I’ve just recently discovered that my girlfriend has been faking orgasms during sex. We’ve been having sex for about 6 months, and I thought it’s been great. What should I do to make sure that the sex is good for both of us?

co-authored by Renee Komel

Thanks for your question. In this response, you will find information on how often pretending to orgasm during sex generally occurs, the reasons why some women do it, and ways to help facilitate conversation between you and your partner. The following answer will focus on penile-vaginal sexual intercourse (PVI), since this is how I am interpreting what you mean by “sex,” which can mean different things. It’s important to remember that other ways of being sexual can be just as, if not more, pleasurable than PVI!

In order to contextualize, let me first clarify the prevalence of women who fake or pretend to orgasm. In one study, researchers found that 25% of men and 50% of women in their sample had pretended to orgasm at some point in their sexual experiences.[1] Of those women who had experience with PVI, 67% had reported pretending to orgasm; that is, almost seven out of ten women who’ve had this type of sex have pretended to orgasm!

Some other studies suggest that the range is closer to 53-58% of women who have faked orgasms during sex.[2] But either way, the data shows that it’s relatively common for women to fake orgasms during sexual intercourse. Now the question remains, why?

There have been many different reasons uncovered in research for why some women pretend to orgasm. One study suggests that women who pretend to orgasm may do so as a way to protect against infidelity.[3] This study revealed that women who saw their partners as likely to be unfaithful were more likely to fake orgasms during sexual intercourse to prove their commitment to the relationship. But don’t jump to conclusions just yet! This is only one of many reasons why some women pretend to orgasm.

Another study asked participants about why they pretended to orgasm in particular situations.[4] Four-fifths of the women pretended to orgasm to avoid the perceived negative consequences of telling their partner that they did not orgasm during intercourse. One participant reported, “My boyfriend would have probably gotten upset that he didn’t satisfy me” and another that she “didn’t want to hurt his feelings or his ego”.[5]

Women reporting that they pretend to orgasm to avoid hurting their partners’ feelings is a common topic in other studies as well. One such focus-group of young, heterosexual women discussed sexuality, orgasm, and communication.[6] A common theme discussed was that the female orgasm is more important for the male than for the female. They suggested that when men seek to sexually satisfy their partners, their goal is to help them orgasm. Therefore, if their partner doesn’t orgasm, they feel inadequate. Despite this, orgasm is not the only way to measure sexual satisfaction. In fact, some of these women “viewed female orgasm as a ‘bonus’ and not the goal.”[7]

Your question suggests that you may think your partner is not satisfied with the sex you are having. It is important to know that just because she has pretended to orgasm, it doesn’t mean that the sex was not satisfying for her. It is also important to think of how your own education or experience has framed what you believe about female orgasms. You may believe the myths or misunderstanding regarding female sexuality without even knowing it. Please take a look at the Sexual Pleasure section for more accurate information on female orgasm, pleasure, sexuality, and more.

The above explanations as to why some women pretend to orgasm may or may not be the reason that your partner has pretended to orgasm in the past. The only way to know for sure is, well, to ask her. Now for some suggestions to help guide you through this.

In all aspects of a relationship clear communication is very important, especially when it comes to intimate and sexual aspects of a relationship. Research has suggested that men and women vary greatly in their perceptions of orgasm and sex. Some researchers have suggested that communication between partners regarding concerns, expectations, and experiences is especially important for “young couples who are concerned about infrequent female orgasm in their sexual interactions.”[8]

It may also be helpful to consider specific behaviors that your partner may want more of. These could include foreplay, oral sex, manual stimulation, toys, etc. Another thing to consider is that because perceptions and experience differ between the sexes, it is helpful to focus on how sex feels rather than on achieving the orgasm.[9] This shift of focus can even help her orgasm by eliminating that pressure and exploring new experiences!

In all, exploring other areas of sex, like oral sex, may help both of you discover what feels best and can help you to better communicate expectations for sex and orgasm.[10]

Why some women pretend to orgasm during sex is a complex question. What is most important for you is that communication is key here. Being on the same page is essential. Remember not to enter the conversation pointing fingers or being accusatory, but understand that it may not have anything to do with bad sex or being unhappy with you. Good luck!


[1] Muehlenhard, C.L., & Shippee, S, K. (2010). Men’s and Women’s Reports of Pretending Orgasm. Journal of Sex Research, 47(6), 552-567.

