Looking for information? Here's some great online resources on a ton of different topics:
Want to learn more about anatomy? This article gives an overview of sexual anatomy including and beyond the penis and vagina. Did you know the brain is one of the most important sexual organs?
This article talks about overcoming shame and stigma about having sex - it's a good read if you're struggling with similar feelings.
Not sure how to bring up that you'd like your partner to get tested for STIs? Planned Parenthood has some tips.
Nervous about telling your partner you have an STI? This article can help you out.
There's no wrong way to have a body - I'm a broken slinky!
From Gemma Correll.
You’ve decided that you want to get an abortion – now what?
Remember, having an abortion is your choice. You should not feel pressured into having an abortion OR into keeping the pregnancy – make the choice that is the best for you. If you’re struggling after an accidental pregnancy, talk to someone you trust. You are not alone, and there is no wrong choice for you to make.
Counsellors and doctors are also great resources – Lethbridge has a sexual health clinic specifically for people under the age of 25 that offers free pregnancy tests, counselling, and information. They can also refer you to other clinics depending on your decision. You can phone them at 403-320-0110, or visit their office in Suite 300 of the Lethbridge Professional Building, 740 4th Avenue South.
What is an abortion like?
It depends on how far along the pregnancy is. Your doctor can help you determine this more accurately, but you typically count forward from the last day of your most recent period.
From the Kensington Clinic Website: There are two types of abortions available: medical and surgical. Medical abortions involve taking medication (often a pill) to end your pregnancy. You can choose to have a medical abortion if your pregnancy is less than 9 weeks. Surgical abortions involve inserting a tube into the uterus to remove its contents. They can be done if your pregnancy is up to 19 weeks.
Where do I get an abortion?
Your doctor may be able prescribe the medication for a medical abortion. Not all doctors are willing or able to do this, so it’s a good idea to have a backup plan just in case. For example, maybe your friend has a doctor they trust, or you could ask at the sexual health clinic for a recommendation.
There are no clinics in Lethbridge to get a surgical abortion. The closest city with an abortion clinic is Calgary. In Calgary, you can make an appointment at the Kensington Clinic, which specifically provides abortions, or you can make an appointment at the Peter Lougheed Centre, which is a hospital. For more information about making appointments, check out the Kensington Clinic website. It’s a great resource if you’re looking for more info on abortions in general. You can phone the Kensington Clinic at 403-283-9117, and the Peter Lougheed Centre at 403-943-5716.
You will need someone to accompany you to Calgary if you make an appointment to get a surgical abortion! You will be unable to drive after the procedure, so make sure they can give you a ride home too. Grab a trusted friend or family member. If you can’t find a ride, ask a leader at the MAT or another adult you trust to connect you with one – lots of people in Lethbridge are happy to help you out.
Important: Abortions are covered by Alberta Health Care! If you have an Alberta Health Card, it’s free.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources!
Making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy? All-Options offers a non-judgemental, open-hearted talkline to help you understand your options.
If you want to talk to someone after an abortion, Exhale offers a free non-judgemental talkline.
Some ideas for taking care of yourself after having an abortion.
All About Abortion from Scarleteen, a pro-choice sexual education website. This is an American website so keep in mind that abortion laws and the health care system in Canada are slightly different!
This site addresses some common questions and myths about abortion (again, this is an American website)
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.
Want to understand basic consent (or explain it to a friend or partner)? "It's as easy as tea."
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