Free is always better – here’s some places to grab free safe sex resources like condoms and dental dams as well as information on STIs, reproductive rights, harm reduction, etc. around Lethbridge. You can also find free condoms in the bathrooms at the MAT on Tuesday nights!
Lethbridge Sexual Health Centre
Address: Suite 300, 740 4th Avenue South
Hours of Operation: Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00-4:30 (closed from 12-1), and Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-6:00
ARCHES (Formerly Lethbridge HIV Connection)
Address: 1206 6th Avenue South
Hours of Operation: Open Monday-Thursday from 8:00-4:00
University of Lethbridge Campus Women’s Centre
Address: Room SP150, 4401 University Drive West
Hours of Operation: Open Monday-Friday from 9:00-4:00
From Planned Parenthood
There are a ton of misconceptions about sex – who has it, and when, and how. Let’s debunk some common myths:
Men always want sex.
Nope! This is sometimes used to justify sexual assault – either that men cannot control their sexual urges so they can’t resist assaulting others, or that since men always want sex they cannot be sexually assaulted. These are simply untrue. Sure, some men love having sex and want to have it often – that doesn’t mean they can’t control their actions or shouldn’t have the right to say “NO” to sex. And if you’re a guy and you aren’t interested in sex at all, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.
Women just play hard to get.
Another gender stereotype. The idea here is that women secretly want to have sex even when they’ve said “NO” to someone’s advances. Even if you think someone is playing hard to get, it is against the law to have sex with them after they have told you “NO”. That’s sexual assault, folks, and is completely unacceptable. Respect other people’s boundaries and take them seriously if they say they are not interested, whatever their gender is.
Having sex is inherently wrong, dirty, or immoral.
Nope. This idea often discourages people from talking about sex – there’s a fear of judgement or embarrassment. Here’s the thing: sex can be fun, pleasurable, and fulfilling! There is nothing wrong or immoral about having sex, as long as it is consensual (meaning, everybody has said “yes” to the activity at hand and is a free and willing participant). It’s also okay to decide not to have sex because it doesn’t feel right for you. It’s important to respect other people’s choices to have (or not have) sex.
People who have sex (especially women) are “sluts”.
It’s totally unfair to judge somebody based on whether or not they choose to have sex. For many people sex is pleasurable, fun, and a way to show love or affection for somebody. Judging or bullying women for their sexual choices is just plain old sexism, folks, and shouldn’t be tolerated. Having sex has nothing to do with a person’s worth or moral character.
People who don’t have sex are “prudes”.
Not everybody is interested in having sex, and that is totally okay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with anybody who hasn’t had sex yet or doesn’t want to. Not having sex has nothing to do with a person’s worth or moral character.
Since I’m a teenager, I should be having (or wanting to have) sex.
See above. As many asexuals will tell you, some people may never want to have sex and that’s perfectly okay. Make the choice that is best for you. And if you’re ready to lose your virginity but it just hasn’t happened yet, don’t stress about it – lots of young people are in the same boat as you. There’s no “right” time to have sex – just make sure that when you do, it is consensual and you use protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
You don’t need a condom for anal or oral sex.
Not true at all, folks. You can easily spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through oral or anal sex. Unless you and your partner are only seeing each other and have both been tested for STIs, it’s ALWAYS best to use a condom (for oral sex with a penis or anal) or a dental dam (for vaginal oral sex). Flavoured condoms and dental dams can also make oral sex more fun for the person giving it! You can find them in flavours like grape, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.
You don’t need a condom if you or your partner can’t get pregnant.
Nope – you can still spread STIs even when there is little or no risk of accidental pregnancy. For queer folks, safe sex is important even in relationships where pregnancy is not possible. See above.
If someone has an STI, they’re dirty or ruined.
STIs are incredibly common, and many can easily be treated. Many people live with incurable STIs and have happy lives, successful relationships, and great sex. You are not dirty. You are not ruined. HOWEVER – it is still incredibly important that you practice safe sex and get tested regularly! Preventing an STI is 100% safer and easier than treating one. Some can cause serious, life-altering side effects. Use a barrier method of protection, like a condom, every time you have sex.