[2] Darling, C.A., & Davidson, J.K. (1986). Enhancing Relationships: Understanding the Feminine Mystique of Pretending Orgasm. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 12(3), 182-196; Kaighobadi, F., Shackelford, T.K., & Weekes-Shackelford, V.A. (2012). Do Women Pretend Orgasm to Retain a Mate? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41,1121-125; and Wiederman, M.W. (1997). Pretending Orgasm During Sexual Intercourse: Correlates in a Sample of Young Adult Women. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 23(2), 131-139.

[3] Kaighobadi, F., Shackelford, T.K., & Weekes-Shackelford, V.A. (2012). Do Women Pretend Orgasm to Retain a Mate? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41,1121-125.

[4] Muehlenhard, C.L., & Shippee, S, K. (2010). Men’s and Women’s Reports of Pretending Orgasm. Journal of Sex Research, 47(6), 552-567.

[5] Muehlenhard, C.L., & Shippee, S, K. (2010). Men’s and Women’s Reports of Pretending Orgasm. Journal of Sex Research, 47(6), 552-567.

[6] Salisbury, C. M. A., & Fisher, W. A. (2014). “Did You Come?” A Qualitative Exploration of Gender Differences in Beliefs, Experiences, and Concerns Regarding Female Orgasm Occurrences During Heterosexual Sexual Interactions. Journal of Sex Research, 51(6), 616-631.

[7] Salisbury, C. M. A., & Fisher, W. A. (2014). “Did You Come?” A Qualitative Exploration of Gender Differences in Beliefs, Experiences, and Concerns Regarding Female Orgasm Occurrences During Heterosexual Sexual Interactions. Journal of Sex Research, 51(6), 616-631.

[8] Salisbury, C. M. A., & Fisher, W. A. (2014). “Did You Come?” A Qualitative Exploration of Gender Differences in Beliefs, Experiences, and Concerns Regarding Female Orgasm Occurrences During Heterosexual Sexual Interactions. Journal of Sex Research, 51(6), 616-631.

[9] Wiederman, M.W. (1997). Pretending Orgasm During Sexual Intercourse: Correlates in a Sample of Young Adult Women. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 23(2), 131-139.

[10] Darling, C.A., & Davidson, J.K. (1986). Enhancing Relationships: Understanding the Feminine Mystique of Pretending Orgasm. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 12(3), 182-196.

Hot Wheels

To me, being sex and body positive is – in essence – celebrating difference. The fact is that all bodies can be confident, and it is that confidence that makes sex positivity such a powerful force. Growing up with what many would call a non-traditional body, my journey to find that positivity has been a defining part of who I am.

Being fortunate enough to be born with a significant physical disability, cerebral palsy if you want to get technical, has meant that I do most things differently from a lot of people. I get out of bed differently, shower differently and even answer nature’s call differently. I have always liked that I do things differently, because it makes me at least somewhat differently. Then there’s sex. For years I thought there was only one way to do it, and my body’s limitations meant that I wasn’t very good at that one way. To be honest I didn’t enjoy it. But then I realized that I do that differently too, and not only did I enjoy it immensely…I was damn good at it.

This light bulb moment for me when I decided to stop dwelling on the limitations that my disability presented to my sex life and started focusing on the parts of my body that I’d been already relying on for years. I have full vocal range, meaning my tongue is more than capable. I also have the use of two fingers on my left hand, and when used right…well, you know. My disability also means that I have regular use of what I consider to be the ultimate sex toy; a power wheelchair with a reclining seat and many other bells and whistles.

In many ways, my disability has been a huge advantage to a great sex life. Firstly, it forces creativity, which is never a bad thing in my book. I’ve been creative my whole life, and the bedroom is no different. Second, it leads to increased communication with me and my partner. We had no choice but to talk, which led to better and more intimate sex. Lastly, my disability has taught me to never take anything for granted, and to enjoy giving pleasure as much as getting it. Again, another one in the positive column if you ask me.

Now, I will be the first to say that my journey from ‘eek, not loving this’ to ‘damn I’m good’ has not been easy. It took a lot of me time and a partner who was willing to explore the pleasures of different, non-traditional sex with me. But through that I suddenly figured out the unavoidable truth about sex and sexuality: do it your way. Nope, I can’t do missionary, and that’s cool. Yeah, my preference is oral, so what? There’s no manual for great sex. Reframe sex to make it work, whatever your limitations, and you will have unlocked the ultimate secret.

