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Sex (work) education.

Sex (work) education.

Sex work plays a crucial educative capacity. Sex workers share tips and information on safer sex, sex and gender diversity, negotiation, boundaries and consent. We share these skills with other workers, clients, and the wider Australian community on a daily basis. In a range of capacities, sex work – including escorting, stripping, BDSM and pornography – involves interaction, transference of expertise, and sharing our voices. Sex work gives clients access to an important diversity of bodies, abilities, sexual practices, gender identities and intimacies.

For this reason sex workers often refer to themselves as the safer sex educators of Australia. Research in Australia – from the UNSW Law and Sex Worker Health Study, the Kirby Institute and Roberta Perkins – consistently demonstrates that sex workers have uniquely high rates of condom use, high rates of testing, and lower rates of STIs and HIV than the general population. Both Australia’s National HIV and STI Strategies note that the incidence of HIV/STIs in sex workers in Australia is among the lowest in the world. Sex workers have been at the forefront of the Australian response to HIV, enjoyed longstanding partnerships with governments and community sectors, and continue to engage in health promotion activities through peer education, outreach and safer sex practices.

Sex workers continue this work despite stringent and discriminatory legislative environments that actively hinder health promotion. In various states and territories, sex workers face mandatory STI testing, HIV positive sex workers are criminalised, and anti-discrimination protection is non-existent or ineffective. Peer education is underfunded and under-resourced. Policing practices (including harassment and entrapment) are in opposition to public health objectives. This presentation outlines the ways in which sex workers make up for the deficiencies of the state by acting as pivotal agents in health promotion and sex education in Australia.

Speakers: Zahra Stardust
Conference: ASSERT 2012

Australian Society of Sex Educators Researchers and Therapists 2012

SafeLanding: a model for addressing the barriers to teaching sexuality and relationships education in schools.

Sexual and reproductive health (S&RH) is a significant health issue for young people with concerns including unplanned pregnancies, rising rates of STIs, increasing incidence of unwanted sex and the impact of social media. Schools, as successful sites for health promotion in S&RH, is affirmed by international research.  Evidence supports teachers being best placed to impact on the sexual health and wellbeing of young people when a comprehensive, whole-school approach is taken linking curriculum and learning within the school environment to the wider school community. Despite strong government direction and excellent curriculum materials many teachers in Victoria remain reluctant to teach in this area.

Young Trans or Gender Diverse People; The needs of gender variant children and their parents

Gender variant individuals have often lived traumatic lives due to the attitudes and limited understanding of the people in their environment. Gender variant children have been institutionalised, subjected to aversion therapies and pressured to maintain secrecy and conform to society’s gendered expectations while dealing with bullying and harassment at school. Simultaneously their parents face societal bias and assumptions that allow their children to be marginalized. Understanding the needs of gender variant children and their parents is a necessary step towards the provision of suitable training and interventions for the support of gender variant children into adulthood.

Implications of Escalating Erectile Dysfunction in Youthful Men Resulting from Internet Pornography Use

Research indicates that the escalation of erectile dysfunction in youthful men can be attributed to excessive Internet pornography use. Usage through adolescence and early adulthood, when the brain is at its peak of neuroplasticity and Dopamine levels are at their highest, creates an environment of increased vulnerability to addiction. Excessive use rewires the brain and interferes with the circuits involved in natural satiation mechanisms, resulting in numbed pleasure responses. Some researchers claim that the Internet’s unending novelty gives pornography the potential to become more addictive than drugs, food and gambling.

Do we de-sex for the school? Polyparents negotiating their sexual relationships and their children's schooling.

Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative data from Australian and United States research, this paper explores polyamorous parenting in relation to schooling. In particular, this paper will focus on how polyparents negotiate the implications of heteronormative monogamy/coupledom as defined and upheld through the educational systems their children are attending. The research shows that polyparents are extremely reluctant to disclose their family structure to school officials, student welfare workers, teachers and other parents in school communities. There appear to be two major barriers to disclosure: a) the fear of legal/student welfare interventions, and b) social stigmatization and harassment of themselves and their children. 

Breaking the silence around sexual difficulties: Raising up women's voices through qualitative research.

Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is a qualitative research methodology which is concerned with understanding personal lived experience. According to Reid, Flowers and Larkin (2005), this methodology is particularly well suited to the field of sexual health and sexuality as it moves beyond disease and deficit focused approaches and complements the traditional biomedical discourse. For sexual health practitioners, the applied focus of this research methodology also lends itself to the development of sexual health resources and potential interventions.

'Stepping out into the sunshine'; A model of the impact of quality sexology education on undergraduate students.

This study responds to significant issues related to the problematic nature of perceptions of sexuality in Australian society. It also explores the extent to which the students’ view of sexuality can be influenced through a sexuality education program delivered at tertiary level. An investigation of the literature, comprehensive interviews and feedback from students identified the factors which form the perceptions of sexuality that students have by the time they reach young adulthood and enter the sexology class. The study supports the considerable body of anecdotal evidence that has been gathered over thirty years in the award winning Department of Sexology at Curtin University.

Friends-with-benefits relationships; how are baby boomers doing it differently from young people?

A growing body of research about young people in friends-with-benefits relationships (FWBR) describes a largely college-based population enjoying casual sexual relationships that are an interim, convenient measure until they are ready for something more permanent. Little is known about the way baby boomers are adapting FWBR for their relationship needs in midlife. A FWBR is defined as one where people have repeated or ongoing sexual encounters, do not consider themselves to be a couple, but are friends.