and Fun in Safe Sex Promotion in Australia

Abstract

Young people in Western countries are still being taught that sex is something dangerous. Research shows that presenting sex as a source of anxiety results in negative outcomes for young people’s sexual health, discouraging them from having safe sex conversations or from developing the sexual agency necessary to have happy, healthy sex lives. A recent project attempts to promote sexual health by making safe sex conversations fun, in which prospective sexual partners can compare and talk about their relative interest in a range of sexual practices—including safe sex. A qualitative pilot study in Australia showed that this approach encouraged young people to talk about safe sex, not as a source of anxiety that is separate from sexual practice, but as something that is part of the fun of sex.

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Acknowledgements

Ethics approval for this study was obtained from Queensland University of Technology, Approval number 1200000317.

This research was funded by a Queensland Government National and International Research Alliances Program (NIRAP) grant for the Improved Surveillance, Treatment and Control of Chlamydial Infections.

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Correspondence to Alan McKee .

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Appendix: ‘Yes, No, Maybe’ List

Appendix: ‘Yes, No, Maybe’ List

You can use this list at any point in your relationship—with your new boyfriend(s) or girlfriend(s) to work out what you’re into, with your partner of thirty years to add a bit of spice to your relationship, or with a stranger (or strangers) you’ve just taken home as you plan what to do for the rest of the evening. Take a copy each and go through it individually. Decide what you think sounds sexy, giving the acts a mark from 0 (Never!) through 3 (Maybe …) to 5 (Definitely!). Be as honest as you can—that’s the fun. If there’s something that you’re not particularly into, but you’d be happy to do it if your partner’s really into it, give it a 3. You can skip anything that’s not relevant to you because you don’t have the right body parts. The list is structured so that it starts with stuff that’s suitable for beginners, moves through the everyday stuff and ends up with the most advanced things. If you’re getting uncomfortable feel free to stop at any time. And if there’s anything you want to do that’s not on the list, add it at the end.

Then go through your lists together and see what you have in common—you might be surprised!

Remember—no judgment. The aim is to find ways to make your sex hotter and more fun—not to attack your partners for their different pleasures.

If you find that this survey raises issues in your relationship, contact ASSERT (Australian Society of Sexuality Educators, Researchers and Therapists)—http://www.jmklug@bigpond.com, 0419 760 852. They can put you in touch with a counselor who can provide support in working through any issues.

Table 10.1 Beginners
Table 10.2 Everyday
Table 10.3 Advanced
Table 10.4 Other ideas!

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McKee, A., Dore, J., Watson, AF. (2020). Risk, Anxiety and Fun in Safe Sex Promotion in Australia. In: Tsaliki, L., Chronaki, D. (eds) Discourses of Anxiety over Childhood and Youth across Cultures. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-46436-3_10

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