I grew up embracing my physical difference. I have now learned to embrace my sexual difference as well, and have learned to celebrate those differences every time they come in contact with each other. I am a firm believer that my disability has been a huge boost to my sex life, and I’m proud to write that. So here’s the takeaway line from this. Whatever your difference, love it…’cause it’s so much more fun that way.

Click here for tips and tools on sexual health and disability

The Subtle Shift: Transforming Boys into WiseGuyz

The Calgary Sexual Health Centre (CSHC) specializes in helping young people learn about sensitive and emotional topics and more importantly, how these learnings can translate into behavioural change. Typically, education about sexual violence prevention and empowerment has been focused on women and girls, unintentionally ignoring the value of men and boys and their role in helping to create solutions. Research is now pointing to young boys as a key population for which to foster healthy, respectful and non-violent behaviours.

WiseGuyz

In 2010, the CSHC launched WiseGuyz, a school-based program created for junior high boys, who are at a critical point in their gender identity development. The program is voluntary and facilitated by male instructors, helping to create a relaxed and safe environment where the boys can examine their beliefs and assumptions about what it means to be a man in the world today.

WiseGuyz uses a progressive model, with significant attention placed on trust building. In the initial phase of the program, the focus is on creating a safe space and building rapport among participants. WiseGuyz curriculum is comprised of four step-by-step modules: 1) Human Rights; 2) Sexual Health; 3) Gender; and 4) Healthy Relationships

Masculinity and Sexuality are Intrinsically Bound

WiseGuyz encourages boys to be open, curious and not feel shame in asking questions about sex and sexual health. Ensuring boys are developing not only the knowledge about appropriate resources, but also the confidence to access them is critical to their sexual health and engagement in healthy relationships.

The research underscores the fact that masculinity and sexuality are intertwined and that sexual health programming must include education about masculine beliefs and stereotypes, and vice versa. The research explored topics like sexual relationships, safe sex, and sexual health care – and how each intersects with healthy masculinity concepts, such as confidence, self-expression and communication.

Research Findings: There was a 19% improvement in confidence in sexual relations for the participants of WiseGuyz. The increase in confidence indicates that the boys understand the importance of communication, boundary setting and discussing mutual expectations within sexual relationships.

Including sexual health within the curriculum provides students with the tools and resources required to inform and empower positive choices. By implementing this subtle, yet significant, shift in approach to educating young males about their sexual health and emotional literacy, WiseGuyz has earned a reputation for being a promising model for relationship change and a reduction in homophobia, bullying and violence.

wiseguyz-infographic11

Let’s talk Fifty Shades, healthy relationships, and cultural myths

Originally posted by Sexual Health Centre Lunenburg County

We need to talk. Because there’s a lot happening this week. A lot.

First, it’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Week.

What’s that, you ask? Well, Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights organizes an annual campaign to get people talking about healthy sexuality. Organizations like the Sexual Health Centre are raising awareness on social media under the tag #heartyourparts.

(I know, I know. I’m going to talk about Fifty Shades of Grey in a minute.)

Sexual health, though, is about more than sex and what you do with your parts.

As a society, we have few conversations about condoms and pregnancy—and we have fewer conversations about healthy relationships. Sure, we sometimes talk about how to “get” someone. But we don’t often educate people on how to have healthy, fulfilling relationships.

Culture reflects what we think about relationships, but it also tells us how to have relationships. It’s an ongoing dialogue, with one influencing the other—a circle in which we depict relationships a certain way, then use those depictions to inform how we treat ourselves and partners.

Finally, I’m ready to talk about Fifty Shades. Everyone is talking about it, so let’s get it at.

If you haven’t heard about Fifty Shades, it’s a trilogy of novels by E.L. James that have made erotica mainstream. This Valentine’s Day, a movie version of the first book is hitting theatres (see the official trailer here and the Lego trailer here.)

Fifty Shades is a cultural phenomenon, complete with merchandise like teddy bears. nail polish, and laundry detergent.

It features sex. A lot of sex. A lot of sex with whips and other paraphernalia. In fact, it’s one author’s attempt to describe her thoughts about dominant/submissive relationships. Critics have suggested that Fifty Shades does not present an accurate portrayal of this type of relationship, though. (For a detailed analysis, read “Consent Isn’t Enough: The Troubling Sex of Fifty Shades.)

Another criticism is coming from those who work with survivors of domestic abuse. There has even been a study suggesting a link between reading the novel and being in an unhealthy relationship.

The thing is, Fifty Shades details a particular kind of relationship that has been a staple of romances for a long time. Romances tend to follow a pattern. There are exceptions, of course. There are always are. But patterns emerge from romances published in the Western World, or their cinematic counterparts created in Hollywood.

For one, these stories almost always feature the same characters: a man and woman, usually of European descent, often Protestant, and often those who adhere to middle class ideals, even if their income status differs (typically, it is the woman who has less money).

Two, romances are usually read or watched by women. Not always. This is a generalization. But Harlequins and their ilk are marketed to women, as you can tell from the “For Women Who Love to Read” phrase that accompanies a search for Harlequin on Google.

Finally, romances tend to rely on a myth that has been around since romances became popular in the mid 1700s: women can change men. And there is no man too dark or abusive to change.

Remember Jane Eyre? This Victorian staple features an impoverished young woman who falls under the spell of a wealthy man who is surly and demanding. He buys her lavish things, including fancy clothes. And he cannot seem to escape his wife, who is the original “mad woman in the attic” when she is not sneaking around, watching the new lover sleep, then disappearing into thin air.

Similarly, Fifty Shades features a young woman who is book smart and occasionally speaks her own mind, but is dominated by a man who is wealthy, demanding, and scarred by the past. (And yes, she too wakes up in the middle of the night, wondering if someone is in her room watching her sleep.)

Finally, the young, virginal woman manages to change her man from abusive to loving.

This truly is the great harm of any narrative that details an abusive relationship. It is not that a woman dates a man who treats his partner poorly; that is not the issue. It is that with patience and gentle loving, with understanding and concessions, he eventually comes around and they live happily ever after. She does not end up in a transition house, or in poverty because of a divorce.

In fact, one of the very first romance novels detailed this very myth: Pamela; or, virtue rewarded, a 1740 tome in which a poor young woman fends off her would-be rapist until he decides to marry her. This is acceptable to her, because she is “rewarded” by having changed Mr. B into a devoted husband who lifts her out of poverty with his wealth. (Sound familiar?)

And then, as if it wasn’t enough to market these narratives to adult women, we place them in Disney movies that are consumed by toddlers repeatedly, such as Beauty and the Beast. At least the latest offering, Frozen, shows a villain for what he is.

Ultimately, the real issue is not whether Fifty Shades contains explicit sex; it is that it promotes a certain type of relationship that is over-represented in our culture.

I’m not here to judge. That’s not my job. My job is to help people make choices for themselves by providing them with information related to healthy sexuality.

What we should be doing is opening up the conversation about whether books and movies represent what we want in our relationships. They reflect our lives, and tell us how to live our lives, so what are they saying?

Is it right to watch a movie that shows a relationship with hallmarks of abuse? Or is okay, because it features a lot of positive messages about consent and condom use? And is it acceptable because he eventually comes around? And that he was abused as a child and is also a victim?

If you do read or watch Fifty Shades, reflect on what these stories are saying about relationships. What cultural norms are they upholding? Is the story reflecting a relationship you’d like to experience? What values do you have that make you feel this way? Do you feel comforted by the story because it’s a narrative you know so well?

Sometimes, things come along that start conversations we need to have. For better or worse, Fifty Shades is one such conversation starter. In fact, the dialogue has already started online. Just do a Google search.

Instead of debating whether we should read about sex with whips, we need to discuss whether we are seeing relationships that are healthy, fulfilling, and rewarding for those involved.

If you’d like to read more about positive partnerships, check out Action Canada’s site on Sexual and Reproductive Health Week. Or read through this checklist for healthy relationships to see if you have the right skills to flourish with a partner.

More prevention tools in the box

New science is giving us more options to prevent HIV.

In acknowledgement of Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week, it is fitting to talk about the great advances that have been made in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV.

For about 30 years, sex educators have trained most of us to know that condoms are the most effective form of protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

But today, we have many more tools in the HIV prevention toolbox. Medication that can reduce the risk of an HIV-negative person becoming infected when taken before an exposure (PrEP) or after an exposure (PEP) to HIV. Treatment that can dramatically reduce the risk of an HIV-positive person passing on the virus. Strategies that can further reduce the risk of infection when combined with another prevention option.

More choices are always welcome. But with more choices, there are more factors to consider.

PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is the ongoing use of anti-HIV medications by an HIV-negative person to reduce their risk of HIV infection. Several studies show that the use of a daily pill called Truvada as PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by over 90% if used consistently and correctly. But if the pill isn’t taken regularly, it’s less effective.

PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is the use of anti-HIV medications by an HIV-negative person to reduce the risk of HIV infection from a single exposure to HIV. It needs to be started as soon as possible (but generally within 72 hours) after an exposure and involves taking medications every day for a full month. PEP is not meant to be used as a regular method of preventing HIV infection, but only in the case of an emergency.

Treatment as prevention is a secondary benefit of antiretroviral treatment (ART), the medication used by people living with HIV. In addition to improving the health of an HIV-positive person, ART can reduce the amount of HIV (viral load) in the bodily fluids to undetectable levels – lowering the risk of HIV transmission through anal and vaginal sex. Several studies show that ART can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by more than 90% if used consistently and correctly.

Keep in mind that these three prevention strategies only reduce the risk for HIV; they have no effect on the risk for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). And since the presence of STIs can increase the risk of getting or passing on HIV, regular STI testing and (if needed) treatment is important to make sure these prevention strategies are as effective as possible.

To reduce the risk of other STIs, condoms – both external (“male”) and internal (“female”) – are still the most effective prevention strategy. That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, against STIs or HIV. Research suggests many people struggle to use condoms effectively, making its practical effectiveness against HIV infection, even when used consistently, anywhere from 70 to 80%. Even if a condom is used perfectly, some STIs can still be transmitted because a condom doesn’t cover all the parts of the body where these infections can be found. But if a condom is used correctly and doesn’t break, slip or leak, then there is no risk of HIV transmission because an exposure to HIV cannot occur.

All prevention strategies have their own advantages and limitations. But what they all have in common is that none of them are effective unless they are used correctly and consistently. How well a particular prevention strategy works can vary from person to person, so it’s important for individuals to choose the tools that work best for them.

Insight Theatre: Peer-to-peer, youth-led sex ed theatre troupe

For the past two-and-a-half years, I’ve been heading up a peer-to-peer, youth-led sex ed theatre troupe with Planned Parenthood Ottawa called Insight Theatre. Each year, we train a new group of high school youth in sexual and reproductive health, anti-oppression and performance skills. Once the youth are trained, they take the lead in creating a series of 15 or so skits on sex ed topics that they present to other youth at schools and community centres.

I’ve learned a lot in working with this project, but one of the most valuable lessons has been how youth access sexual health info and who they trust to get it right. In 2011, the Ontario Student Trustees Association reported that nearly half of all students were dissatisfied with the school-based sexual health education that they had received. The organization surveyed middle school and high school students across Ontario and found that 45% of respondents did not find their sex education classes to be useful or relevant to their own experiences. At the local level, the Ottawa Youth Sex Survey 2.0 found that 47% of participants did not feel comfortable seeking sexual health information from their teachers. But, this same group of respondents ranked schools as one of the top five locations in which they were likely to seek sexual health information.

Study after study has shown us that youth predominately get their information from peers and the internet. It is of course important to arm teachers, parents and other adults with accurate, evidence-based sexual health information, but we also need to equip youth with detailed sexual health info so that they can make the best use of this tendency toward peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing.

In my first year in this job, I started noticing how much casual, day-to-day peer education was happening between the Insight troupe members and their friends and classmates. In the bathroom at school and on a couch at a party, the troupe members were handing out free condoms, correcting misinformation and giving people info on where to go for STI testing, abortion care and affordable contraception. So we decided to formalize that part of the program. We gave the troupe members condoms to keep in their backpacks and created an information package so that they had the info they needed to refer their peers to local sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services as questions came up.

If youth are more comfortable talking to other youth about sex, then let’s train youth to talk to other youth about sex. There are lots of great sex education initiatives out there but, when it comes to really engaging youth, you have to pay attention to what they do and why. Youth trust word of mouth. They trust their friends. They trust the internet. Unless someone they trust has vouched for you, or you’ve proven upside down and sideways that you can be trusted, you’re not likely to get very far in terms of giving advice or being seen to have credible information.

Another big lesson I’ve learned in this job is that sex ed tends to go better when you indulge in a little infotainment. Over my last 15 years as an educator, I’ve noticed how much deeper arts-based educational initiatives go when it comes to youth and the ways they integrate information. Want to talk about anti-oppression? Analyze pop songs. Want to discuss consent? Show clips of TV shows. And, if you want them to listen when you talk about sex, present them with scenes that look and sound like their lives. Quote the TV shows they like, make reference to the songs they’re listening to and give them a chance to talk to their peers about what they’re thinking and feeling.

Promoting sexual health is about more than access to care

My time in sex ed class as a student in the Maritimes was pretty typical. Our curriculum consisted mostly of creating grisly poster boards of untreated STIs that were posted in the bathrooms to strike fear into the hearts of anyone who dared to even dream of a sexual partner, and whispered stories of the social purgatory that awaited if you became pregnant.

Later, sitting in a university classroom I was introduced to the idea that health isn’t just about the absence of an ailment or disease. Rather, health is a complex set of factors that lead to overall wellbeing for the individual and the community. These ideas, created by women of colour and Indigenous women who saw the ways in which a pro-choice movement based only on access to care failed marginalized people and failed to address the root causes of inequity, were light-years away from the ideas of sexual health I had been taught in grade school.

Sexual health is not simply the absence of an unwanted pregnancy or STI. Promoting sexual health means cultivating a space where people are able to access the information they need to make decisions about their bodies, where social determinants of health are the basis of policy, and where friends, family, medical professionals, and service providers recognize and advocate for social justice that will allow people to make those decisions in a safe environment.

Sexual health, or a space where we can truly Heart Our Parts, is a space where not only do people have access to quality healthcare, but have access to evidence-based comprehensive sexual health education, affordable birth control, services close to their communities, medical professionals who understand queer and trans health, and an approach to services and education that addresses the ways that racism, colonialism and transphobia continue to impact the sexual health of individuals and communities.

For sexual health educators working in communities, it doesn’t take long to realize that effectively working towards building sexual health doesn’t just depend on having free condoms available (although that certainly helps!), it is a multifaceted fight.

While I worked as a sexual health educator in Nova Scotia, I met many young people who were desperate to find affordable birth control. With few options at the time, they were often not able to find what they needed. These young people were often at the intersection of poverty, rural isolation and youth. Unfortunately rather than seeing their health as a complex set of social factors, people in positions of power often judged them on the basis of whether or not they managed to avoid pregnancy, despite the barriers.

While being able to provide affordable birth control through programs like The Compassionate Contraceptive Assistance Program (CCAP) were critically important, it was necessary to simultaneously work alongside those activists and advocates working to address the factors that marginalized these young people.

At its best, sexual health education is an important tool of reproductive justice. Going beyond the birds and the bees or rushed condom demonstration, comprehensive sexuality health education can illuminate the broader social context of sex, sexuality and gender, and give young people the tools they need to grapple with power structures, gate keepers and the social context of their future sexual and romantic relationships.

It’s important to recognize that the majority of people working in sexual health or teaching it in schools in the Maritimes (including myself) are white. Racism and colonialism heavily impact sexual health. The experiences that people of colour and Indigenous peoples have at school, in the doctor’s office, and within the justice system, demonstrates that a sexual health strategy or program that fails to include the voices of people of colour or Indigenous peoples is insufficient.

Advocating for comprehensive sexuality education that includes discussion about social factors as well as access to services gives young people a chance to begin to learn about their bodies in a social context, and is a critical step in achieving sexual health for our communities.

It’s finally here: SRH Week 2015!

2014 was a milestone year for sexual health and rights in Canada. The Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (formerly Planned Parenthood Canada), Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD) and Canadians for Choice joined to become one strong unified voice for sexual and reproductive health. The new organization, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is a progressive, pro-choice charity that is up and running and ready to speak up for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

And speak up we will! As Action Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Public Health Association, we are excited to take on Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week, the campaign formerly hosted by the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health that takes place every year from February 9th to the 13th.

We are thrilled to re-introduce the Heart Your Parts theme with a refreshed look and campaign website. The site will be available year-round with reliable, easy to access, up to date and comprehensive information on sexual and reproductive health.

As part of the campaign, we want to hear from you with lively discussions on how together, as a local, national and global community, we can better promote and support sexual and reproductive health.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using #HeartYourParts or send us your blog ideas.

Caring for our whole selves is an important and empowering part of positive relationships and good sexual health. And having access to accurate information is key to knowing how to care for our bodies. Browsing the Heart Your Parts campaign page, you’ll find a range of content: from simple health tips, to facts on issues like pregnancy and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and discussions on consent and problem solving.

You’ll find a social media kit on the website too, to help you spread the word about sexual and reproductive health. Scan our Heart Your Parts avatars for a display picture or create your own! We also have youth friendly, inclusive, and sex-positive sample Tweets and Facebook posts for you to share with your networks. Have something else to say? We’d love to hear it! Tweet us at @SRHweek or use #HeartYourParts and let us know how you promote healthy sexualities.